Explaining File Systems: NTFS, exFAT, FAT32, ext4 & More

June 23, 2020



NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, ext4 and APFS are just some of the file systems used to organize data on storage drives. This video outlines the differences between these and other file systems, and explains how to choose between them.

You may also be interested in some of my other videos, including:

Explaining PCIe Slots:

Explaining RAM:

More videos on computing topics can be found on the ExplainingComputers channel:

You may also like my other channel, ExplainingTheFuture, at:

#FileSystems #NTFS #exFAT #FAT32 #ExplainingComputers

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All Comments

  • Thanks for this information

    mbonu chinedu June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • 4:55 a Linux distro running the latest kernel version (5.4) has native exfat support.
    Fun fact: There's a new bootable USB flash drive creator called Ventoy that lets you use the drive's full capacity by storing your ISO files on an exfat partition. No more wasting, for example, a 32 GB flash drive by burning it with a 2.5 GB ISO.

    Chris Schembari June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • I kept having issues trying to transfer large files between my two linux computers because i didnt know about the 4gb limitation on my fat32 usb drive. Watching your video to just casually learn more has actually helped me with an issue ive been having for a while, thank you.

    james Tolliver June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • so are you saying that if I had a folder that was greater than 4GB such as 8GB, I would have to break up the folder into two folders each at 4GB each? something like this was not covered and should be covered. Becuase folders can contain subfolders and such. YOu can have multiple hard drives on an operating system, things like this are not covered.

    Jarrod C June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • i wish you went into more depth about while file formatting is important and why it is used and why there are variants…it was barely touched upon in the beginning. really i think it misses the mark of the video, the video describes the capablilites of different file systems, but the fact that formatting is used and why it is used i feel is more important. Such as why are drives divided up into clusters in the first place, and also differentiating between file size and volume sizes, which was practically non existant. I guess you were assuming that we would understand the difference betwen file and volume size….correct me if i am wrong, but file size limit is the limit on individiual self contained files? but then what defines a file size? is a file size defined as anything contained in a folder? a proper definition of what a file is is very much needed. are files and software programs treated the same? a lot was missing from this video.

    Jarrod C June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Data Servers Use REFS

    Love Kush June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • You're 30 years too old for this haircut my friend.

    rec June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • youtube legend

    Peter Parker June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • What is crazy is requiring FAT32 for secureboot and/or uefi when you can't have files bigger than 4 gb.

    Adan Calderon June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • If you try to format a >32GB drive with FAT32, Microsoft limits the partition size to max. 32GB due to "technical reasons". Well, that a big FAT lie! Linux doesn't impose any limitations upon formatting a >32GB frive with FAT32! In reality, Microsoft forces you to solely use their NTFS to overcome their limitation of 32GB partition size.

    GParted under Debian has been a great help, and will always surpass anything else out there!

    Bandicoot803 June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • "16 Exabytes, or effectively unlimited" Can't wait to look back on this and just think, we really thought 16 exabytes was alot.
    It's just as funny whenever reading system architecture books and seeing "Since it support up to one gigabyte of ram, it practically doesn't have any restrains"

    FirstName LastName June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • 4:40 * NFTS
    6:19 * HSF

    intel386DX June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • When I’m using an NTFS external drive on a Mac, I have to use a “translation program” so that I can freely read and write to it. It’s useful as some file downloading software I need only run on MacOS and I haven’t been able to set up a VM with a USB pass through so that I can use my software.

    Alex Landherr June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • The wining noise in the background is distracting

    Uropig June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • I have found EXFAT to work great on Linux! It required only one terminal line to install the driver and that was that. Easy and worked between Windows and Linux. If you're working with larger files, you can't go wrong with it.

    Herman Wooster June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • I did miss btrfs. It had some trouble with full disks when it started, but I wonder what the state of the art is with respect to BTRFS. I you ever look at filesystems again, or find any other excuse to use btrfs, could you have a look at it?
    P.S. I vaguely remember btrfs being standard for ubuntu, but as I run fedora, I am not sure. My filesystem has been ext4 for a long time now and won't change until I get a new computer and have to do a fresh install.

    A.J. Bonnema June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • At 6.18 – slide “HFS, HFS+ & APFS” has typos “HSF+” and “HSF Extended” in its main text

    Crawling in Film June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Big companies have to unify file system, or let the user decide which one to use. Windows don´t recognize hfs, Apple don´t recognize NTFS, and so on. It´s a childish dispute.

    Nicky Scarola June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • This video makes me think there should be an open source file system that becomes an industry standard.

    CaptainStarkiller June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Best hair on the internet.

    oogrooq June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Please help me to choose Which type of format should I use to format 1Tb external HDD, that can be used without any risk in windows n ubuntu..

    Nachiket Gohil June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • how the heck does HFS mean MACos?

    cubu June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • What about XFS? What is your experience with it?

    Braulio Pimenta June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Excellent content!

    East.Inflexion June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • 7:54 the important part 🙂
    In my Nokia 7.2 phone I have external 128 MicroSD card.
    The phone can see the card only when the card is formated as FAT32.
    can I store big file like Windows 10 20H1 Image on this MicroSD card while it's formated as FAT32?

    LIOR LEVI June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • So basically in 2020 Windows still using file system from 1993? Guess it's so perfect they just can't imrove it)

    Rotary Wombat June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • so if am making a NAS project with a SBC like raspberry pi
    i have 2 choices:
    – use a linux distro as an os like OMV then chose FAT32 and then share my files to windows computers and mac
    – or use a windows as an os and chose exFAT.
    both options suck to be honest.
    if only linux wasnt stuborn or the major os makers agree on something commun once in their lives for f sake

    Amine Tbaik June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • У автора дикция как на кассетах для обучения английскому языку. Прямо как в школе оказался.

    Alex Hali June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • I've run into the file size limitation (as well as file path limitation) in the past and it tends to not be handled particularly gracefully. It's something I try to keep in mind, but as far as issues go, they occur rarely enough that I will usually first assume the problem is something else.

    ArtumTsumia June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Zed just sounds so meh. Zee sounds better. Meet my boring moron Son, Zed. Meet my enthusiastic energetic Son, Zeke.

    Sam Anderson June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Great video Christopher, I was able to complete an assignment thanks to you.

    Luis Martin del Campo June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Thanks!

    Andy Smith June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Thanks for the explanation. I have been tinkering with PC's for many years but never taken the trouble to research the different file standards. BUT, seriously dude, you need to look at getting a new hairstyle. 1976 Bill Gates doesn't cut the mustard these days.

    Martyn Bush June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Thanks dude

    Fabio Ricardo June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Spent ages trying to copy over some files from my friends Mac formatted Hard Drive – one particular folder just wouldn't copy, no matter what.
    Eventually I realized the problem – there was a ":" colon in the folder name, which Windows file systems don't like!

    Bionic Man June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Nice haircut man

    Андрій Литвин June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply
  • Thank you man!

    Ocdrari Drogon June 23, 2020 6:02 pm Reply

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