Best file system for external HDD?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by SomeGamer, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. SomeGamer
    OP

    SomeGamer GBAtemp Guru

    Member
    12
    Dec 19, 2014
    Antarctica
    I got a 2TB external HDD and was wondering which file system and cluster size would be the best for it as I have no plans of reformatting ever. (All the info I found on Google was old and/or conflicting.) Also, would the recommendation change if I threw encryption into the mix? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Ryccardo

    Ryccardo and his tropane alkaloids

    Member
    13
    Feb 13, 2015
    Italy
    Imola
    No, full-drive (actually full-partition) encryption is something that's typically handled at a layer between block device (whole disk, sectors, etc) and file system

    My opinion is that best should mean easiest to use on a different system.

    FAT32 is king by a long way, but file size limitations (and huge block sizes for that partition size) may be objectionable
    NTFS is therefore my recommendation: full support on Windows, near-full support on most other major OSes (preinstalled in most consumer Linuxes, an optional install for read/write support on most others and Mac OS)
    FAT64/exFAT effectively combines the advantages of the above (after a very rough start), but it's still less popular, and the non-journaled, single-allocation-table-by-default is something I would be wary of (especially if you use write caching to improve performance)
    If you are really committed to Mac OS, Linux, BDSs, etc you may choose their native file systems - but cross platform support is considerably worse
     
    Last edited by Ryccardo, Sep 2, 2018
    B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N and SomeGamer like this.
  3. SomeGamer
    OP

    SomeGamer GBAtemp Guru

    Member
    12
    Dec 19, 2014
    Antarctica
    Thanks very much! I'm actually going for full-drive encryption because despite what I've seen that OSes corrupt the drive by initializing unallocated space, Windows was more than happy to format a RAW partition while it didn't even show the drive with (seemingly) unallocated space (only in System Management).

    A bit unrelated question, turning on NTFS compression on the drive I get after mounting the partition with VeraCrypt should be safe, right? (AFAIK files get compressed, then that data gets passed to VeraCrypt meaning it doesn't mess with VeraCrypt headers or anything which would make the data unreadable.) Or is it a bad idea entirely because it'd slow to a crawl?
     
  4. migles

    migles All my gbatemp friends are now mods, except for me

    Member
    14
    GBAtemp Patron
    migles is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Sep 19, 2013
    China
    Earth-chan
    what do you use the external drive for?
    PC? NTFS default allocation size, cluster doesn't matter in the end...
    if you use it with consoles that might not suppot NTFS like wii, ps3, fat32 32k cluster
    (most of stuff for the wii is compatible with NTFS, but not all)
     
    SomeGamer likes this.
  5. SomeGamer
    OP

    SomeGamer GBAtemp Guru

    Member
    12
    Dec 19, 2014
    Antarctica
    Already formatted as you said, but thanks for your answer! Now deciding on whether to enable NTFS compression.
     
  6. migles

    migles All my gbatemp friends are now mods, except for me

    Member
    14
    GBAtemp Patron
    migles is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Sep 19, 2013
    China
    Earth-chan
    don't enable it, very likely the gain is very minimum...
    if you want to achieve stuff, you better with 7zip
     
    SomeGamer likes this.
  7. SomeGamer
    OP

    SomeGamer GBAtemp Guru

    Member
    12
    Dec 19, 2014
    Antarctica
    It's a mess with all kinds of files, not sure how much time they'd take to 7zip. :lol:
     
  8. Seriel

    Seriel Watching the days pass by

    Member
    11
    GBAtemp Patron
    Seriel is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Aug 18, 2015
    United Kingdom
    Wales, UK
    If the goal is to decrease storage space then this will work at the cost of performance, even more so if the files are the type that have lots of repeated bytes.
    However I don't recommend turning it on for the whole drive, if you need it for some folders or files you can just enable it in Properties.
    Warning: Spoilers inside!
     
    SomeGamer likes this.
  9. SomeGamer
    OP

    SomeGamer GBAtemp Guru

    Member
    12
    Dec 19, 2014
    Antarctica
    Thanks! So even by today's standards, NTFS compression still comes with a noticeable speed decrease?
     
  10. Ryccardo

    Ryccardo and his tropane alkaloids

    Member
    13
    Feb 13, 2015
    Italy
    Imola
    NTFS compression is actually very lightweight (remember, it has to be backwards compatible with all Microsoft OSes supporting NTFS)
    It's probably not that significant in real world use (especially on a mechanical drive), but it's still useless or counterproductive on already compressed files
     
    SomeGamer likes this.
  11. SomeGamer
    OP

    SomeGamer GBAtemp Guru

    Member
    12
    Dec 19, 2014
    Antarctica
    Most of them aren't compressed, I try to compress the bigger ones now though.
     
Loading...