Any complaints with exFat?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by mgridgaway, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. mgridgaway macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2006
    Hey all,

    Was interested in reformatting my HFS+ backup solution as exFat for better compatibility between systems (my enclosure always freaks out when I'm on the Windows side). My question is this... does anyone have any complaints with exFat? Just wanted to make sure it's worth my time since I'll have to borrow a 600GB+ hard drive to reformat. Thanks!
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    What backup solution are you using? With exFat you don't have the same level meta-data support built into the file system. This may cause issues when doing a restore.

    Any backup solutions I have, include a device that can store the metadata or is completely Time Machine compatible. With exFat, will Time Machine work?
  3. Madd the Sane macrumors 6502a

    Madd the Sane

    Nov 8, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I doubt Time Machine will work on exFAT the same way as HFS+. It might back up as a sparseimage, though.
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
      [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
      [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
      • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion)
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended)
    • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
    • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! backups of Mac internal hard drive.
      [*]To Read/Write HFS+ from Windows, Install MacDrive
      [*]To Read HFS+ (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
    • Maximum file size: 8EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 8EiB
    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
  5. jason2811 macrumors 6502a

    May 8, 2006
    What exactly is metadata support? I'm debating between using HFS or exFAT to format my external harddrive which will store large movie files and music files. Is exFAT very unreliable?
  6. ivnj macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2006
    I already have a time machine 500gb bought from market place here. So no need for that. But exfat is good for my new 3tb toshiba I got from bestbuy. It works great mac mini 2.3 i5 8gb ram and 10.7. No problems here. Now I have to try my windows 8 laptop and see what it does. But no issues on the mac side.
  7. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I thought exFAT was a holy grail of sorts. I no longer like it at all.

    Time Machine won't back it up. Neither will any Windows solution I've tried.

    Also, OS X cannot network share an exFAT partition. It will let you set it up as a network share, but it doesn't work.

    On the Windows 7 side I've occasionally had Windows think that the drive was corrupt and so it would treat it as a read-only drive until I perform a chkdsk. So I'd perform a chkdsk and it wouldn't find any errors, but at least it would restore write access. Really irritating. Also scary, since I can't conveniently back the damn thing up.

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