Benefits of using HFS+ over exFAT?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by timothevs, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. timothevs macrumors 6502


    Nov 17, 2007
    Hey all, with 10.6.5 and the advent of exFAT for all, I am curious what are the benefits of using HFS+ for a non-boot, non-OS partition on a Mac, over exFAT. I tried the usual sources, but couldn't get a full picture.

    The way I see it, for us dual-booters, it is manna-heaven - just maintaining the OSX partition as HFS+ and converting all others to exFAT, so that data can be easily accessed from within Windows7.

    What do you guys think? Would I be giving up some key functionality by adopting exFAT over HFS+?
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  3. timothevs thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 17, 2007
    Thanks for the links GGJstudios. It seems that exFAT works fine in 10.6.5, and also with Windows 7 and Vista SP1. So unless one is relying on an older Windows OS, there would be no trouble reading/writing to exFAT.

    That being said, there are a few downsides I see to exFAT - one of them being the File System Permissions - which are ACL only. HFS+ has Unix permissions, so if one relied on those, exFAT would not be a good choice. Also the attributes recorded are different from HFS+ which records access, attributes modified, backed up, contents modified, created.
  4. fiatlux macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2007
    There is a Microsoft update bringing ExFAT to XP as well.

    However, I've not been able to use ExFAT between my Mac and PCs so far. I formatted a USB stick in ExFAT on the Mac, but could not read on either PC I tried (both were Windows XP with the upgrade installed). The stick even became corrupted and had to be reformatted.

    I haven't tried the other way around yet (formatting on the PC and reading on the Mac).
  5. walshlink macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2007
    I've used a exFAT formatted USB stick which was formatted on Winblows and it worked just fine on OS X 10.6.5. I only tried reading though...not writing.

  6. hachre macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2007
    ExFAT isn't bad. The main things it lacks are UNIX features, ACL support or even Windows Permissions support.

    You probably can't run your iPhoto Library off of a drive with ExFAT. (iPhoto doesn't even run off of AFP drives so it most likely requires specific HFS+ features)

    I'm not sure if Apple supports Time Machine on non HFS+ drives (they do support it on alien network drives, like Samba though so there might be a chance).

    Apart from that, for a simple data exchange drive it is a well suited filesystem.

Share This Page