Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by cool11, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. cool11 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2006
    I would like to have here a good discussion for using exFAT vs NTFS on mac.
    We live in a 'windows' world, so cross-platform compatibility for our usb flash disks and hard disk, is essential.

    After many years of using ntfs formatted disks (except mac internal hd - and my backup external hard disk - hfs), I am considering of migrating to exFAT for the first time. But I need opinions, experiences, and thinking about it.

    I fed up to set up paragon ntfs or tuxera, every single time mac os is upgraded to a major new version, every year. I would like to have a native support for read/write ntfs disks for use with windows machines, but only if this is reliable. But in macs you have to always rely to a third-party driver.

    I use to believe that ntfs is something somehow more stable than exFAT. But this was rather for previous years, yes or no? Is this still valid now, regarding use of exFAT disks in our macs?

    First of all, I want stability, and a reliable file system, away from reading/writing problems, compatibility problems, etc.
    Secondly it could be a matter of speed.
    I want a exFAT disk written in mac, to be used in pc, and vice versa, with no problems.

    In any case, from the moment that ntfs is not natively support writing in mac and we have to depend on third-party solutions, if exFAT handling and writing is a mature solution in mac os now, maybe it is time for the transition. If it is indeed a native capability without problems, maybe it is possibly the way to go.

    I wait for your experiences, opinions, advice.
  2. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    The only thing I would remind you of is this: Any FAT file system is a non journaled file system which means that it is more suspectible to data loss than NTFS, or HFS+ both of which are journaled. Also, I don't know why you're fed up with Paragon NTFS? Once setup, it's transparent and does its job well.
  3. flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States
    exFAT is an obsolete file system. It is not "matured" it is simply a legacy file system.

    The maximum file size is considerably smaller than NTFS or HFS+.

    It also does not use drive space efficiently. So expect to waste some space.

    It lacks file security features. Which may or may not be important to you in your usage.

    It lacks data integrity features of NTFS.

    There is so much more. There are literally chapters written about the features NTFS has that are not in the exFAT system.

    NTFS is a matured file system. And actually I would expect that in a few years, we will begin transitioning to it's successor, which builds on NTFS with more data integrity and security features.

    I can understand your frustration with Apple's lack of support. But going backwards just because Apple refuses to move forwards, doesn't make sense.

    Personally, if I were forced to share a drive between Windows and Mac, I'd set up a NTFS drive on a Windows machine and share access to the Mac.

    I wouldn't consider using FAT or exFAT for anything other than a flash drive.
  4. vmachiel macrumors 68000

    Feb 15, 2011
    ExFAT and NTFS both have a max file size of 16 EiB.
  5. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    I think you are confusing exFAT with FAT. exFAT is relatively new and has only been supported since XP and Snow Leopard.

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