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Linux File System Types

This article talks about the basics of different Linux file system types.

For more on this subject, please refer to the SOC Table of Contents.


Intro to Linux file systems

Unlike Windows systems with multiple partitions in the disk, Linux systems don’t have disk partitions. Linux makes up for this by having multiple partitions that the user would need to mount, before being able to access it. Windows also has a mounting process, but it is all automated and doesn’t require the user to take action.

When mounting disks in Linux, one needs to make sure there is a clear mounting point and to know where the disk is going to be mounted to.



Linux file system types

In the Windows system, there are file systems such as FAT, exFAT, and NTFS. Linux systems have the file types of ext2, ext3, and ext4. Linux also supports other UNIX file systems such as XFS, JFS, and UFS, on top of Windows system types like FAT and web system types like NFS.



The ext2 file system is one of the early file systems of Linux. Following technological advancements, however, ext2 file types are no longer recommended, and many Linux systems no longer provide support it.



The ext3 file system is based off of ext2 and is a journaling file system. ext3 supports large files, and has the following characteristics:

High level of reliability: By using an ext3 file system, even if the system crashes, recovering ext3 files only take a minute. Thus, providing a high level of data completeness.

Speed: The Journaling feature of ext3 optimized the disk driver, and did not lower the speed compared to ext2

Data transfer: It is very easy to transfer from ext2 to ext3, as it only requires two lines of commands. Users don’t need to spend extra time to do things like backup, recover, and format partitions. Users only need to use the provided tool tune2fs to easily convert an ext2 file system to a ext3 journaling file system. Whereas ext3 file systems don’t need to be modified in any way and can be directly mounted as an ext2 file system.



The ext4 file system is based off of ext3 and provides even better performance and reliability than ext3. Not only so, but it has even more features, and supports both ext3 and ext2. Meaning that ext2 and ext3 can both be mounted as ext4.


Determining file system type

In order to determine the file system that the Ubuntu we have installed is currently using, we can type in the following command in the Terminal.

df -T -h

Thus, we can see that our file system type is ext4, and to the left of that we can see that our disk partition is /dev/sda1. We can also see that it is mounted on /, which is the root directory.

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