I ran into another FAT32 limitation yesterday: I had completely forgotten that the maximum file tsize in FAT32 is 4GB. Or more likely, it simply wasn’t an issue back when I was using FAT32 the last time. Unfortunately, it is much more of an issue now. I frequently burn DVDs, and as a regular DVD can be up to 4.7GB, I sometimes need to deal with 4.7GB ISO files on my hard drives. I also still have some old, 8GB large AVI files that I captured from my digital video camera some time ago and haven’t gotten around to processing yet. I just ran into this issue when I tried to copy my data files from my old NTFS drive to my new FAT32 drive. Unfortunately this means that FAT32 isn’t the solution for sharing data between Linux and Windows that I was hoping for.

For now, I think I will keep an NTFS partition and use it for these kinds of files. Most of these are transient in nature rather than data files that need to be stored for a long time, so something around 25GB might suffice for now. I am still hoping that solid NTFS support will be available for Linux soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

Another potential option could be to store my data on a Linux (ext2 or ext3) partition and find a way to access this on Windows. There are various tools that provide access to ext2 partitions, but I really would need a solution that provides native, transparent access to the file system. There is at least one such solution (ext2fsd) with at least one positive user report, but some of the recently fixed bugs listed on the website indicate that this implementation might still be very risky… I think I’ll hold off on this for now.

Using a separate file server with NFS shares could be another option, but unfortunately this would not really work for my use case either, as I would need fast access to the video and DVD ISO files for video processing and DVD burning applications.