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What is the safest hard drive format (NTFS, HFS+, XFS, ZFS, ...) for archiving or/and storing media (data)? I'd prefer to have the data not corrupt and be relatively safe (From corruption, ...) and would like to have the format to be accessible by Windows (Vista) as well.

Thanks in advance.

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3 Answers 3

tar is a rock-solid, append-only filesystem, which is well-suited to archiving. You can write raw to tar from UNIX, so:

tar cf -b $BLOCKSIZE /dev/hda ~

or from Windows you can create/extract tar files using the very capable Winzip, but that leaves you with the problem of raw read/write dev access from Windows. Since Windows Server 2003, this has been tricky to do, but the code from the DiskSector project (untested!) looks promising. I leave this as a project for yourself to package this up into convenient scripts...

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Stick with ext3 or ext4. While other formats such as ZFS certainly have their advantages, few filesystems (other than NTFS) have as broad OS support as ext3/4.

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NTFS does not have broad, quality support. –  Charles Stewart Dec 19 '11 at 9:45

Your main limit is Windows access. If it wasn't for that, you'd probably be best off with ZFS... If you used *BSD instead of Linux. But as you have Ubuntu, I'd say: stick with ext4.

This will not be natively supported by Windows, but nothing really good will - and the ext family is most popular and stable, so many 3rd party Windows programs offer support for it (like Total Commander plugins). Since Ext4 can be mounted in backward-compatibility mode, you'd probably be able to use some programs that by default support only ext2/3.

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