Is it possible to create and format an exFAT partition from Linux?
Yes, there is a project implementing exfat and the related utilities at relan/exfat.
To format a partition, use
mkfs.exfat like with most filesystems, e.g.:
As for creating the partition in the first place, this is the same as for any other filesystem. Create a partition in your favourite partition manager. If you have an MBR partition table, set the partition type to NTFS (that is, code
Note, that some distributions only package the fuse module, so you may have to build it yourself.
mkfs.exfat solution above works if a partition already exists on a drive, like a purchased USB pen drive. Use this link if you're starting from a bare disk:
On the command line, the process is as follows:
Use the lsblk command to find out which drive your usb stick is. (for example /dev/sdx)
Then start parted and tell it which drive you want to perform operations on:
sudo parted /dev/sdx
In parted interactive mode type:
Now reboot. And after the reboot do:
sudo parted /dev/sdx
And in parted interactive mode type:
mkpart primary ext4 0% 100%
When the partition is created, press q to exit parted.
Now that the flash drive contains a partition, create an exFAT filesystem on the newly created partition (replacing the ext4 filesystem that only works on Linux):
sudo mkfs.exfat /dev/sdx1
Personally, I skipped the "reboot" step. Instead, I pulled out the USB stick (sdb went away) and after reinserting it came up as sdd. If it wasn't obvious, with sdx1 the "x" could be any letter of the alphabet (usually it's a, b, c, d...) but it depends on your particular setup.
See guidance below for completely wiping and restoring afresh any USB pen drive from anuy Linux command line/terminal. I often do this when pen drives become corrupted and stop working. In this example, the pen drive is /dev/sdb, but yours may be different,
sudo fdisk -l
This lists the disks/partitions. Remember the correct /dev/sdx name for the device. In this example it is /dev/sdb
You may need to unmount any already mounted partitions - e.g
sudo umount /dev/sdb1, etc.
The following wipefs command will remove any existing file systems from the drive. If you do not have wipefs installed, install it using your package manager.
sudo wipefs --all /dev/sdb
At this point, all file systems have been removed, any data on the drive is technically still recoverable. To permanently wipe all data from the drive :-
sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=1M
This dd command should complete quickly. This writes zeros (the
if = input file) to the
of (output file), which is the device. The
bs (block size) flag sets how many bytes to read/write at a time, the default is 512 bytes, but above it has being set to 1 megabyte (or 1,000,000 bytes).
OR, for a more secure version which writes random data instead of zeros :-
dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sdb
This one can take a while.
The pen drive is completely wiped now. and all data is unrecoverable.
If you want to now create a bootable USB drive now in Linux from an OS ISO file, use the dd command again here, e.g.
dd bs=4M if=ubuntu-12.04.2-server-i386.iso of=/dev/sdb
The pen drive is now bootable, and no further action is needed if this is all you want to do.
Or, to create a blank pen drive for storage purposes, you could put the drive into a Windows machine and format there, which might be easier/quicker, but to partition the pen drive in Linux, continue below as below
sudo fdisk /dev/sdb
This goes into the fdisk program. You need to now input specific commands in the following order.
Option d - this delete partitions (this is not needed if you have used the dd command above on the device). Repeat for each partition if present.
Option n - create a new partition, just accept all the defaults (unless you need multiple partitions of specific sizes, most people won't)
Option w (write changes)
To create a vFAT partition (readable on Windows)
sudo mkfs -t vfat /dev/sdb1
Or, to create exFAT partition, use the following command instead:-
sudo apt-get install exfat-utils exfat-fuse #if not already installed sudo mkfs.exfat -n volume_name /dev/sdb1
When complete, Linux should auto-mount the device. If not, mount the device as below :-
mkdir /media/usbdrive mount /dev/sdb1 /media/usbdrive
To make exFat formatting available for ubuntu.
(Maybe works fort other distros as well? will modify this claim if its been confirmed false or true.)
After these steps exFat formatting will work in ubuntu.
Ubuntu 20.04 and lower versions:
sudo apt install exfat-fuse exfat-utils
Ubuntu 22.04 and higher versions:
sudo apt install exfat-fuse exfatprogs
- Article is about how to format into exfat, for example needed when making bootable windows media.
Currently, the best filesystem to share content between Windows and Linux is exFAT, specially on USB pendrives and SD cards. exFAT is, roughly speaking, a revision of FAT32 without the 4GB max file size limitation. Since kernel version 5.4, exFAT is a native filesystem for Linux and does not rely on FUSE anymore.
If not installed, you will have to install exFAT support, as follows.
Note: On systems with older kernels, use
exfat-utils instead of
$ sudo apt install exfatprogs # Debian/Ubuntu $ sudo dnf install exfatprogs # Red Hat/Fedora/CentOS $ sudo pacman -S exfatprogs # Arch Linux/Manjaro
From here, you have two options. Use a graphical tool like gparted or the command line (which is more fun). Find below steps for the latter.
- Plug-in the USB pendrive/SD card.
- Identify the device. It should be one of
/dev/sd?. In a terminal, run the below command which will show connected devices and partition mount points. In this example,
/dev/sdbis the device, with two partitions, the first of which is mounted.
$ lsblk NAME MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT sdb 8:16 1 15G 0 disk ├─sdb1 8:17 1 256M 0 part /media/myuser/mydevice └─sdb2 8:18 1 14,7G 0 part nvme0n1 259:0 0 931,5G 0 disk ├─nvme0n1p1 259:1 0 512M 0 part /boot/efi ├─nvme0n1p2 259:2 0 64G 0 part / ├─nvme0n1p3 259:3 0 256G 0 part /home ├─nvme0n1p4 259:4 0 38G 0 part [SWAP] ├─nvme0n1p5 259:5 0 448G 0 part /data ├─nvme0n1p6 259:6 0 16M 0 part └─nvme0n1p7 259:7 0 125G 0 part
- Unmount mounted partitions.
$ umount /dev/sdb1
- Create a new partition table and partition of type HPFS/NTFS/exFAT.
$ sudo fdisk /dev/sdb # Pay attention! No final digit is used. Welcome to fdisk (util-linux 2.34). Changes will remain in memory only, until you decide to write them. Be careful before using the write command. Command (m for help):
- Create a new (dos) partition table: press
- Create a new partition: press
enterand accept default options.
- Change the partition type to HPFS/NTFS/exFAT: press
- Quit saving changes: press
- You can quit without saving changes: press
- Create a new (dos) partition table: press
- Format the partition.
$ sudo mkfs.exfat -n "my label" /dev/sdb1 # Pay attention! Final digit is used. mkexfatfs 1.3.0 Creating... done. Flushing... done. File system created successfully.
How to format an exFAT filesystem on Linux with the desired cluster size to tune your selection along the tradeoff curve between speed and disk usage
Here's how to manually set your own cluster size. I recommend a cluster size of 8 KiB. The below information is a summary from my website here: https://gabrielstaples.com/exfat-clusters/#formatting-an-exfat-drive-on-linux-ubuntu:
First, use gparted to prepare a partition. Format it to anything initially--ex: ext4. We'll change that later from the command line.
Install dependencies. See: https://itsfoss.com/format-exfat-linux/
sudo apt update sudo apt install exfat-fuse exfat-utils # for Ubuntu 20.04 and earlier sudo apt install exfat-fuse exfatprogs # for Ubuntu 22.04 and later
Ensure your partition you are about to format is NOT mounted:
sudo umount /media/your_name/your_disk
Format your partition as exFAT, setting the cluster size to 8 KiB. This assuming your sector size is 512 bytes, as
-s 16says to use a cluster size of 16 sectors, which would be 16 sectors x 512 bytes/sector = 8192 bytes in a cluster. Note that you can change the
-n "name"part to whatever you want your volume name to be, up to 15 chars (see
# 8 KiB clusters (takes 0.698 sec) <=== WHAT I USE AND RECOMMEND time sudo mkexfatfs -n "my_exFAT" -s 16 /dev/sda999
This just takes a few seconds.
Setting the cluster size is really important, it turns out, when formatting exFAT, as it significantly affects the speed and disk usage (see the plots I made, below).
If you use the Gnome Disks utility on Linux to format the exFAT drive, it chooses the cluster size for you, probably according to Microsoft's default values as shown in the table just below: Support.Microsoft.com: Default cluster size for NTFS, FAT, and exFAT:
Default cluster sizes for exFAT
The following table describes the default cluster sizes for exFAT.
Volume size Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008,
Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP
7 MB–256 MB 4 KB 256 MB–32 GB 32 KB 32 GB–256 TB 128 KB > 256 TB Not supported
When I used Gnome Disks to format my exFAT drive the first time, I realized later that it had used a cluster size of 128 KiB on my 500 GB SSD. This corresponds to the default values recommended by Microsoft in the table above.
If you'd like to use other cluster sizes, here are some more examples. YOu can use any power of 2 (to specify the number of sectors per cluster) after
-s. The maximum cluster size allowed is 32 MiB, or 65536 512-byte sectors:
# Set the name after `-n` to whatever you want too. `-s` specifies how many # sectors to use per cluster. Assuming you have 512 byte sectors, the following # cluster size comments are accurate. # # cluster size (format time) # ---------- ------------- time sudo mkexfatfs -n "my_exFAT" -s 1 /dev/sda999 # 0.5 KiB (512 byte) # clusters (10 sec) time sudo mkexfatfs -n "my_exFAT" -s 8 /dev/sda999 # 4 KiB clusters (1.340 sec) time sudo mkexfatfs -n "my_exFAT" -s 16 /dev/sda999 # 8 KiB clusters (0.698 sec) <=== WHAT I USE AND RECOMMEND: 8 KiB clusters time sudo mkexfatfs -n "my_exFAT" -s 64 /dev/sda999 # 32 KiB clusters (0.230 sec) time sudo mkexfatfs -n "my_exFAT" -s 256 /dev/sda999 # 128 KiB clusters (0.075 sec) time sudo mkexfatfs -n "my_exFAT" -s 65536 /dev/sda999 # 32 MiB clusters (0.120 sec) [absolute max cluster size allowed!]
Here are the tradeoff curves of cluster size vs speed and disk usage, as I first presented on my website here: https://gabrielstaples.com/exfat-clusters/