Linux File System Overview

"On a UNIX system, everything is a file; if something is not a file, it is a process."

The following is a list of native Linux file systems. Linux can boot off of some of these partitions and use them as Root.

Linux filesystem types:

  • ext
  • ext2
  • ext3
  • ext4
  • hpfs
  • iso9660
  • JFS
  • minix
  • msdos
  • ncpfs
  • nfs
  • ntfs
  • proc
  • Reiserfs
  • smb
  • sysv
  • umsdos
  • vfat
  • XFS
  • xiafs


The proc filesystem is mounted on /proc, you can find in /proc/filesystems which filesystems your kernel currently supports. To use a filesystem, you have to mount it. Below is a short description of the available or historically available filesystems above, in the Linux kernel.

  • ext - An elaborate extension of the minix filesystem. It has been superseded by the second version of the extended filesystem (ext2) and removed from the kernel (in 2.1.21).
  • ext2 - A high performance disk filesystem used by Linux for fixed disks as well as removable media. This second extended filesystem was designed as an extension of the filesystem (ext).
  • ext3 - This is a journaling version of the ext2 filesystem. It is easy to switch back and forth between ext2 and ext3.
  • ext4 - a set of upgrades to ext3 including substantial performance and reliability enhancements, plus large increases in volume, file, and directory size limits.
  • hpfs -

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