A newbie question about file systems of Windows and Linux

so… I really lack knowledge about this, that’s why I decided to ask someone that knows.

someone from my family occasionally asks me to edit some important documents for them, which later on they transfer via USB to Windows computers. The documents are usually in pdf format, sometimes Word documents or PowerPoint presentations (which I would edit through LibreOffice, I guess). The presentations aren’t the most important, but still.

will everything be okay with the files if they are moved on my EndeavourOS, edited here, and then moved back to a Windows system? Will there be any conflicts that are caused out of interaction between two different file systems (NTFS and ext4, or any other Linux file systems like btrfs, ext3, etc.)? What about other types of files (jpeg, png, mp3, mp4, wav, etc.)? Can all types of files be freely moved between NTFS and Linux file systems, while being edited on both sides in the process, without any issues?

not that I ran into any issues with it (yet), I just wanted to know in general, whether any issues like this exist at all, do I need to be careful about it. Cause well, some of the files are pretty important, I don’t really wanna “find out” manually.

thanks in advance if anyone answers

File systems are interfaces between the OS and physical hardware. They will not interfere with the format of any documents. USB drives normally use a file system that is compatible with as many operating systems as possible.

The only issue I would expect is in the naming of documents. I found different file systems don’t like certain special characters such as #@!% [not cursing there, BTW]. However, if you stick to letters and numbers (no spaces), you’ll be fine.

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A file is a file.

So long as they are not copied to a faulty disk, and that the disk is not improperly removed, there is no problem.

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Another potential issue is very large files.

Most USB keys are FAT32 out-of-the-box; a large video file, larger than 4G, will be truncated.

Ah, and another other potential issue is case-sensitivity.

Linux: A and a are different files.
Windows: same file.

Can cause problems when copying from, say, ext4 to NTFS.

what exactly does that mean? :thinking:
let’s say it’s a video that is 10GB, is it going to be of really low, compressed quality?
makes me wonder if there’s any way around it…

No; to do that you would need to recencode the whole video; this is not trivial.

Truncated means “cut off”. The first 4 GB of the file will be there, the rest not. In the case of a video file you might have the first 20 min of a movie; depending on format you may have nothing at all usable, if the software needs something at the end of the file.

Realistically? Use another filesystem format. exfat is almost as universal as FAT32 and has much higher limits.

In the days of 3.5" floppies we cut large files in multiple archives and went to school uphill both ways in the blizzard, but those days are over :stuck_out_tongue:

I can freely format the USB in any partition editor like GParted, right?

hello from far north here, still doing that LOL
although we do get weather-related days off school and work, we’re not crazy people hah. Back when I still went to school, if the snowstorm started after we arrived at the school already, everyone would be sent home on a taxi or a teacher’s car.


Doesn’t count if it’s not uphill both ways. :stuck_out_tongue:

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The used fonts and filters in LibreOffice will be a bigger problem than the fileformat on the transport medium.


I thought you could freely download Microsoft Office fonts and use them in LibreOffice… no?.. :smiling_face_with_tear:
also, what are filters exactly?..

The import an export of .docx / .pptx is often possible without problems. You use the same fonts? Great! Maybe some formatting won’t look the same, like pictures, lines, borders. You use Macros? Uuuu, no way. Effects in powerpoint? Ah, which one?
It’s like translating a known text into a foreign language and translate it back. Most times you can read and understand it, but it’s not exactly the same text. So transport data (documents, pictures, music or movies) is no problem, but the closed source of MS-document-format is not the best choice.

I see… thanks for the info :smiling_face_with_tear:

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