Choice of file system

New Endeavour user here, from the U.S. heartland. I’ve been using Endeavour for about six weeks now using EXT4 with no issues whatsoever. I like it well enough to seriously commit it to my laptop.

My question is which of BTRFS or EXT4 is considered the better option these days? I will be snapshotting but I am also thinking about future-proofing as much as possible. I know EXT4 is rock solid but is getting long in the tooth. BTRFS is younger but my reading indicates it’s stable enough these days. I’m fine either way. What are most of you using? Thanks in advance.

btrfs is better if you want/need any of it’s features.

If not, go with ext4.

Neither is “better” per se.


I think its totally worth it to use btrfs nowadays. The snapshot feature combined with Timeshift or Snapper is just awesome. And I wouldn’t wanna miss out on that anymore. Also the compression is really nice feature too. Speed wise, in my day to day work and playing games etc. I don’t see any difference at all to ext4, could be even faster in some scenarios, not sure. But for sure not slower.

I mean, you could argue… do I NEED that? Maybe not, it works without those tools, as it worked for years without btrfs. But do you NEED Linux? Or could it work without? You know what I’m talking about? It is more of a question, if you WANT it, or can make use of it and makes your Linux life easier or cooler or more smooth etc.

And that is the case here, for btrfs, at least for me it does.

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There is noting, and I mean nothing, wrong with an older filesystem. Older filesystems are better (there is absolutely no more important factor than time tested robustness) than younger filesystems. Ext4 is rock solid and can handle drives and files larger than any home user is going to ever need to create.

Then again, if you need btrfs features, go with it.


Just wondering using timeshift what’s the main difference to recover a system between btrfs and ext4? (I know btrfs uses subvolumes).

I thought timeshift takes a snapshot of the system, which can be recovered by both filesystem types. To be honest, I never took a system snapshot, as I don’t generally need it.

But am wondering how to recover a snapshot in ext4. Can this be selected at boot in grub?

Btrfs is promising but seems complicated and need more time to look into it at some point.

Edits: ah found the answer to my question, seems pretty straightforward. It’s either directly restore in timeshift or boot into live USB and restore.

You can boot and select your snapshots from Bootloader like you would with kernels. then boot into it and from there restore your system from any snapshot you have.

Btrfs snapshots take less than 1 sec to make. I have a hook to make auto btrfs snapshots every time I update the system and it takes 1 second.
You can also save your btrfs snapshots to a different partition than the system with a little work.
And if you want to take full advantage of btrfs snapshots, you just use Snapper. Awesome tool.

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That sounds awesome, will have to experiment a bit on my non-work machine next time I do a new install. Is the above working only on btrfs or also on ext4?

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For my root filesystem I have been running btrfs for around 6 years. Choose the btrfs layout in the Endeavour installer (which I think sets up a subvol layout compatible with snapper)

Setup snapper

Also install & configure:

  • grub-btrfs
  • snap-pac
  • snap-pac-grub

& a snapshot will be created after every pacman update & the grub menu populated with snapshots you can boot into.

I always use ext4 for my /home partition (it never breaks) - I once used a btrfs subvolume for /home & dropbox managed to completely fill my disk requiring a reinstall.

Having 2 btrfs partitions (one for the system & one for /home) is another option so you can also snapshot your /home (useful for accidentally deleted files) - with similar safety to a separate ext4 home partition.

Welcome to the forum @Eggnog :enos_flag: :enos: :partying_face: