Operating Systems and File Systems Compatibility

Why would you need to know?

There are many operating systems (like Windows, Mac OS X and Linux) that use different ‘file systems’ that organise programs and the storage of data. Each operating system has limits to what it can read and write to, in terms of compatibility.

Here is a simple chart showing the cross-compatibility of Operating Systems and File Systems as they come ‘Out Of The Box’.  There are several software packages that allow Windows, Linux, Apple & Android to read different file system formats, but these are technical and some are complicated to set up, so for the purposes of ease of use we have kept this cross-compatibility guide to reflect the standard Operating Systems limitations (unless specifically annotated).

Operating System and File System Compatibility

Windows 10 Yes Yes Yes Yes** Yes**
Windows 8 Yes Yes Yes Yes** Yes**
Windows 7 Yes Yes Yes Yes** Yes**
Windows Vista Yes Yes Yes Yes** Yes**
Windows XP Yes Yes Yes No No
Mac OS Leopard Read Only Yes No No No
Mac OSX 10.6.5 on Read Only Yes Yes Yes No
Ubuntu Linux Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes
Playstation 3 No Yes No No No
Playstation 4 No Yes Yes No No
Xbox 360 No Yes No Yes Yes
Xbox One Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Android Yes*** Yes*** Yes*** No No

* Ubuntu Linux requires ExFAT packages to run on the ExFAT format Filing System.

** Windows 10,8,7 require Bootcamp software to read HFS+ formatted drives, and need third party software to read EXT2, 3 & 4 file systems

*** Android can read external hard drives but only with the use of 3rd party apps.

The above represents each operating systems ‘native abilities’ to read and write to these file systems. As previously stated Mac, Windows, Linux and Android Operating Systems all have a variety of software or apps that will allow them to read the other file systems, but that in itself leads to a much wider subject on specific technical installation and configuration.


Now you know which of your computers, laptops, tablets, games consoles, tablets and mobile phones can share information with each other why not invest in an external storage device (Portable Hard Drive)  – see the full available range here: – CLICK HERE

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For Use With A MAC

See how to format a new drive for use with an Apple Mac click HERE

How to format a drive for an Apple Mac


For Use With Windows 

See how to format a new drive for use with Windows 10, 8 or 7 click HERE

Format External Disk Drives for Windows 10 7 8



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