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  1. #1


    Which file system to use for an external hard drive?

    I have an external hard drive with all my videos on it and it is an NTFS hard drive. Will soon get a new one and transfer the files over as that one is starting to fill up. Now I am planning on using my OUYA as a media center with that new hard drive attached to it. I think Android doesn't support NTFS natively but it does support FAT32. I want to avoid using FAT32 though as I think NTFS is much better for storing large amounts of files. And I don't plan on using my hard drive as NTFS now and having to format it later because I can't use it with my OUYA. What is the best solution for me? I was thinking of using a NAS but I'm not sure if the OUYA is equipped for that. (Note: I don't really have any experience with NAS)
    Also any chance they would upgrade that USB 2.0 port to 3.0?

  2. #2
    OUYA Devotee dr-nix's Avatar
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    Android is a linux based operating system. That means that filesystems like FAT32 and NTFS aren't good fits. You should use ext4 or ext3.
    Last edited by dr-nix; 11-10-2012 at 12:04 PM.

  3. #3
    OUYA Developer ratalaika's Avatar
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    But even been linux you can use FAT32 like in the Android phone sd cards... I don't thinks Ext3 or Ext4 will be a good choise because a lot of people use windows will require special tools to work with their SD cards.

  4. #4
    OUYA Devotee dr-nix's Avatar
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    I was assuming he was thinking of a dedicated external harddrive (not sd-card).

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Jawdy's Avatar
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    Linux has no issues reading NTFS or FAT32, as others have pointed out and if the drive is already fully loaded with items, you can just leave it as is :-)

    FAT32 has several limitations on file storage, namely the 4GB file size limit and there was a limit on the maximum storage capacity, which I believe can be overcome with some sideways methods and updates to the file system.
    Still, out of these two, NTFS would be your better but...

    But, as dr-nix has said, if it's a dedicated drive that's only going to be plugged into the OUYA (or some other Linux machine) then you would see a noticeable benefit in switching to an ext based formatting. There are other things that ext based file systems bring to the table, too!

  6. #6


    I hadn't considered ext because my current HTPC is running Windows 7 (it's a laptop). I tried using Ubuntu but had trouble with the drivers and couldn't get sound out of the HDMI port. I haven't tried XBMCbuntu because I need to download torrents and I don't believe there is an add-on for that right now. I've never tried any tools that would allow Windows to read ext. Will I still be able to use my external hard drive as usual with my current HTPC? Also yes this hard drive will be dedicated to the OUYA alone. I want to avoid pluging it in and out constantly to add files.

  7. #7
    OUYA Developer Ayrik's Avatar
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    Android does not support many external drive formats. OUYA is unlikely to support anything other than FAT32, I think. This is based on some google searches I just made. Solid information is pretty hard to come by.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Jawdy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis Nguyen View Post
    I hadn't considered ext because my current HTPC is running Windows 7 (it's a laptop). I tried using Ubuntu but had trouble with the drivers and couldn't get sound out of the HDMI port. I haven't tried XBMCbuntu because I need to download torrents and I don't believe there is an add-on for that right now. I've never tried any tools that would allow Windows to read ext. Will I still be able to use my external hard drive as usual with my current HTPC? Also yes this hard drive will be dedicated to the OUYA alone. I want to avoid pluging it in and out constantly to add files.
    XBMCBuntu simply installs Ubuntu with the XBMC front-end, so you can Ctrl+F1 (I think that's the key command) and drop to a regular desktop, run Synaptic/apt-get and install your favoured client.
    Also, I think there are (at least now) torrent clients for XBMC that can be installed as add-ons/plug-ins :-)
    (I personally don't use Torrent, so I can't say for certain, but I'm sure I've either seen them in the plug-ins list, or in some threads on XBMC. You may need to add another repo to your apt list, and download the plugin from there :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ayrik View Post
    Android does not support many external drive formats. OUYA is unlikely to support anything other than FAT32, I think. This is based on some google searches I just made. Solid information is pretty hard to come by.
    Android runs the Linux Kernel, so whatever file formats are supported in there by default will work.
    A list I found includes: ext2, ext3, ext4, nfs, yaffs, ramfs, vfat(fat32), yaffs2

    We also know that, with the SD Card, if you're planning on plugging that into any other OS, you're better off using NTFS, for the +4GB file support and that it'll work on Windows. But the OP was also asking about an external drive that may remain plugged into the device, so a more native file system could be more appropriate (such as an ext based one).
    Although, I have now read that ext4 is not so good for mobile devices - haven't yet read why, but just a heads up :-)

  9. #9


    So should I just get a NAS then? That seems like the best choice assuming that the OUYA will have no problem accessing it. That way I won't have to worry about the drive's file system.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Jawdy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis Nguyen View Post
    So should I just get a NAS then? That seems like the best choice assuming that the OUYA will have no problem accessing it. That way I won't have to worry about the drive's file system.
    That's an awesome option!
    Means you can access it from any machine, there's a lot more flexibility and you can choose what NAS you want, rather than worrying about what the OUYA/Android can do :-)

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