How to Access exFAT File System in Ubuntu

Linux (or Ubuntu, in particular) comes with support for many file systems. If you plug in your USB drive, chances are your Linux system will recognize it immediately and mount it in your file manager. However, if your external hard disk is in the exFAT format, your system won’t be able to detect it since it doesn’t support it natively. Here is how you can access, with read and write permission, to an exFAT file system in Ubuntu.

Installation

The Ubuntu repository does not come with any package that supports exFAT. To enable access to exFAT, we need to install from a third-party PPA.

In your terminal,

Usage

Once you have installed the exfat-utils packages, whenever you plug in your exFAT external drive. It will be detected by the system and automount. It comes with read/write access so you can copy to and paste from the drive.

In the event that your system doesn’t automount the external drive, here is what you can do to mount it manually:

Replace the “/dev/sdb1” with the exact file path to your external hard drive.

To unmount the exFAT external drive:

Why isnt’t exFAT supported natively in Linux?

The main reason why exFAT is not supported natively in Linux is because exFAT is developed by Microsoft and it comes with a restrictive license, which doesn’t allow free or open-source operating system to implement it natively.

Even though the exfat-utils package allows you to read/write to a exFAT file system, you can’t format your external hard disk to exFAT format yet. To format to exFAT file system, the only (and easiest) way now is via Windows. If you are running a Windows virtual machine, you can do so in the VM as well.

13 comments

  1. This almost worked.. but my drive states as “read only”
    When I try to copy to the drive.

    I can paste from but not copy to.
    I’m using ubuntu 12.04

    Any extra help would be appreciated.

    1. It worked perfectly on my machine. Did you check if you are in the fuse
      group? Did you check if you have locked the thumb drive accidentally?

  2. exFAT is also available on Mac OS X with full format support.

    1. Yes, both WIndows and Mac have support for exFAT. Linux does not support it
      natively yet.

  3. has anyone had any luck with 12.10?

    1. It works fine on my system running Ubuntu 12.10, using the same steps.

      1. hm. ill try reformatting drive. keep getting unable to mount “exited with non-zero exit status 1: stdout: ‘fuse exfat 0.9.8’ stder ‘error: invalid checksum

  4. I get error: exFAT file system is not found. Why?

  5. this worked great!(Ubuntu 12.10) thank you so much. I rarely leave feedback, but this was short, to the point, and accurate. Thanks again

  6. Didn’t work with Ubuntu 12.10 server . After installing the exfat updates it still cannot mount an exfat external USB drive. Fails with “ERROR: exFAT file system is not found”. Had to reformat drive as ext4, which kind of sucks.

  7. sudo add-apt-repository ppa:relan/exfat
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install fuse fuse-exfat exfat-utils

    works fine on my Ubuntu 12.10. Read & write. Thank you Damien.

  8. Works perfectly. Thanks!

  9. http://apcmag.com/how-to-enable-exfat-in-ubuntu.htm

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