How to Format External Hard Disk to exFAT Filesystem in Ubuntu

If you are using multiple OSes and wish to transfer files from one computer to another via an external hard disk, you will want to format the hard disk to exFAT format since it is widely supported by most OS and doesn’t come with the 4GB per file restriction. We have previously shown you how you can mount and access exFAT partition in Ubuntu. Here is how you can format it to exFAT filesystem in Ubuntu.

Assuming that you have already installed the fuse-exfat and exfat-utils packages that are necessary to access exFAT in Linux:

1. Plug in your external hard disk. Open a terminal and type

sudo fdisk -l

This will list down all the hard disks and partitions in your computer. Record down the id that correspond to the partition in your external hard disk.


2. Next, run the command:

sudo mkfs.exfat -n LABEL /dev/sdXn

Replace “LABEL” with the label for your external hard disk and “/dev/sdXn” with the partition id that you recorded earlier.


That’s it. Optionally, you can run a “fsck” check to make sure the formatting is done properly.

sudo fsck.exfat /dev/sdXn



Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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