How to enable exFAT support on Linux

  • By Christopher Kielty, last updated September 07, 2016
  • Filed under: Linux Ubuntu

exFAT is a proprietary and patented file system developed by Microsoft. The “ex” bit stands for “extended”. It isn’t an incredibly common file system. It is sometimes seen in applications where FAT was used in the past. exFAT solves some of the problems that FAT suffered from, namely FAT32’s file size limitation of just 2GB (4GB with large file support).

Enable exFAT suport on Ubuntu

Ubuntu unable to mount exFAT drive

If you’re trying to use a USB thumb drive or other disk formatted with exFAT on Ubuntu, you might see an error message like this. At the end of the message, you should see something along the lines of “exit status 32: mount: unknown filesystem type ‘exfat’ “. Make sure the error message actually says “exfat” and this isn’t some actually other file system causing problems.

Alright! One quick line of code in the terminal and a quick restart is gonna get you a whole bunch of exFAT goodness!

Open a terminal and use apt-get to install exfat-utils (don’t forget sudo!):

sudo apt-get install exfat-utils

apt-get should automatically install exfat-fuse along with exfat-utils.

If apt-get isn’t finding these packages in the default repository, you might try updating to a more recent version of Ubuntu. For this tutorial, we used Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS.

Restart Ubuntu

After a restart you should be ready to rock and roll! With exFAT formatted drives, that is. Enjoy!

exFAT formatted USB drive working on Ubuntu

Other Linux systems

If you’re on a different distibution of Linux, using the native package manager to install exfat-utils and exfat-fuse still might work. Be aware that exfat-fuse is sometimes called fuse-exfat.

If there’s a particular distribution that’s giving you trouble, drop us a line. We’re happy to help.

Good luck!