How to Enable exFAT Filesystem Support on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04

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exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table), a Microsoft proprietary file systems optimized for external devices like USB and SD cards is supported by most modern operating systems by default.

Windows and MacOS support exFAT out of the box. However, Ubuntu and some Linux distributions do not support the file systems, at least not out of the box. If you need to include exFAT support on Ubuntu, you will have to install additional packages.

Microsoft developed exFAT file system to replace the older 32-bit (FAT32) file system which has lots of limitations, including not supporting file larger then 4GB in size.

exFAT was designed specifically to provide support for larger devices and files that the older version of the file system couldn’t support.

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to enable exFAT file system support on Ubuntu.Without installing packages that bring exFAT support to Ubuntu, when you mount a USB thumb or flash drive formatted with exFAT, you’ll similar message as below:

Error mounting /dev/sdb1 at /media/$USER/USB: unknown file system ‘exfat’

exFAT Ubuntu Support

To resolve this error follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Required exFAT Support Packages

Chances are you have an external device formatted with exFAT file systems. In order to mount and use exFAT devices, you must run the commands below to install FUSE exFAT,  a tool that provide exFAT support on Unix-like systems, including Ubuntu.

sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo apt update
sudo apt install exfat-fuse exfat-utils

Once the packages above have been installed, continue below to mount the drive.

Step 2: Mount exFAT External Devices

In step one, you installed packages that will allow you to mount exFAT devices. Now that the packages are installed, insert the external device that is formatted with exFAT technology.

If the device doesn’t automatically mount, reboot and try again.

That should it!

VirtualBox usb drive

Congratulations! You have learned how to use Microsoft exFAT devices  on Ubuntu Linux.

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1 Comment

  1. Apart from the language being alien to a complete newbie the advice above is very simple and worked as explained. If only MS was this helpful but then, nah, let’s learn more Linux! Thanks.

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