Samba + exFAT : how to avoid pre-allocating when copying big files?

Jeremy Allison jra at
Mon Dec 7 20:24:31 UTC 2020

On Mon, Dec 07, 2020 at 03:07:55PM -0500, Joseph wrote:
>Thank you for your response Jeremy.
>Good news: if I still write *from Windows*, but from a Python script like
>    import os
>    with open(r'\\RASPBERRYPI\public\test\hello.txt', 'wb') as f:
>        for i in range(100):
>            f.write(os.urandom(10*1000*1000))  # 10 MB blocks
>then the problem does not happen: each 10MB block is appended one after
>another, and there is no "preallocation".
>This seems totally logical, but happy to see it working: so writing from
>Windows to a remote Linux+Samba+exFAT computer in itself is working fine!
>(if the client is *not* Window Explorer, but another file-copying process,
>such as the Python script here)
>Now the only problem is the Windows Explorer file copy which probably does
>this EOF fileseek to be sure there's no ENOSPC error.
>Is there a full verbosity logging in Samba server that would allow me to
>see exactly which open(), write(), seek() are sent by the Windows Explorer
>Samba client to the Samba server? Can we log so precisely all IO calls? I'm
>curious to see what Windows Explorer is sending exactly.

Sure, just enable the vfs_full_audit module and do the copy from Windows Explorer.

Warning you'll want to disable afterwards as it's very verbose.

>Since millions of people use exFAT in the NAS context (especially in the
>RaspPi world and also people who use media players / TV which don't support
>ext4 but only NTFS or exFAT), it would be great to see if a fix could be
>possible :)
>I've literally seen dozens of forum posts about nearly exactly this issue
>(NAS-related / RaspPi / media-players-related forums, ec.).
>I would be happy to analyze precisely what the Explorer does to see if a
>trick could solve this.
>PS: perhaps just *not* doing a flush() after the "seek EOF" would be enough.
>Indeed I noticed that, on the Linux computer, with Python:
>    with open('/mnt/exfat/test.bin', 'wb') as f:
>*1000*1000)  # move 1 GB forward, no delay!
>        f.write(b'END')                  # no delay!
>                           # go to the beginning to
>actually write the file content, no delay!
>        f.write(...)                          # write the actual file
>all the first lines happen without any delay. There is a delay if and only
>if we flush() after the seek() or write(b'END'), but we could easily bypass
>With this method, the 1GB is written only once on disk, and not two times.

This is controlled in Samba via: "strict sync". By default this is set
to "yes".

Try setting to "no" (this is not recommended, you can lose data
this way if the server crashes) to see if this fixes the problem
for exFAT.

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