[Samba] VFAT filesystem and large files

Frank Van Damme frank.vandamme at gmail.com
Sat Sep 22 08:16:21 GMT 2007

On 9/22/07, t-wynnychenko at northwestern.edu
<t-wynnychenko at northwestern.edu> wrote:
> Hello
> I have used samba for many years, and it worked great (thanks!).
> Anyway, I recently decided to add a USB drive to the server.
> Currently running linux kernel, debian etch.
> samba version 3.0.24
> The USB drive is VFAT
> I am able to write small files  remotely to the USB drive (a few Kb, 10's of Kb) without a problem.
> However, whenever I try to write something "larger" (like 1 Mb), the client machine "freezes" for a
> while (about 1 minute or so), then returns an error saying the file could not be written.
> However, if I look at the share under which the USB drive is mounted, a file exist, however, it is
> all "0"'s.
> If I log onto the server with ssh, i can cp large files from ext3 drive to the VFAT USB drive
> without problems.
> I found a post about this somewhere (I can't seem to find it again), which said this was a problem
> with the VFAT code, not samba.
> I was wondering, is this is the case?  is the is a work-around?  Basically, is there a way to write
> large files via samba to a VFAT USB drive?

Well, since it works via SSH, it would seem like a weird conclusion
the problem lies with the file system. Samba is only a userspace
program like cp.

That said: vfat means Pain! PAIN!! *PAIN!!!*

The design of the FAT files ystem is maybe 20 or 25 years old. It was
simple and perfect in the days when the average computer had 20 MB
hard drives with 50 files on them. It is not scalable. It is not
suitable for large file systems (and nowadays every new computer comes
with them). It is not suitable for large files. Besides, it's
unreliable and slow. If you're hooking the drive to a Samba server
anyway, just reformat it with a real file system, like ext3.

Frank Van Damme

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