The differences between Ext2 and Ext3 file systems are as follows.





No journaling

Has journaling

Speed of file system(read-write)

Bit faster

Bit slower then ext2 file-system

Data corruption

File system may be corrupted due to unplanned reboots

Prevents file-system corruption 

Way to recover data

Require fsck to recover data after unplanned reboot

Does not require(automatic file recovery is done at booting time)

Online file system growth.

By default there is no Online file system growth.

Online file system growth

Commands to format

mkfs.ext2 or mke2fs

mkfs.ext3 or mke2fs -j

Max file size(if block size is 1kB)




Easy and done with e2defrag

There is no data security when doing de-fragmentation.

Data accommodation

More data can be accommodated in a give space

Less date is written when compare to ext2 in a give space due to journaling.

Some FAQ’s:

1. What is Journaling?
Ans : In general, Journaling file systems avoid file system corruption by maintaining a journal. The journal is a special file that logs the changes destined for the file system in a circular buffer. At periodic intervals, the journal is committed to the file system. If a crash occurs, the journal can be used as a checkpoint to recover unsaved information and avoid corrupting of file system meta-data.

2.How many file systems supported by linux? and what are they?
Ans : As of now(09-Nov-2009)
Linux will supports : Btrfs, cifs, davfs, ext, ext2, ext3, ext4, exofs, hpfs, JFS minix, msdos, ncpfs, NiLFS(2), ntfs, nfs, proc, smbfs, iso9660, sysv, hpfs, affs, ufs, umsdos, vfat, xia, xfs, ZFS.
Note : Please add some more file systems which you people know in the comment section. So that i will update the post with new file systems.

3.What is the maximum size of a partition we can create using ext2 and ext3?
Ans : 4TB partition
can be created in each ext2 and ext3 file system respectively.

4.What is the maximum size of a file we can create in ext2?
Ans :
The maximum size what we can create is 2GB to 2TB. It depends on the block size we taken when we are formatting. If the block size is 1KB we can not create a file more than 2GB in ext2 file system.

5.What is “ext” in ext2 and ext3?
Ans :
When linux first implemented the default file system is minixfs, in subsequent years it was replaced it’s successor file system called extended file-system. So the naming convention. So ext2 is second version of extended file system. Same explanation is given to ext3 and ext4.

6. Some points about ext4
It supports 64 bit storage limit’s, where as ext, ext2, ext3 are 32Bit storage limit’s and minix is 16Bit storage limit.
b.Have backward compatibility and performance is improved from lower version.
c.Extents are introduced (An extent is a range of contiguous physical blocks, improving large file performance and reducing fragmentation. A single extent in ext4 can map up to 128MB of contiguous space with a 4KB block size).

And there are many more advantages please see the below links for more info about all the file systems.. Please comment your thoughts regarding this post. To give feed back click here.