Difference between Ex2 Ext3 and Ext4 File system in Linux

The ext2 or second extended file system is a file system for the Linux Kernel. It was initially designed by Remy Card as a replacement for the extended file system. Having been designed according to the same principles as the Berkeley Fast File System from BSD,it was the first commercial-grade filesystem for Linux.The canonical implementation of ext2 is the “ext2fs” file system drive in the Linux kernel. Other implementations exist in GNU Hurd, MINIX 3, some BSD kernels, in MiNT, and as
third-party Microsoft Windows and macOS drives.

  • Ext2 stands for second extended file system.
  • It was introduced in 1993. Developed by Remy Card.
  • This was developed to overcome the limitation of the original ext file system.
  • Ext2 does not have a journaling feature.
  • Maximum individual file size can be from 16 GB to 2 TB
What is ext2 ext3 and ext4 file system in Linux
What is Ext3

ext3, or third extended filesystem, is a journaled file system that is commonly used by Linux kernel. It used to be the default file system for many popular Linux distributions. Stephen Tweedie first revealed that he was working on extending ext2 in journaling the Linux ext2 Filesystem in a 1998 paper, and later in a February 1999 kernel mailing list posting. The filesystem was merged with mainline Linux Kernel in November 2001 from 2.4.15 onward. It main advantage over is journaling which improves reliability and eliminates the need to check the file system after an unclean shutdown. Its successor is ext4.


The performance of ext3 is less attractive than competing Linux filesystems, such as ext4,JFS,ReiserFS, and XFS, but ext has a significant advantage in that it allows in-place upgrades from ext2 without having to backup and restore data.

  • Ext3 stands for third extended file system.
  • It was introduced in 2001. Developed by Stephen Tweedie.
  • Starting from Linux kernel 2.4.15 ext3 was available.
  • The main benefit of ext3 is that it allows journaling.
  • Maximum individual file size can be from 16 GB to 2 TB.
What is Ext4

The ext4 journaling file system or fourth extended filesystem is a journaling file system for Linux, developed as the successor to ext3. ext4 was initially a series of backward-compatible extensions to ext3, many of them originally developed by Cluster File s=System for the Luster file system between 2003 and 2006, meant to extend storage limits and add other performance improvements. However, other Linux kernel developers opposed accepting extensions to ext3 for stability reasons, and proposed to fork the source code of ext3, rename it as ext4, and perform all the development there, without affecting ext3 users. This proposal was accepted, and on 28 June 2006, Theodore Ts’o the ext3 maintainer, announced the new plan of development for ext4.

  • Ext4 stands for fourth extended file system.
  • Starting from Linux Kernel 2.6.19 ext4 was available.
  • Maximum individual file size can be from 16 GB to 16 TB.
  • Overall maximum ext4 file system size is 1 EB (exabyte).
  • 1 EB= 1024 PB (petabyte). 1 PB = 1024 TB (terabyte)