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ReiserFS – Linux File System

ReiserFS – Linux File System

The ReiserFS file system was developed especially for the Linux operating system by Hans Reiser and Namesys company. It was the first journaled file system that was accepted into the kernel and developed when Ext file systems were not yet planned.


  1. Features of the ReiserFS file system
  2. Advantages of ReiserFS
  3. Shortcomings of ReiserFS
  4. Viewing ReiserFS data in Windows
  5. What to do if the data is lost?

Features of the ReiserFS file system

ReiserFS is an efficient file system that works very quickly with small files and supports journaling for fast recovery in case of problems. The file system structure is based on trees. The maximum file size is 1 exabyte and the number of files that can be found on a single partition is about four billion.

In addition, the file system supports fast rebuilding of its tree and has extensive recovery capabilities. It is faster than Ext4 family file systems. And the most important thing is that ReiserFS can be used as the main file system for the root, as well as Ext4. But its disadvantage is that you cannot use background encryption.

It is not the end of ReiserFS features. This file system allows you to place small files and file tails in one block. It reduces the space they take.

At the moment, there are two stable versions of the file system. It’s Reiser3 or as it is called ReiserFS and the new version Reiser4. It has added encryption, improved performance, and much more. However, after the arrest of the manager, Hans Reiser, the development of the file system has slowed down, and the new version is still not included in the kernel. Therefore, we will only consider Reiser3’s capabilities.

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Advantages of ReiserFS

ReiserFS has a unique (and by default enabled) ability to optimize disk space occupied by small files (less than one block) (and it should be remembered that in any UNIX system such data are present in abundance). They are stored entirely in their inode, without allocation of blocks in the data area – along with space saving this contributes to productivity growth, because both data and metadata (in terms of ReiserFS – stat-data) of the file are stored in close proximity and can be read by one I/O operation.

The second feature of ReiserFS is that the tails of files, i.e., their end parts smaller than one block, can be packaged. This mode (tailing) is also enabled by default when creating ReiserFS, providing about 5% disk space savings. However, it does reduce the performance slightly, so the tailing mode can be overridden when mounting the file system. Yet, the tailings are automatically recovered after the kernel is recompiled.

Shortcomings of ReiserFS

ReiserFS is not compatible with Ext2fs at file system maintenance utility level. However, the corresponding toolkit included in the reiserfsprogs package has long been included in modern Linux distributions.

A more severe compatibility problem is that common Linux bootloaders are often unable to load the Linux kernel from the ReiserFS partition, which is optimized in tiling mode. And since this mode, when disabled, has the property of self-repair, the user may find that after the kernel is rebuilt, the system will refuse to boot. That’s why creating a partition under /boot may be necessary.

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Viewing ReiserFS data in Windows

Unfortunately, Windows does not have built-in capability to view files on drives formatted with file systems other than NTFS or FAT. That being the case, you will have to use third-party applications to view data on a ReiserFS file system drive. One such application is DiskInternals Linux Reader. It is a primitive file manager, made like a regular Windows Explorer, with support for Ext 2/3/4, Reiser4, HFS, UFS2 file systems. In the program window, we will see the partitions and devices with Linux or Android.

This application allows you to view, copy, move, edit, and delete data on ReiserFS media.

You can download it at

What to do if the data is lost?

It often happens that a user may lose important data. It is especially true for file systems that Windows does not understand and have to use third-party software. Sometimes applications to open Ext 2/3/4, Reiser4, HFS, UFS2 disks in Windows fail, and data on the drive may be lost.

In such cases, we recommend using the RS Partition Recovery application. You can download it from the official website of the product manufacturer.

RS Partition Recovery allows you to recover photos, videos, documents and other files that were lost as a result of the damaged file system, disk formatting or accidental deletion, even if the data were lost a few months ago.

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