Windows uses a file system designed for Windows, FAT32 or NTFS.
Apple use their own HPFS or HPFS+ file system
Linux requires a file system type designed for Linux like ext3 or ext4
We recommend using ext4 as many system tasks will run significantly faster than they would as compared to a partition with an ext3 file system. Another choice is reiserfs, however, this in infrequently used.
Mepis Linux runs an automatic file system check at boot time if 100 days has passed since the last check, or if the drive has been mounted more than a predefined number of times. An ext3 partition measuring 100GB may take 50-90 seconds to scan, the same sized partition with ext4 will take only a few seconds and you may not even notice it at all.