reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

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Bob M
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reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by Bob M » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:29 pm

I have purchased a new 1TB Western Electric external HDD which is formatted in NTFS and I would like to change that to Ext4 format so I can use “Timeshift” to back up to from my main computer.

Gparted doesn’t seem to give me the option to change?

There is absolutely nothing on the new external drive other than the formatting.

Later I may wish to partition this new external drive as my main computer is only 250gig which leaves about 75% unused which seems a bit silly.

So the questions are:

How do I reformat the external drive to Ext4?

Should I partition the drive to have a 250gig partition, the total size of my main drive (only half of that is used at the moment).

All suggestions welcome.

Bob

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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by Flemur » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:00 pm

Bob M wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:29 pm
IGparted doesn’t seem to give me the option to change?
If you're not seeing the ntfs partition, the drive selector is in the upper-right corner of the gparted GUI.

Then you should be able to see and select the ntfs partition; rt-click -> format to -> etx4, or menu -> partition -> format to -> ext4


If none of that works, delete ntfs partition and reformat it )select the emtpy area)...that might be cleaner, anyway.
Last edited by Flemur on Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] if/when it is solved!
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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by DisturbedDragon » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:00 pm

Open gparted and select the drive. You should see " /dev/sd# " with # being b or c or d or so on. Next to this will be current filesystem (ntfs), drive size, used and unused space. Right click selecting "Format to" the select the filesystem you want ext4. Once selected hit the check mark at the top bar to apply.

If you want to have multiple partitions then you will have to select Device--> Create partition table. Once the new table is created you are free to divvy the drive into multiple partitions.
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Bob M
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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by Bob M » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:59 pm

Thanks guys,

My problem turned out to be the external drive had become Mounted and of course the facilities weren't available until I unmounted it.

A trap for young players.

Anyway, I won't sign this off as Solved just yet in case of further problems relating to the same exercise :D .

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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by Bob M » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:11 pm

Well all appears to have gone well but I’m a little uncertain about “Timeshift”.

I’ve read contradictory claims as to whether "Timeshift" can actually Back-Up the whole drive or only the System Files, but not the Data (Photos etc.)

One respected member of this Forum (I can’t remember which one) claims that “Timeshift” will back-up everything so long as you include the root and Home directory’s found under Settings/Users.

Others claim it is only really a “Restore Point”, so who do I believe.

I guess it gets down to “Does it back-up your correspondence and photo’s etc.) if set correctly?

Hopefully we can get this settled once and for all.

Thanks

Bob

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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by catweazel » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:16 pm

Bob M wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:11 pm
Well all appears to have gone well but I’m a little uncertain about “Timeshift”.

I’ve read contradictory claims as to whether "Timeshift" can actually Back-Up the whole drive or only the System Files, but not the Data (Photos etc.)
Timeshift is not a backup program; ignorance causes the view that it is a backup program to persist. It is a snapshot and restore tool. If you want full disk backup then use a disk imaging application such as Clonezilla or the free Macrium Reflect. You will need a windwoes machine to create the boot media for Macrium.
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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by RIH » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:30 pm

Timeshift is capable of backing up everything - system & data- but that was not its' original intent & so, is probably not a very sensible approach to take when alternative programs designed just to back up personal data are available.
Timeshift is really Linux's answer to Microsoft System Restore & should be used & treated as such - just to restore your system settings to a previous working copy if things go wrong with the system.

BackinTime is one of a number of Programs that were designed with backing up a users data so that if anything goes wrong with that you have a copy.

A different approach to backing up everything is to use a Program like Clonezilla which makes a copy of your complete system - data & system files.

It is really up to the user to decide which approach provides them with the security they require with the minimum fuss..

Personally I don't use Timeshift as I am happy to reload Mint from scratch if anything goes wrong.
My important personal data is replicated on a number of different hard drives attached to different computers as well as in the cloud.
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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by athi » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:33 pm

Bob M wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:11 pm
Well all appears to have gone well but I’m a little uncertain about “Timeshift”.

I’ve read contradictory claims as to whether "Timeshift" can actually Back-Up the whole drive or only the System Files, but not the Data (Photos etc.)

One respected member of this Forum (I can’t remember which one) claims that “Timeshift” will back-up everything so long as you include the root and Home directory’s found under Settings/Users.

Others claim it is only really a “Restore Point”, so who do I believe.

I guess it gets down to “Does it back-up your correspondence and photo’s etc.) if set correctly?

Hopefully we can get this settled once and for all.

Thanks

Bob
As catweazel and RIH stated, Timeshift is a system restore and snapshot tool. The fact that Timeshift can also backup data file does not make it a backup tool and kind of defeats the purpose of a snapshot. Do you want to overwrite your new data file with the old data file (from when the snapshot was taken) when you restore the snapshot and do you want the space penalty from creating data backup each time that you create a snapshot? There are many data backup tools with GUI in Package Manager to select, most are based on Rsync (I like luckyBackup myself).
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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by catweazel » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:43 pm

RIH wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:30 pm
Timeshift is capable of backing up everything - system & data- but ...
... complete and utter FUD. It does not and cannot backup the bootloader or EFI partitions.
RIH wrote:It is really up to the user to decide which approach provides them with the security they require with the minimum fuss..
And it is up to those who provide advice or support here to not spread ignorant FUD.
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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by Bob M » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:36 am

Ok, I think I’d better clarify exactly what I’m trying to achieve.

The situation is a complete HDD failure. (the heads and the disks have been at war.)

I want to install a brand new HDD and install on it what I’ve backed up on my External Drive.

To do this I have to boot from a Mint Flash Drive and I’ve no idea from here in and hope I don’t have to find out.

I’m not slightly concerned about restore points for Mint as I’ve never had so much spare time since I dumped Winwoes. (Thank you catweazel) Mint just works and doesn’t need fixing every update and the updates don’t take hours.

Now I’ve looked in my Home folder and everything I want is there. (Documents, Music, Pictures, everything I Want)

Whether the back-up is a week or two old is of no consequence, as I’m just a geriatric single user and the loss of a week or twos work is of no consequence. If it is an important document I’ll back it up myself.

So that’s it, a bare bones back-up.

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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by catweazel » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:39 am

Bob M wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:36 am
Ok, I think I’d better clarify exactly what I’m trying to achieve.

The situation is a complete HDD failure. (the heads and the disks have been at war.)

I want to install a brand new HDD and install on it what I’ve backed up on my External Drive.

To do this I have to boot from a Mint Flash Drive and I’ve no idea from here in and hope I don’t have to find out.

I’m not slightly concerned about restore points for Mint as I’ve never had so much spare time since I dumped Winwoes. (Thank you catweazel) Mint just works and doesn’t need fixing every update and the updates don’t take hours.

Now I’ve looked in my Home folder and everything I want is there. (Documents, Music, Pictures, everything I Want)

Whether the back-up is a week or two old is of no consequence, as I’m just a geriatric single user and the loss of a week or twos work is of no consequence. If it is an important document I’ll back it up myself.

So that’s it, a bare bones back-up.
As for geriatric, you may be 15 years my junior, junior :)

If you want to protect against a complete disk failure then the only solutions are a) full disk images, or b) a clean install and all the rigmarole of setting everything up from scratch then restoring your treasured stuff from some archive.
"There is, ultimately, only one truth -- cogito, ergo sum -- everything else is an assumption." - Me, my swansong.

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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by carum carvi » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:20 am

I recently formatted a new external 1TB harddisc as well. Wanted to use it for backup purposes as well. I thought I needed to format that external harddrive to ext4 to be able to back up a partition image to it, but this wasnt necessary at all. A partition image of your LinuxMint OS can be saved and stored on any form of formatted disc or very large usb stick. It's just data. You can simply keep using the NTFS format for storing a backup on that new disc. I am not sure though if a disk image can be stored on any sort of formatted external disc as well, because I have not done this yet.

What's more, when I formatted my newly bought external harddisc to ext4 it kept flashing all the time, when nothing was written to it. Still dont know why it did that, but the Windows NTFS format had no such problems. I also lost write permissions to my ext4 formatted external disc, which I had to regain back with a terminal command, otherwise I couldnt even make a backup image. I had none of these problems with the NTFS or exFAT format, both Windows formats. Go figure.

My simple advice would be to leave your newly bought external harddrive in the NTFS format, because it can be read by Windows as well. The ext4 format can not be read by Windows or Apple. In case of an emergency when your computer hardware is malfunctioning (for whatever reason) you can easily still use that external harddisc, with all it' s important backup data (documents, photos etc) and connect it to someone's else's Windows or Apple computer.

(The FAT format can be read by any computer, old or new, but it only stores files smaller than 4GB. Not suitable for storing large data as video files or image backups).

For advice on which program to use for image backups, in which you get an exact mirror copy of your entire LinuxMint OS, I recently learned a lot from this post, which is still running :) : viewtopic.php?f=90&t=303195

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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by catweazel » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:23 am

carum carvi wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:20 am
I recently formatted a new external 1TB harddisc as well.
I cut out all the unhelpful FUD. That there is all that's left.
so I can use “Timeshift”
"There is, ultimately, only one truth -- cogito, ergo sum -- everything else is an assumption." - Me, my swansong.

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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by carum carvi » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:25 am

You are quick catweazel. I just read the extra info the original poster mentioned and I wanted to change my post. But you were quicker than me.

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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by catweazel » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:34 am

carum carvi wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:25 am
You are quick catweazel. I just read the extra info the original poster mentioned and I wanted to change my post. But you were quicker than me.
That'll learn you :mrgreen:
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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by pbear » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:29 am

Bob M wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:36 am
The situation is a complete HDD failure. (the heads and the disks have been at war.)

I want to install a brand new HDD and install on it what I’ve backed up on my External Drive.
Do you have a friend who can burn a Macrium disk for you? Probably easier to learn than Clonezilla. See this tutorial. OTOH, if you plan to do image backups going forward, then might be worth the time to learn Clonezilla. It's not difficult, just clunky.
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If your problem has been solved, please edit the thread title.

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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by Bob M » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:50 am

=catweazel post_id=1699358 time=1570768799

As for geriatric, you may be 15 years my junior, junior :)

If you want to protect against a complete disk failure then the only solutions are a) full disk images, or b) a clean install and all the rigmarole of setting everything up from scratch then restoring your treasured stuff from some archive.
Jeeeez Mate you could be 91. :D

You know, a clean install and reinstatement of Data Files makes a lot of sense.

After all, I couldn’t count how many times I had to do it with Winwoes before I lost patience.

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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by catweazel » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:54 am

Bob M wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:50 am
Jeeeez Mate you could be 91. :D
Soon to be 87 :)
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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by Bob M » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:30 am

pbear wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:29 am

Do you have a friend who can burn a Macrium disk for you? Probably easier to learn than Clonezilla. See this tutorial. OTOH, if you plan to do image backups going forward, then might be worth the time to learn Clonezilla. It's not difficult, just clunky.
Thanks pbear,

I looked at Clonezilla and came away wondering what the hell they were on, because I was going to need some to keep up. :D

Macrium has stood the test of time and was around 20+ years ago so that tells me something. Indeed I still have a Macrium Boot disk somewhere but that would have been from the XP days but yes I can get a new one.

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Re: reformatting from NTFS to Ext4

Post by Bob M » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:41 am

catweazel wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:54 am
Soon to be 87 :)
Next thing you’ll be telling me you kicked the side out of your Cot to come on on here. :D

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