File Format on external HDD

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boojum17
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File Format on external HDD

Post by boojum17 »

Hi -- I hope you can help out a pretty inexperienced Mint user here. My wife bought me a 500 GB Buffalo Ministation, which had some Windows Back-up program installed on it, which I have removed, but I haven't used the disk yet.

What I would like to know is whether there is an advantage in formatting it again as ext 4 (I use only Linux nowadays) or should I leave it as it is, which I think is FAT 32. I have used gParted before and have a good idea of what to do -- but is it worth doing?

Any help would be most welcome, and my thanks in advance to any kind soul who would care to help an old newbie!
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xenopeek
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Re: File Format on external HDD

Post by xenopeek »

FAT32 is rubbish, go with Ext4 so you get journaling, Linux file attributes & permissions, etc. If you need Windows compatiblity go with NTFS.

Relevant Wikipedia page for those who want to compare filesystems: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_systems
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jose_r
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Re: File Format on external HDD

Post by jose_r »

Hi
Vincent is right. Don't know about the other features, but FAT32 limits the files size to 4GB. This reason alone is enough for being considered "rubish" nowadays.
Last edited by jose_r on Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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odo5435
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Re: File Format on external HDD

Post by odo5435 »

If you're going to be using the HDD on different computers I'd leave the existing formatting. Odds are you're going to run across a Windows system (sooner probably, rather than later) and It won't read the ext format. If not, then go ahead and re-format.

In another thread on an unrelated topic @SMT wrote the following which is relevant here.
SMT wrote: Here is a quick link that explains logical, primary, and extended partitions:
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/file/str ... ons-c.html

(Non- pertinent information edited out)

Quite simply Windows will ONLY read NTFS, FAT, FAT16, and FAT32. Linux will mount and read NTFS, FAT, FAT16, EXT 2/3/4/, XFS, ReiserFS, JFS, any others that you can come up with. There are a couple of third party open source tools that you can use on Windows to read EXT2 and 3 but i am not sure about ext4.
Take a look at this forum regarding ext4 on windows : http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1598585

(Non- pertinent information edited out)

I hope this clarifies things.

SMT
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Reorx
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Re: File Format on external HDD

Post by Reorx »

boojum17 wrote:Hi -- I hope you can help out a pretty inexperienced Mint user here. My wife bought me a 500 GB Buffalo Ministation, which had some Windows Back-up program installed on it, which I have removed, but I haven't used the disk yet.

What I would like to know is whether there is an advantage in formatting it again as ext 4 (I use only Linux nowadays) or should I leave it as it is, which I think is FAT 32. I have used gParted before and have a good idea of what to do -- but is it worth doing?

Any help would be most welcome, and my thanks in advance to any kind soul who would care to help an old newbie!
If it is the only external HD you have, you might benefit from keeping about 50 to 100 GB of it in a format that is readable & writable by windoze to facilitate file transfer to/from win platform... the rest you can partition as ext4... If you have more than one external HD, keep the old one as win-read/write-able and format the new one ext4.
Full time Linux Mint user since 2011 - Currently running mostly LM19C and a little LM20C.

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boojum17
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Re: File Format on external HDD

Post by boojum17 »

SOLVED :D

Special thank yous to xenopeek, jose_r, odo 5435 and Reorx for the sound and speedy advice, and thank to anyone else who took a look at my question.

I have an older HDD, of about 160 GB that I will keep as FAT 32 and I will format my new one as ext4 as advised.

Again, thanks for the help and apologies for the dumb question -- you're a great bunch here!

boojum17
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