do I need to format this new external drive

Dan Farrell dan at
Sat Feb 9 21:08:39 UTC 2008

On Fri, 8 Feb 2008 16:13:37 +0100
"angels mail" <angels.mails at> wrote:

> Another 'silly' question ... as I'm going to buy a new external hard
> drive. Does it matter which one I'll choose? For example, I'd like to
> buy something like this
> And now ... I think that it will be useful for me to have ext3 format
> for backuping my files from Ubuntu, as well as another format - for
> having my media files to play them on a DVD player.

If windoze isn't expected to mount the filesystems, it's entirely up to
you.  You chould use ext3, but you might prefer a newer, better
performing system like reiserfs (what I use) or xfs (potentially
slightly better performance).  The biggest thing is to make sure you
can recover if anything goes wrong.  That's why I use reiser -- I trust
it, and I don't trust ext3 as much.  it's also faster. 

if you have to share with windows, you can use ext2 and add support to
windows for ext2, maybe even ext3 or others (i don't really know).  you
can also use NTFS or FAT32 if you desire.  NTFS write support in linux
requires ntfs-3g, a FUSE (filesystem in userspace) utility that has
full write support.  CAUTION:  i highly, highly recommend you use a
journaled filesystem, not FAT/VFAT, and not EXT2.  I also recommmend
you not use NTFS.  If you need windows to read your files too, chances
are you'll have other computers to read them as well -- put them on a

> Which format have
> I to choose? And at the end ... a very newbie question: how to format
> an external disk? Please, do not judge me to much for that :) I
> didn't do till now anything like that and I'm not sure if I will make
> it right :(

All drives are formatted with the same tools, whether  IDE/SATA
(internal), floppy, pcmcia (usually a converter or pcmcia->ide), USB, or
as far as I know, Firewire.  Use fdisk (recommended for command liners),
cfdisk, or a GUI frontend.  

> 2008/1/15, NoOp <glgxg at>:
> >
> > On 01/14/2008 06:19 PM, Liam Proven wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > Depends. Do you want to preserve things like permissions when
> > > copying onto the drive?
> > >
> > > If it's >2GB, it won't be FAT16, it will be FAT32, which is
> > > actually a reasonably efficient, fast FS with good long name
> > > support. You can back up onto it using DAR, say. Leaving it FAT32
> > > will mean that it's also accessible from Windows, a Mac or almost
> > > anything else, which might be an advantage.
> >
> > Unless of course you want to save files larger than 4Gb (such as an
> > Ubuntu DVD). In that case you'll want to use NTFS instead.
> >
> >
> >
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