LinuxQuestions.org
Review your favorite Linux distribution.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Password
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 08-09-2013, 02:10 PM   #1
jim_d
Member
 
Registered: May 2010
Posts: 50

Rep: Reputation: 0
Is it necessary to format USB drive?


I use Mint9, and just bought a Kingston DataTraveler 101 USB drive for daily backup of mainly .odt, .txt, .doc, and .pdf files, totaling about 100MB.

I plugged the drive in, did a test backup, and it seemed to work fine.

So do I need to format this USB drive, or should I just use the file system already in place?

My Mint9 filesystem is ext4; USB filesystem is FAT32.

I've seen instructions re *how* to format USB drive; but I don't know if it's *necessary* to do so, or if not necessary, whether there's an advantage in doing so.

Thx for info--
 
Old 08-09-2013, 02:20 PM   #2
suicidaleggroll
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Nov 2010
Location: Colorado
Distribution: OpenSUSE, CentOS
Posts: 5,396

Rep: Reputation: 2017Reputation: 2017Reputation: 2017Reputation: 2017Reputation: 2017Reputation: 2017Reputation: 2017Reputation: 2017Reputation: 2017Reputation: 2017Reputation: 2017
I typically do. Off the shelf drives often come with weird partition layouts, and fat32, while portable, isn't the most robust filesystem out there.

If the drive will be used in multiple OSs (Linux, Windows, Mac), then I usually either leave it alone or re-format it as fat32 in a Linux or Windows box. If I know the drive will only be used in Linux I usually reformat it as ext3.
 
Old 08-09-2013, 02:21 PM   #3
273
LQ Addict
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64, Raspbian Wheezy, various VMs
Posts: 6,396

Rep: Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759
You don't need to format it at all and many people use USB sticks formatted with FAT32 exclusively.
I like to use EXT2 (I could probably chose something better) on my 32GB stick because it means I can copy files larger than 4GB onto it. Of course, if you're transferring files between Linux and Windows then you can only use FAT32 or, if your distro supports it, NTFS if you need larger files.
I know you mentioned only small files but I thought it worth pointing out the limitations in case you came across it.
Also, for the backup I carry around with me I encrypt using LUKS.
 
Old 08-09-2013, 02:22 PM   #4
schneidz
LQ Guru
 
Registered: May 2005
Location: boston, usa
Distribution: fc-15/ fc-20-live-usb/ aix
Posts: 5,061

Rep: Reputation: 856Reputation: 856Reputation: 856Reputation: 856Reputation: 856Reputation: 856Reputation: 856
i usually do because i put dvd iso's on usb drives sometimes (fat has a limitation of 4 gb files / ext2 files can be huge).
 
Old 08-09-2013, 02:31 PM   #5
nonamedotc
Member
 
Registered: Mar 2011
Location: /
Distribution: Fedora (typically latest release or development release)
Posts: 372

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
I partition it to NTFS so that I can use it on Windows and Linux and I am not limited by the 4GB file size limit.

Every now and then (not always), I have had windows not recognize a NTFS partition made using GParted. So, I also tend to partition the USB drives under windows.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 08-09-2013, 02:37 PM   #6
273
LQ Addict
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64, Raspbian Wheezy, various VMs
Posts: 6,396

Rep: Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759Reputation: 1759
Quote:
Originally Posted by nonamedotc View Post
Every now and then (not always), I have had windows not recognize a NTFS partition made using GParted. So, I also tend to partition the USB drives under windows.
I think that's a good point to make. If you do decide to format NTFS it's probably better to do it under Windows just in case.
I've also known, in the distant (as far as these things are concerned) past for Linux to slightly corrupt NTFS drives -- not such that they lose data but just so that Windows insists on checking them for errors. That may not apply any more though we are talking around 5 years ago.
 
Old 08-09-2013, 02:46 PM   #7
jefro
Moderator
 
Registered: Mar 2008
Posts: 15,859

Rep: Reputation: 2301Reputation: 2301Reputation: 2301Reputation: 2301Reputation: 2301Reputation: 2301Reputation: 2301Reputation: 2301Reputation: 2301Reputation: 2301Reputation: 2301
I never bother unless it needs a special filesystem or I want to get rid of exfat.
 
Old 08-09-2013, 08:05 PM   #8
lleb
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: Florida
Distribution: CentOS/Fedora
Posts: 2,630

Rep: Reputation: 495Reputation: 495Reputation: 495Reputation: 495Reputation: 495
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim_d View Post
I use Mint9, and just bought a Kingston DataTraveler 101 USB drive for daily backup of mainly .odt, .txt, .doc, and .pdf files, totaling about 100MB.

I plugged the drive in, did a test backup, and it seemed to work fine.

So do I need to format this USB drive, or should I just use the file system already in place?

My Mint9 filesystem is ext4; USB filesystem is FAT32.

I've seen instructions re *how* to format USB drive; but I don't know if it's *necessary* to do so, or if not necessary, whether there's an advantage in doing so.

Thx for info--
only time i put ext3 on a flash drive is if it is going to be used exclusively in Linux boxes. Otherwise Ill leave it alone. That is unless it uses U3 tech. If that is the case ill remove that first in a MS computer with their tool, then ill reformat the drive FAT32.
 
Old 08-10-2013, 03:44 PM   #9
jim_d
Member
 
Registered: May 2010
Posts: 50

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Thanks to all for info--great to know, for both current and possible future situations--
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
[SOLVED] format a usb drive jbs1136 Debian 14 11-11-2012 09:48 AM
How to format a USB flash drive Randy Skaman Linux - Hardware 1 10-18-2009 02:24 PM
How to format a USB drive? JeffC1 Linux - Newbie 6 02-25-2009 12:15 PM
How to format a USB flash drive? Erik_the_Red Linux - Hardware 4 08-29-2005 12:47 PM
USB Drive in 8.3 File Format dkpw Slackware 4 03-21-2005 05:31 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:21 PM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration