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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?


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Old 03-01-2005, 04:05 PM   #1
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: UK
Distribution: Ubuntu 5.10
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Formatting new hd for windows-linux samba network use?

I have just purchased a new hard drive that I will use as a storage media on my small home samba network. I need to ensure that it is formatted so that I can write to it from both the Linux and Windows machines. I assume I need to format it to FAT32 (is this referred to as VFAT under Linux?)? Perhaps it already comes formatted as FAT32 from the manufacturer?

Advice to this n00b greatly appreciated!

Old 03-01-2005, 04:15 PM   #2
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Yes it will be vfat. It may be formatted by the manufacturer but most disks don't even have partitions on them. If there are no partitions then you will need to create one/them with fdisk or cfdisk.
Old 03-01-2005, 04:37 PM   #3
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If sharing via dual boot then vfat is the way to go.

If this is only for network sharing then any filesystem should work.
Old 03-01-2005, 04:43 PM   #4
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Since you ask the question here, I presume you intend to install this on a linux box? if so, you can use a native linux file system or you can use FAT (not recommended). The filesystem is irrelevant when you are accessing the drive over a network; you access it using network protocols and the host machine translates that to the required filesystem.

If, as michaelk commented, you intend to dual boot with Windows, and you want Windows to be able to access it, then FAT is pretty much your only choice. You could use ntfs and use the captive-ntfs package on Linux to access it, but that package has a lot of overhead and, on my machines at least, it also has some issues.
Old 03-01-2005, 05:04 PM   #5
Registered: Dec 2004
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Thanks for the prompt feedback!

Yes, I will run the disk under linux and have the other windows machines access it via the samba network. I'm quite new to linux so I guess I'm still feeling my way around. But I am really enjoying the flexibility of it all - my samba network allows me to hook together up the linux box with 1 mac and 2 windoze machines - and it's not very complicated!



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