Latest LQ Deal: Linux Power User Bundle
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
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!


  Search this Thread
Old 02-26-2006, 04:29 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2005
Posts: 29

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Changing the filesystem of an external HD

Hello all.

I have a 160G external HD (from now on, called sda) and it is connected to my laptop (breezy badger). Right now sda's filesystem is ext3 but I would like to change it to either fat32 or ntfs: I would like to be able to access the files on it from a windows box.

Is there anyway that I can change the filesystem without actually erasing all the data off of sda? It has quite a bit and I need to keep it all safe (music, documents, movies, etc.).

Also which filesystem would be better, fat32 or ntfs?

Thank you very much,

Old 02-26-2006, 04:40 PM   #2
Registered: Jan 2006
Distribution: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2; Slackware Linux 10.2
Posts: 215

Rep: Reputation: 30
No. You would have to reformat the drive under the new file system, thereby erasing all data anyway.
If you do change the filesystem, by all means go for NTFS. It's much faster then FAT32 (a relic from the days of Windows 9x).
Old 02-26-2006, 05:04 PM   #3
Registered: Apr 2002
Location: in a fallen world
Distribution: slackware by choice, others too :} ... android.
Posts: 23,067
Blog Entries: 11

Rep: Reputation: 911Reputation: 911Reputation: 911Reputation: 911Reputation: 911Reputation: 911Reputation: 911Reputation: 911
I think that some commercial tools like PartitionMagic and Arconis
partition manager *DO* offer a non-destructive migration away from
ext2/3 filesystems.

And I wouldn't recommend using NTFS despite it's performance benefits.
You loose trivial portability/accessibility between varied OSes. Fat32
makes more sense.

Old 02-26-2006, 06:26 PM   #4
LQ Veteran
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Australia
Distribution: Lots ...
Posts: 16,319

Rep: Reputation: 2319Reputation: 2319Reputation: 2319Reputation: 2319Reputation: 2319Reputation: 2319Reputation: 2319Reputation: 2319Reputation: 2319Reputation: 2319Reputation: 2319
Back it all up, delete, recreate and restore.
You should have a good backup anyway (of course you do, right ???), so this is just a (second) safety backup.

NTFS is (still) a no-no IMHO, although I haven't fully tested the lastest 2.6.15 write support. Multiple FAT32 partitions are the go - as peter_89 observes, it has some limitations, more pronounced as the partition gets larger.

Of course, if you have big files, FAT32 ain't the answer.
Old 02-26-2006, 06:49 PM   #5
LQ Guru
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Saint Amant, Acadiana
Distribution: Gentoo ~arch
Posts: 6,309

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Or use Windows ext2/3 driver.
Old 02-26-2006, 10:52 PM   #6
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2005
Posts: 29

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: Disabled
The external HD is my backup, actually. My computer has both ubuntu and windows on it, so I would like to be able to access the data on the external hd with both systems.

The only files I keep on there are mp3s, .docs or .txts, some .jpgs, and a few .mpegs.


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
Changing filesystem Beju Linux - Newbie 1 02-15-2005 06:48 AM
mount for external filesystem support cold Linux - General 3 02-16-2004 02:00 PM
Access ext2 filesystem on external HD from Windows tgardner Linux - Software 2 01-18-2004 01:16 AM
Putting a filesystem on an external USB Hard Drive Ryknow215 Linux - Hardware 7 01-17-2004 06:33 PM
Mounting external filesystem crvoss Linux - Networking 10 09-04-2002 11:40 PM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:02 AM.

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