LinuxQuestions.org
Visit Jeremy's Blog.
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 10-16-2015, 09:16 PM   #1
Gregg Bell
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2014
Location: Illinois
Distribution: Xubuntu
Posts: 1,929

Rep: Reputation: 172Reputation: 172
usb flash drive formatting questions


Okay, I've become convinced NTFS is best for formatting a flash drive to be used by Ubuntu and Windows (as in a dual boot), but I still have some questions.

1) If I only want to format for Linux only, what's the best file format to use? Seems to me (and I am a very ordinary non-techie user) Ext3 would be best.

2)Since NTFS gives the Linux/Windows flexibility, if NTFS is comparable to Ext3 why use Ext3? (Even for Linux only use.)

3) Can I leave the flash drive (I'm planning on using it for Back in Time backups) in the computer permanently?

Thanks.
 
Old 10-16-2015, 09:28 PM   #2
frankbell
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Distribution: Slackware, Ubuntu MATE, Mageia, and whatever VMs I happen to be playing with
Posts: 15,769
Blog Entries: 27

Rep: Reputation: 4629Reputation: 4629Reputation: 4629Reputation: 4629Reputation: 4629Reputation: 4629Reputation: 4629Reputation: 4629Reputation: 4629Reputation: 4629Reputation: 4629
Not all Linux distros come with NTFS support out-of-the-box, though you can always add it retroactively. They all have FAT32 support.

ext3 and ext4 are both technically superior to NTFS. They offer journaling and also manage fragmentation on their own. Linux does not routinely have defragmentation utilities because it doesn't need them. NTFS may stand for "New Technology File System" and that may once have been true--20 years ago when it was designed.

A flash drive is a USB drive. Like any USB drive, you should be able to leave it connected.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 10-16-2015, 10:49 PM   #3
jefro
Moderator
 
Registered: Mar 2008
Posts: 19,398

Rep: Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992
By the way, if you consider using partitions on it then consider making the first a windows readable format and whatever else second or later.

Exfat ought to work OK for both too.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 10-16-2015, 11:29 PM   #4
Gregg Bell
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2014
Location: Illinois
Distribution: Xubuntu
Posts: 1,929

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 172Reputation: 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
Not all Linux distros come with NTFS support out-of-the-box, though you can always add it retroactively. They all have FAT32 support.

ext3 and ext4 are both technically superior to NTFS. They offer journaling and also manage fragmentation on their own. Linux does not routinely have defragmentation utilities because it doesn't need them. NTFS may stand for "New Technology File System" and that may once have been true--20 years ago when it was designed.

A flash drive is a USB drive. Like any USB drive, you should be able to leave it connected.
Thanks Frank. The problem is Back in Time does no longer allow the destination drive to be FAT. So I have to go either NTFS or the exts. I've heard ext4 is a little unstable. (I was reading about 'super standard installation' and all that and got a little confused.) So I think ext3 will be the way to go. The way I see it I'll just have one ext3 usb drive permanently on the computer for backups.

Which leads to another question. Say I need to put a lot of that stuff from that ext3 usb drive onto a Windows computer. Do I just copy and paste stuff from the ext3 drive to a FAT32 usb drive?
 
Old 10-16-2015, 11:32 PM   #5
Gregg Bell
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2014
Location: Illinois
Distribution: Xubuntu
Posts: 1,929

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 172Reputation: 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
By the way, if you consider using partitions on it then consider making the first a windows readable format and whatever else second or later.

Exfat ought to work OK for both too.
Thanks jefro. People were talking about Windows recognizing the first partition on a multi-partitoned usb drive. So it's safe to make the first partition FAT and the other partitions ext3 or other Linux friendly formats and I'll be okay using the drive on Windows?
 
Old 10-16-2015, 11:38 PM   #6
yancek
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Apr 2008
Distribution: PCLinux, Slackware
Posts: 8,826

Rep: Reputation: 1842Reputation: 1842Reputation: 1842Reputation: 1842Reputation: 1842Reputation: 1842Reputation: 1842Reputation: 1842Reputation: 1842Reputation: 1842Reputation: 1842
If you are going to use the flash drive only with Linux, it would be better to use a native Linux filesystem.
If you are going to use it between windows and Linux, you need a windows filesystem such as FAT32 or ntfs as a default windows system is incapable of reading or writing to a Linux filesystem.

My experience with flash drives is that windows will only recognize the first partition on a flash drive. It does not matter if it is ntfs, FAT32 or anything else. This is windows 7 so I don't know if that has changed with 8 or 10.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 10-17-2015, 10:25 PM   #7
Gregg Bell
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2014
Location: Illinois
Distribution: Xubuntu
Posts: 1,929

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 172Reputation: 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by yancek View Post
If you are going to use the flash drive only with Linux, it would be better to use a native Linux filesystem.
If you are going to use it between windows and Linux, you need a windows filesystem such as FAT32 or ntfs as a default windows system is incapable of reading or writing to a Linux filesystem.

My experience with flash drives is that windows will only recognize the first partition on a flash drive. It does not matter if it is ntfs, FAT32 or anything else. This is windows 7 so I don't know if that has changed with 8 or 10.
Thanks yancek.
 
Old 10-17-2015, 10:39 PM   #8
jefro
Moderator
 
Registered: Mar 2008
Posts: 19,398

Rep: Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992Reputation: 2992
I would make windows native the first partition. There are some tricks that may work to make it read others.

I use ntfs for both and it works fine. Exfat works for newer distros. Some older ones won't work.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 10-18-2015, 12:07 AM   #9
sidzen
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2014
Location: GMT-7
Distribution: Slackware64, xenialpup64, Slacko5.7
Posts: 204

Rep: Reputation: 36
If your chosen software will not use FAT32, I suggest using ext2. Repeated reads/writes shorten the lifespans of USB sticks; journaling increases R/W frequency and affects lifespans of USBs and SSDs.

Alternative backup strategy to consider -- Clonezilla -- FAT32 can be used with it, no problem. Live version has ability to check file system for errors prior to use, as well.

As with everything Linux, it's users' choice. Do what you want.

Best wishes!
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 10-19-2015, 01:39 PM   #10
Gregg Bell
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2014
Location: Illinois
Distribution: Xubuntu
Posts: 1,929

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 172Reputation: 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post

I use ntfs for both and it works fine.
Thanks jefro. That's what I'm going to do. (I've been over-complicating this.)
 
Old 10-19-2015, 01:42 PM   #11
Gregg Bell
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2014
Location: Illinois
Distribution: Xubuntu
Posts: 1,929

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 172Reputation: 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by sidzen View Post
If your chosen software will not use FAT32, I suggest using ext2. Repeated reads/writes shorten the lifespans of USB sticks; journaling increases R/W frequency and affects lifespans of USBs and SSDs.

Alternative backup strategy to consider -- Clonezilla -- FAT32 can be used with it, no problem. Live version has ability to check file system for errors prior to use, as well.

As with everything Linux, it's users' choice. Do what you want.

Best wishes!
Thanks sidzen. Fist I've heard of Clonezilla. Only thing is it doesn't do incremental back-ups, so that would be kind of a hassle having the full backup every time, esp. if daily.
 
Old 10-19-2015, 02:00 PM   #12
273
LQ Addict
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64, Raspbian Wheezy, various VMs
Posts: 7,455

Rep: Reputation: 2302Reputation: 2302Reputation: 2302Reputation: 2302Reputation: 2302Reputation: 2302Reputation: 2302Reputation: 2302Reputation: 2302Reputation: 2302Reputation: 2302
I discounted FAT32 for backup a while ago due to the <3.8GB* limitation. I did try UFS but it seems it may be an afterthought so tend to use EXT4 for backups. The reason for UFS being it copes with files as large as currently needed and works for Windows and Linux, the reason for not using it being it didn't seem to be supported by default and I had some hiccups using it -- I never did give it a proper trial though.

Should have read <3.8GB limitation per file.

Last edited by 273; 10-20-2015 at 04:28 PM. Reason: Lack of proof reading.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 10-20-2015, 04:22 PM   #13
joe_2000
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jul 2012
Location: Aachen, Germany
Distribution: Void, Debian
Posts: 1,014

Rep: Reputation: 306Reputation: 306Reputation: 306Reputation: 306
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg Bell View Post
I've heard ext4 is a little unstable.
I don't think that that's true anymore. Actually, if my memory is not failing me, I read an article the other day that the ext3 code is completely removed from the kernel source code in the latest versions, and that even ext3 filesystems are now handled by the ext4 code.

As others have said, ntfs is a good choice if you need the data to be readable by windows.

If you are planning on backing up the data to the drive manually stop reading here to avoid unnecessary confusion.

If you are using the drive to backup data from a Linux filesystem (such as ext) and want to use incremental backup tools (such as rsync etc...) you might(!) have a slightly smoother experience with a drive formatted with the same filesystem as the source, i.e. probably ext4. I recall some situations where I had to wrestle with mount options as well as config flags for rsync to make it work properly.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 10-21-2015, 11:58 PM   #14
Gregg Bell
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2014
Location: Illinois
Distribution: Xubuntu
Posts: 1,929

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 172Reputation: 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_2000 View Post
I don't think that that's true anymore. Actually, if my memory is not failing me, I read an article the other day that the ext3 code is completely removed from the kernel source code in the latest versions, and that even ext3 filesystems are now handled by the ext4 code.

As others have said, ntfs is a good choice if you need the data to be readable by windows.

If you are planning on backing up the data to the drive manually stop reading here to avoid unnecessary confusion.

If you are using the drive to backup data from a Linux filesystem (such as ext) and want to use incremental backup tools (such as rsync etc...) you might(!) have a slightly smoother experience with a drive formatted with the same filesystem as the source, i.e. probably ext4. I recall some situations where I had to wrestle with mount options as well as config flags for rsync to make it work properly.
Thanks Joe. I'm using Back in Time and I formatted the usb drive (the destination) to NTFS. It's all working fine.
 
  


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
Formatting a usb flash drive (currently unformatted) anubis26 Linux - Hardware 4 06-16-2010 04:33 AM
[SOLVED] Which file sys structure is best re formatting an external USB flash drive JuliaHenson Linux - General 4 10-16-2009 05:08 PM
problem formatting usb flash drive shojaru Linux - Newbie 6 05-22-2009 01:27 AM
formatting a usb flash drive to fat32 Haiyadragon Linux - General 4 07-10-2005 08:45 PM
formatting a usb flash drive zatka Linux - Hardware 2 12-12-2004 09:04 AM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:39 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