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format external hard drive to ext4


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namenotfound's Avatar
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01-Mar-2009, 09:02 PM #1
format external hard drive to ext4
I have Ubuntu 8.10 with ext3 filesystem, and I have two questions.

1, Is it possible to format an external hard drive to ext4, considering my operating system doesn't use ext4.

2, If I do format my external hard drive to ext4, will I be able to read/write with it on my ext3 system?


OR am I just better off formatting the external hard drive to ext3?
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01-Mar-2009, 09:44 PM #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by namenotfound View Post
I have Ubuntu 8.10 with ext3 filesystem, and I have two questions.

1, Is it possible to format an external hard drive to ext4, considering my operating system doesn't use ext4.

2, If I do format my external hard drive to ext4, will I be able to read/write with it on my ext3 system?


OR am I just better off formatting the external hard drive to ext3?
This is Linux.

You can format it however you like.


FWIW majority of my music is on NTFS partition (ripped before I started using Linux).

I mount it from my ext3 formatted PCLOS install and play using Amarok.
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04-Mar-2009, 04:03 PM #3
Yeah, it really doesn't matter which you choose if it's just for storage.
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04-Mar-2009, 04:15 PM #4
Are you guys sure about this? I'm no Linux expert by any means, but does Ubuntu contain file-system drivers for Ext4? If not, I don't see how the drive would be accessible to Ubuntu.

Ubuntu 9.04 and above has Ext4fs support, but I wouldn't expect any access from versions below that unless drivers were installed manually.
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04-Mar-2009, 04:18 PM #5
Yes, they are native to most modern linux distros.
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04-Mar-2009, 04:37 PM #6
So you agree that Ubuntu before 9.04 will not be able to access the drive?
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04-Mar-2009, 04:49 PM #7
What I'm saying is that they are native on most modern distros. While he may not have the driver on his 8.1 that does not mean that the ext4 wont have backwards compatibility on its end. If you think about it, it really does leave room for success. But I'm not absolutely sure until I try it myself.
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04-Mar-2009, 04:53 PM #8
Actually I just looked at the specs and it is 100% backwards compatible
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04-Mar-2009, 05:05 PM #9
OK. I'm not trying to start an argument, but I hope this discussion will be useful to the OP. He'll know, too, when he tries it.
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04-Mar-2009, 05:21 PM #10
We're just talking, one professional to another. I respect your seniority, and I meant no disrespect. I was just trying to answer the question to the best of my knowledge. I hope he finds this information useful as well.
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04-Mar-2009, 05:27 PM #11
As I said, I'm no Linux expert (and I don't even like saying "Linux" as if it were an operating system instead of a kernel around which many OS's are built). But I do know that file systems need drivers. So I'm still wondering. If Ext4fs is accessible, then an Ext3fs driver must be able to do it.

I appreciate your professionalism.
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04-Mar-2009, 05:37 PM #12
Np, I think (and this is just atkail's theory) that each retains compatibility of the previous version. Sort of a backwards key effect.
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04-Mar-2009, 05:42 PM #13
Yes, I agree and understand that part. But I'm just a bit unsure of what the definition of "backward-compatible" would be in this case. Does it mean that machines that can access Ext3 can automatically access Ext4? Or does it mean that all functions of Ext3 are retained in Ext4, that Ext4 can be used in place of Ext3, and so on, but only if the OS supports Ext4?

I'll be curious to see what happens when our OP tries this, or to hear from someone else who did.

It may be something like the newst versions of UDF for CD's. Though the files are located inside a UDF file format, there is extra data written to the CD so that machines with no UDF drivers can access the CD "as if" it were the standard ISO format. To an OS with no UDF drivers, the CD appears to be in ISO format but really isn't. It could be similar. That when the drive is accessed from an older version of "Linux", it "sees" the drive as Ext3.
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04-Mar-2009, 05:48 PM #14
I'm hoping it would that it means machines that use ext3 could automatically use ext4. At least that's what the man pages are leading me to believe.

I know what you mean, my ears are perked a little bit too.
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04-Mar-2009, 06:18 PM #15
LOL. Well, he does come back eventually, and now can't say that no one paid any attention. There's plenty to read. And all we really came up with is, "Try it and see, but it will probably work.:
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