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Reformatting External Hard Drives for Ubuntu

(5 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by Bob
  • Latest reply from jake
  • Topic Viewed 7434 times

Bob
Posts: 2

Okay, I feel like a total moron, because I should really know how to do this, but I don't. I've been using Ubuntu for ages, but recently switched from using it only on secondary machines to using it full time on my primary box. I've got two external USB hard-drives that used to be on my main Windows box, both formatted to NTFS, which Ubuntu finds and mounts without any problem. However, they mount read only.

I tried reading the ******* manual and searching for an answer, but nothing I found worked. I tried remounting R/W at the command line, I tried changing the mount settings in the properties, I tried downloading the special NTFS configuration tool, but none of it has worked. I'm rather fed up with NTFS, to be honest, so I'd like to move the files onto my main hard-drive, reformat the drives to something Ubuntu can read (and, if possible, Windows, though that's less important to me now), and then move my files back on them.

The problem I run into is that I don't know how to do it safely, or which format to choose. I've seen people recommending FAT32 as well as EXT3, but I have no idea which one to choose. I've also seen people recommending ways to format, but it's all of the "use this" variety that leaves out the "oh, and here's how you do that" part. I'm terrified I'm going to overwrite information that's really important for me to keep.

I'd be eternally grateful if someone could recommend which format to use, and then give step-by-step instructions for how to do the reformatting safely. Since HowtToGeek usually has such great tutorials, I thought I'd have a better chance getting something I can use here than in the Ubuntu forums. Please and thank you.

Posted 6 years ago
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supermansghost
supermansghost
Posts: 350

You can use the NTFS-3g driver to mount it as RW... there's a bunch of tutorials about that around, or you can use Automatix to handle it for you (although I've had sporadic luck with that)

The better option would be to copy your data off and use gparted to repartition the drive. You should use ext3 or reiserfs for the filesystem.

Gparted rules.

Posted 6 years ago
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Bob
Posts: 2

Thanks supermangsghost. The thing is, as I said before, I've already tried NTFS-3g, and it didn't work.

Copying and repartitioning is exactly what I want to do, which is why I said it's exactly what I want to do. The problem is, I need help figuring out HOW to do it, which is why I asked for step-by-step instructions. There are about 10,000 other sites that say "Use Gparted", the problem is, nobody ever says HOW to use it.

Posted 6 years ago
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supermansghost
supermansghost
Posts: 350

You should be able to just click on the partition in gparted and select delete, then select to create a new partition and format it as ext3.

Once you are done, just click the apply button.

Posted 6 years ago
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jake
jake
Posts: 11

@supermangsghost: Automatix appears to be a great tool from the outside, but it is simply not the best thing to use. It can break your system. I have used in the past personally and find it to be useful, but if you want a stable system you should avoid it.

http://pimpyourlinux.com/linux.....u-install/

Posted 6 years ago
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