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#1 2021-01-29 19:10:52

trilobite
Member
From: Saskatchewan, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-27
Posts: 81

External USB drive - recommended to format it to what file system?

I got given - as in free - three 300GB external drives which a business had used for back-ups.  People give me stuff versus recycling.  It appears they're encrypted with some program with an ntfs partition on them. I did promise to "wipe" the drives clean, and I want to always keep my promises. I may turn them into back-up drives myself, or if other hardware comes my way, make them into bootable USBs. Not sure yet.  At the playing stage.

Noting that I have no need to ever read them from Windows.  Which of the Linux file systems is the one to choose.  Probably doesn't actually matter, but as noted: I'm playing. Nothing like free stuff. Any ideas?

Last edited by trilobite (2021-01-29 19:19:36)


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#2 2021-01-29 19:52:01

phuturism
Member
From: Melbourne
Registered: 2016-07-15
Posts: 168

Re: External USB drive - recommended to format it to what file system?

I'm assuming these are electromagnetic SATA type drives given the capacity, would be nice if they were SSD though.

I was looking into this topic recently as I have a SD card slot on my thinkpad and my internal ssd drive is only 128GB so threw a 260GB microSD in.  Turns out for that microSD exfat was the best choice even on a linux machine - better write times than ext3, and ext4 is not good for SD cards as it's a journalling system, so lots of rewrites.   SD cards are great for storage, not so great for frequent file rewrites and deletions apparently.

Ended up following this guide to get the right windows style partition tables/formatting/block size etc.    https://matthew.komputerwiz.net/2015/12 … drive.html

Anyhoo if your disks are SATA, I'd go with ext4 as a journalling file system as you don't need them accessible to windows.   

Others may have more informed opinions about other file systems :-)

Last edited by phuturism (2021-01-29 19:53:49)

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#3 2021-01-29 19:53:22

twoion
ほやほや
Registered: 2015-08-10
Posts: 3,173

Re: External USB drive - recommended to format it to what file system?

For simple backup drives I'd recommend XFS v5 (with checksumming enabled, see https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/XFS#Checksumming).

If you wish to encrypt the drives, I'd recommend XFSv5 on a LUKS2 cryptodisk.

If you wish to have multiple partitions, I'd recommend using LVM with logical volumes to absolve yourself from messing with physical disk partitions.

Personally, I use luks + lvm + xfs on all my separate external disks because I prefer encryption.

Using LVM has a serious advantage when you decommission a disk and want to move all data to a new disk: you just plug both disks in, create both of them as LVM physical volumes, and then use pvmove to move the data to the new disk's volume. On-line, without unmounting anything smile (I use this strategy to migrate my main Linux install to new computers.)


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#4 2021-01-29 23:49:10

hhh
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Registered: 2015-09-17
Posts: 11,652
Website

Re: External USB drive - recommended to format it to what file system?

twoion wrote:

Personally, I use luks + lvm + xfs on all my separate external disks because I prefer encryption.

Using LVM has a serious advantage when you decommission a disk and want to move all data to a new disk: you just plug both disks in, create both of them as LVM physical volumes, and then use pvmove to move the data to the new disk's volume. On-line, without unmounting anything smile (I use this strategy to migrate my main Linux install to new computers.)

Bookmarked.

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#5 2021-01-30 00:38:14

DeepDayze
Like sands through an hourglass...
From: In Linux Land
Registered: 2017-05-28
Posts: 1,215

Re: External USB drive - recommended to format it to what file system?

twoion wrote:

For simple backup drives I'd recommend XFS v5 (with checksumming enabled, see https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/XFS#Checksumming).

If you wish to encrypt the drives, I'd recommend XFSv5 on a LUKS2 cryptodisk.

If you wish to have multiple partitions, I'd recommend using LVM with logical volumes to absolve yourself from messing with physical disk partitions.

Personally, I use luks + lvm + xfs on all my separate external disks because I prefer encryption.

Using LVM has a serious advantage when you decommission a disk and want to move all data to a new disk: you just plug both disks in, create both of them as LVM physical volumes, and then use pvmove to move the data to the new disk's volume. On-line, without unmounting anything smile (I use this strategy to migrate my main Linux install to new computers.)

Now that's a great topic for a thread right there and a how-to!


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#6 2021-01-30 17:51:57

trilobite
Member
From: Saskatchewan, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-27
Posts: 81

Re: External USB drive - recommended to format it to what file system?

Thank-you very much @twoion and @phuturism!


{Linux-using people I haven't met are friends yet to be made.}

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#7 2021-01-30 21:06:22

phuturism
Member
From: Melbourne
Registered: 2016-07-15
Posts: 168

Re: External USB drive - recommended to format it to what file system?

trilobite wrote:

Thank-you very much @twoion and @phuturism!


No problem, I  think twoion had the better answer :-)

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#8 2021-01-31 01:28:12

johnraff
nullglob
From: Nagoya, Japan
Registered: 2015-09-09
Posts: 7,909
Website

Re: External USB drive - recommended to format it to what file system?

twoion wrote:

Using LVM has a serious advantage when you decommission a disk and want to move all data to a new disk: you just plug both disks in, create both of them as LVM physical volumes, and then use pvmove to move the data to the new disk's volume.

Thanks! This is a task that surely everyone has from time to time. I had no idea it could be so easy. smile (Last time, I think I used fsarchiver.)

A simple how-to would be nice to have, though, especially for the situation of moving the current operating system from a failing drive to a new one...


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