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how to change format?

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Network Storage Devices' started by yyyello, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. yyyello

    yyyello Network Guru Member

    Hi. I recently bought the Linksys NSLU2 and then also got 2 maxtor 300 Gig drives (part number A0456002) to go with it, mainly because the advertising for the Linksys NSLU2 says that it works great with the maxtor one touch drives.

    I have now decided I'd like to get a smaller hard drive for the Linksys NSLU2 and connect the 2 maxtor drives direct to my computer thru USB, mainly because the file transfer speed is so slow when going thru the NSLU2. ... also am a bit concerned that the data on the 300 Gig drives might somehow get corrupted in the future, as I recently heard about the NSLU2's 250 Gig limit, so not sure how the 250 Gig limit might affect data integrity on the 300 Gig drives.

    However, I can't find out how to change the format of the hard drives from the ext3 to the ntfs format. When I got the maxtor drives they were new and unformatted, and so the only formatting done to them was thru the Linksys NSLU2. Now windows XP does not see any drive when I connect it to my computer's USB port. I am hoping someone can point me in the direction of a program, information, method, or utility that would allow me to change the format of my USB drives, so I can use them with my computer without having to go thru the Linksys NSLU2.

    I read where it says you can't swap harddrives between the Linksys NSLU2 and windows, but I didn't think it meant the Linksys NSLU2 formatting process would forever prevent changing the format of a USB hard drive so it could never be used as a USB hard drive direct to a Windows computer. I am hoping that is not the case.

    Thanks very much for any advice! I have been looking around for a couple days but I can't figure it out. I also asked Linksys support twice, but their answer seems to be evasive, in that they give me some information but don't directly answer my formatting question.
  2. languy

    languy Network Guru Member

    You can format the drives to NTFS by connecting them to a Windows XP computer. But you need to copy the data from the drives first. The easiest (but also the slowest) way is to connect the drives to the NLSU and copy the data to a temporary drive connected to your computer. When you have saved all the data to this other disk you can delete the EXT3 partitions (that's the native format the NLSU is using) and reformat to NTFS.
    You can also try to install a EXT3 driver on your XP computer (for example: http://www.fs-driver.org/index.html) and read the data from the EXT3 formatted drives directly. Copying the data of the drives would probably be a lot faster, but I have never tried that driver.
  3. languy

    languy Network Guru Member

    You can't see the drive in explorer because it is formatted in EXT3 which isn't recognized by XP. You have to use diskmanagment to delete the EXT3 partitions and make new NTFS partitions.
    You have to logon with administrator rights in order to do that. Go to start, run and type 'compmgmt.msc'. Then select diskmanagment from the list on the left. You should see your connected Maxtor drive with unknown partitions. You should be able to delete them by clicking with the right mouse button and select delete partition (be sure you delete the right partitions!).
    After that you can make new NTFS partitions and format them.
  4. Mujja

    Mujja Network Guru Member


    Hope I'm not too late with my reply. You can connnect your drives to WinXP and copy the data off them before you format.

    Google for EXTIFS. Install this app and it will let you assign drive letters to the EXT3 partions on your disk.

    I'm using this right now with one of my external drives taken out of its USB enclosure and connected via IDE, works through USB too.

    I regulalry disconnect the EXT3 drives from the NLSU2 an connect to WinXP when I want to copy large amounts of data.
  5. yyyello

    yyyello Network Guru Member


    I didn't know about the existence of 'compmgmt.msc'. It worked great! Thanks for taking the time to help. I can now hook up the drives to my laptop by USB. :cheering:
  6. yyyello

    yyyello Network Guru Member

    Thanks for your reply Mujja. I didn't have to save any data off of the drives but you did supply some interesting info. :thumb:
  7. R8SS

    R8SS Network Guru Member

    On a related topic, I have read in some posts about using a single drive with mixed partitions - FAT, NTFS and EXT3. I am interested in doing this for the security offered by EXT3 but versatility of FAT for occasionaly connection to an old 98 PC.
    I am happy about formatting FAT and NTFS partitions on the same disc but could somone please help with how to go about also formatting an EXT3 partion on teh same disc.
  8. Mujja

    Mujja Network Guru Member

    Partition Magic will allow you create and EXT partition.
    A free alternative might be to download a Linux ISO, burn it to CD and then with your hard disk connected to your PC run the setup. The installation should detect all your disks and allow you to create a partition without destroying exisiting ones.

    I last installed Linux over 3-4 years ago and it did it then so I'm betting it will do that and more now :)
  9. R8SS

    R8SS Network Guru Member

    Thanks Mujja

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