How to get NSLU2 to format a flash disk to ext3?

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Network Storage Devices' started by Goanna, Feb 11, 2007.

  1. Goanna

    Goanna LI Guru Member

    I am trying to use an existing hard disk that is 250gb in size that already has plenty of data on it with my NSLU2. It's formatted in NTFS.

    I don't have an additional hard disk large enough to use as a backup, so I cannot convert this drive to ext3 right now. I do however have a few usb thumb drives as well as an 8gb flash hard drive, which I would be willing to sacrifice so that I can properly setup the NSLU2 (since it wont let me do anything without a ext3 partition somewhere). But, it wont let me format a flash drive, says I need to use a hard disk drive!

    Now, in the instructions I got for Unslung firmware, it says you should be able to format a thumb drive or flash hard disk using the NSLU2 web interface, so what gives? Is it the new firmware version that's keeping me from doing this (firmware 2.3R73)?
  2. d__l

    d__l Network Guru Member

    All versions of the Linksys firmware treat any less than 10 GB drive as a USB flash drive and do not permit formatting of drives that small. Unslung has lowered that size limit some and there are special ways to format even smaller drives with Unslung.
  3. Goanna

    Goanna LI Guru Member

    Well, I actually wound up moving every file from my external hard drive to 3 different computers that had limited space available. I finally emptied the drive and used the NSLU2 to format it.

    I then wanted to use PartitionMagic to add another large NTFS partition onto the drive instead of having most of it as ext3, but it fails to do so since the NSLU2 doesnt follow a standard ext2/3 file system.

    I was thinking maybe I could try using a linux box to partition it without getting errors. I'll have to start familiarizing myself with linux again, lol.

    I just hope if it comes to it, I am able to format the whole drive back to NTFS if I ever want to use it just for PC transfer again. I really wish the NSLU2 could write it's data to NTFS. The big NTFS/FAT supported label on the box is kind of misleading, since you still need at least one ext3 drive to use the thing properly :(.
  4. d__l

    d__l Network Guru Member

    It has been a while but I tried something like that when I was experimenting with the NSLU2. If I remember right, I used Paragon Partition Manager 7.0 to partition a limited space (a little over 10GB) out of a 40 GB drive. The rest was unpartitioned. Then I had the NSLU2 format that limited space. It didn't touch the rest of the drive.

    I suppose that I could have then partioned the rest of the drive as NTFS and then used it with the NSLU2, but I don't know for sure. You might give something like that a try.
  5. Goanna

    Goanna LI Guru Member

    I'll take a look at that program, since Partition Magic isnt working right. Thanks!
  6. d__l

    d__l Network Guru Member

    I then "shrunk" that formatted ext3 partition down to under 512 MB. That shrunken ext3 partition worked fine on the NSLU2. Then I tried to do a byte for byte copy/duplication to a 512 MB USB flash drive. The transfer went ok according to Partition Manager, but the NSLU2 wouldn't recognize it as an ext3 drive. LOL! So I gave up. :)
  7. Goanna

    Goanna LI Guru Member

    Haha, well if I can shring the ext3 partition down to 512 or even a gig I would be more then happy. Id have over 230GB of space as an NTFS partition.

    Now, if I put the NTFS partition after the ext3 partitions, will the drive still be recognized by windows machines, or would the NTFS partitions have to be the first one (and then I'd worry that the NSLU2 wouldnt recognize it, lol).
  8. d__l

    d__l Network Guru Member

    If you shrink the ext3 portion on the drive, I can't guarantee that it will work perfectly on the NSLU2. I just ran a few quick transfers to it/from it and the shrunken ext3 partition seemed to work ok for that. This wasn't extensive or thorough testing.

    If you shrink the ext3 portion of the drive, there are actually three files or linux "sub-partitions" on it. You only want to shrink the data partition. Read about it here:

    Once you try to put an NTFS partition on the drive, you are on your own out on the bleeding edge. :) Good luck. Let us know how it works out for you.
  9. Goanna

    Goanna LI Guru Member

    Well, I just tried it. I shrunk the main ext3 partition down to 2gb, and I left the other 2 ext3 partitions alone. I made one large NTFS partition inbetween the main ext3 and the 2 other ext3 partitions. At first, it didnt even detect a change, so I hooked the drive back up to my PC and used windows disk manager to activate the NTFS partition. Then when I hooked it back up to the NSLU2, it came up as just an NTFS drive again, and I had to re-format again with the NSLU2.

    Next, I'll try putting the NTFS partition behind all the others. If that doesnt work, then I am going to just reformat this whole drive in NTFS and I am going to use a small 40gb hard drive as the main ext3 drive (I just upgraded my laptop hard drive, and I have a 2.5" external HD enclosure, so now I can play around with this a bit more).
  10. d__l

    d__l Network Guru Member

    LOL! An external 2.5" HD after upgrading my notebook is exactly what I had when I was doing my experimenting.

    I've read that the NSLU2 reports multiple partions on a HD. I don't remember anyone reporting much about using multiple partions though. Their use is undocumented and so they may not be reliable. There might also be a restriction that only partitions of one type can be on a drive. I dunno.

    USB hubs also work on port 1 with multiple FAT32/NTFS drives:
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