Which file system for storage hard drive?

Hey all,
I splashed out on a 320GB (internal IDE) hard drive at the weekend.

I mostly use Ubuntu, but I also have XP, which I have to use from time to time.

I made a 200GB partition and formatted it as NTFS (the other 100GB is still unformatted). I’ve purposely avoided formatting anything as NTFS on my computer in the past, so that it would be easy for Linux to read it, but then again I’ve never had a drive larger than 80GB before.

Ubuntu is having a really hard time reading that NTFS partition. It works, but it’s incredibly slow if I open my photos folder (for example). I’m not sure if the problem is the file system, the size of the partition, or a combination of both.

So I’m thinking of dividing the hard drive up a bit, say into 4 partitions, and formatting each as FAT32.

Any better suggestions before I do that?

Thanks.
Stu

Just a warning: FAT32 is less robust than NTFS. I’ve noticed NTFS handles crashes more gracefully and with less lossage.

I moved to NTFS for my Windows stuff last year since Linux can read and write it fine. (Probably has been for quite a while but I did not want to mess with my previous FAT installations.) Unfortunately, I have not experienced the performance problem you describe.

[quote=“lemur”][quote=“irishstu”]
Any better suggestions before I do that?
[/quote]

Just a warning: FAT32 is less robust than NTFS. I’ve noticed NTFS handles crashes more gracefully and with less lossage.

I moved to NTFS for my Windows stuff last year since Linux can read and write it fine. (Probably has been for quite a while but I did not want to mess with my previous FAT installations.) Unfortunately, I have not experienced the performance problem you describe.[/quote]

Yeah, you know that’s why I decided to go with NTFS this time, since Linux has come a long way with it. But like I said, the read times are incredibly slow. I’ve never had problems with FAT32, so I may well go back to it. My previous 80GB storage drive was a single partition in FAT32 and it was (and still is) super fast with Linux.

Could it be because it’s a 200GB partition?

I would be inclined to say “probably not” but I’ve never had a 200GB NTFS partition. I’ve had partitions bigger than that but all ext3.

You’ve eliminated the possibility that it is the drive itself which is the problem? Or a bad interaction between the drive and Ubuntu? (I’m talking about problems below the fs layer.)

Anything strange in /var/log/syslog?

I would be inclined to say “probably not” but I’ve never had a 200GB NTFS partition. I’ve had partitions bigger than that but all ext3.

You’ve eliminated the possibility that it is the drive itself which is the problem? Or a bad interaction between the drive and Ubuntu? (I’m talking about problems below the fs layer.)

Anything strange in /var/log/syslog?[/quote]

Yeah, you could be right about that. It’s a brand new drive (not that that’s saying anything), so I can’t compare it with how it used to work. It works great from Windows though, so I think it’s hooked up OK and physically healthy. Could be an issue with its interaction with Ubuntu I suppose. I guess if I reformat it to FAT32 and it’s still slow, I’ll have my answer. Haven’t looked in syslog yet (not that I’d know what to look for).

It’s one of those things which are described as “I recognize it when I see it”. :wink: If you know the device name of your drive under Linux, then you can search for it in the syslog and see whether you get repeated messages about the device being reset by the kernel. That would be an indication that there is a hardware problem or that Linux is somehow mishandling your drive.

It is hard to be more precise without getting into long explanations. It is also impossible to cover all cases. I think a better use of your time is, as you suggested, to check what happens if you use FAT32 on that drive and access it from Linux.

You can format the whole thing as one big fat32 partition with this.

Thanks for the link, KingZog. I already have good partitioning software, so that’s not a problem, but I always like having more than one option, and besides, this could be a good option for anyone else that has a similar problem.

“photo folder” ? Windows is more better suited for looking at porn. Linux is for boring serious stuff like running a porn server.

What’s porn?

How about pron, then? Rings any bells?

Edit: I can’t type anymore!

What’s porn?[/quote]

That’s the stuff you can’t access anymore since your company decided to block such content.

What’s porn?[/quote]Pictures of guitars, Stu. With G-strings.

File systems are something I know much about, so let me weigh in…

NTFS is a fine file system for Windows. It will probably never work well for Linux because Microsoft keeps all details of it secret. Hackers have spent years trying to unravel NTFS’s secrets. It’s only been recently that they were even able to get Linux to write to it (in the past, most Linux distros mounted NTFS partions as read-only). In other words, NTFS on Linux is still a kludge - it’s slow, unstable, and will probably continue to be so for quite some time.

Windows only supports two file systems - NTFS and FAT32. Windows will not read a partition formatted by one of the several other file systems that Linux supports (ie ext2, ext3, Reiser, XFS, JFS). Linux can read and write to NTFS and FAT32. Microsoft likes to pretend that Linux doesn’t exist.

You could install both Windows and Linux on FAT32 partitions, but this is a VERY BAD IDEA. Doing so would blow a gigantic hole in your security. FAT32 lacks any security features, which is one of the reasons why Windows 98 was a malignant tumour when it came to viruses. FAT32 does not support ownership permissions, so any system file is left wide open to viruses and spyware. If you use FAT32, there is no point in having a Windows administrator or Linux root account - every file can be read or written to by anybody, including a virus. Passwords would protect you from nothing.

The only use that FAT32 would possibly have on a modern computer is if you want to use it as an intermediary partition, which can be written to by both Windows and Linux. But it is not really necessary, and I’d advise against it. The main use for FAT32 these days in on USB memory sticks or SD cards. If you have an external hard drive that you use for backup, you might want to format it in FAT32 so that it can be read/written to by both Windows and Linux (but I keep mine formatted with ext2, since I don’t use Windows at all).

My suggestion - format your Windows partition with NTFS, and Linux partitions with ext3. For an external hard drive that you don’t need to access with Windows, ext2 is recommended. The difference between ext2 and ext3 is that ext3 keeps a journal that helps in data recovery in the event of a crash, but that’s not an issue on an external hard drive (and reading/writing the journal slows performance).

In the near future, we should be seeing ext4, but it’s not yet ready for prime time.

best regards,
DB

It does not correspond to my experience of reading and writing NTFS partitions in Linux. I’ve not noticed any problems with performance or stability.

Factually incorrect. Windows also supports FAT12 and FAT16, just to name two obvious ones. It also supports ext2 and ext3 when the proper drivers are installed. True, the ext3 drivers are not bundled with the OS itself but pragmatically when people say “Windows supports X” that does not preclude support being provided by drivers from 3rd parties.

Please explain how external hard drives are immune from crashes.

Looks like I may be a little out-of-date since I haven’t touched Windows (from Linux) in a few years. I found this:

linux-ntfs.org/doku.php

Seems that they’ve made some progress! Last time I looked, there were warnings about writing to NTFS from Linux.

I tip my hat to the programmers who have gotten this far despite all the resistance from Microsoft. However, a BIG WARNING - Microsoft can (and will) make esoteric changes to future versions of NTFS. I’m not sure that NTFS in Windows Vista is the same as in XP for Win2000. I’d be wary of using Linux to write on a Windows Vista NTFS partition, and even more wary with Windows 7.
[/quote]

OK, but you’re stretching the argument. Nobody has used FAT12 since ancient times - it was designed for 5" floppy disks. FAT16 died with MS-DOS. We might as well be discussing CPM (from Apple II days).

You’ve got a point with third party drivers, but those are not supported by Microsoft, which was my point - Microsoft likes to pretend that Linux doesn’t exist. By the way, my understanding is that the third party driver for Windows is for ext2, not ext3 - it will read ext3, but will not access the journal:

en.kioskea.net/telecharger/telec … ile-system

External hard drives are not immune from crashes, but ext3 will slow you down a lot on an external drive (which is slow to begin with) and I wouldn’t want to cripple it further with a journal. Also, if you do crash, on rebooting the journal on the external drive won’t be read, though you can check/repair the drive manually with the command e2fsck (note: the drive that you’re checking/repairing must be unmounted when you run this command). See “man e2fsck” for details.

best regards, and happy computing,
DB

Hey DB, what does “Murders your wife” mean?

Comparison of file systems on wikipedia

[quote=“KingZog”]Hey DB, what does “Murders your wife” mean?

Comparison of file systems on wikipedia[/quote]

The creator of ReiserFS was found guilty of murdering his wife. Google for Reiser and murder. That table column is in poor taste.

[quote=“lemur”][quote=“KingZog”]Hey DB, what does “Murders your wife” mean?

Comparison of file systems on wikipedia[/quote]

The creator of ReiserFS was found guilty of murdering his wife. Google for Reiser and murder. That table column is in poor taste.[/quote]

Which I guess is why that’s an old version of the Wiki page and it has since been updated.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison … s#Features

[quote=“irishstu”]
Which I guess is why that’s an old version of the Wiki page and it has since been updated.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison … s#Features[/quote]

Oh! Yes. I did not pay attention to the part of the URL selecting an older version. :doh: