Saturday, 14 April 2007

USB Hard Drive enclosure

I've got a couple of PATA harddrives from old computers lying around and recently I needed some extra disk space to shift some things around and for backup. So I bought a USB Hard Drive enclosure (NexStar 3).

Since I have a windows laptop and a Linux desktop, I really wanted to be able to use it with both, so, what disk format to use?

From what I've read, Linux access to NTFS is getting better, but still not 100%. On the other hand, with this nifty little program Ext2 IFS For Windows windows can mount EXT2 volumes. So, I've formatted it as EXT3 (backwards compatible with EXT2) and have successfully used it on both platforms.

I had one little confusing incident, where windows refused to recognise the disk and wanted to format it รข€“ but reading the FAQ for Ext2 IFS the author documents how (when using a journalled filesystem such as EXT) if anything is in the journal then windows won't mount the volume since it is mounting as EXT2 (unjournalled). In any case, to get things working again I just reattached it to the linux machine and shutdown cleanly.

Alternatives to the USB enclosure could be a Network Storage device or a hard disk caddy for the desktop. I wonder if anyone makes a USB hard disk caddy?


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