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Author Topic: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB  (Read 1314 times)

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Offline paulus

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Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« on: February 16, 2018, 12:39:37 pm »
Hi all,


Recently I bought an USB-HD of 4 TB that I want to use as:


  • backup temporary files
  • (backup of) MEGA(sync)-drive
  • trying out several distro's (ongoing situation)
  • downloading large files, e.g. ISO's of distro's
  • place to keep VM's
  • files, e.g. ISO's of distro's
I heard something of primary partition, and extended partitions, and something about a maximum limit of 4 partitions, but i don't know if this is a Windows-only condition. In my case I want to make the USB-HD make to work with Linux only, so, if I am right, I only need the ext4 file format?


Of course, my main OS is my beloved Peppermint OS!


Who is willing me to guide me through the unknown? :-\


In advance: many thanks! :)


paulus

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2018, 12:48:11 pm »
This limitation only applies if the HDD is using an MSDOS style partition table .. it does NOT apply to drives using a GPT partition table.

The limitation is also that a drive with an MSDOS style partition table can only have 4 PRIMARY partitions .. but one of these primary partitions can be an extended partition, and an extended partition can contain MANY logical partitions.

So the limit isn't really that limiting.

How new is your system? .. and is it UEFI ?

Is this drive ever likely to be attached to an older non UEFI system, and you still expect to be able to boot any Linux distros on it ?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 12:49:59 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline paulus

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2018, 01:47:36 pm »
Hi PCNetSpec,


By my knowledge it is not UEFI; it starts from the BIOS (íf that makes sense at all :'( )!


It is a rather old computer: made for Windows 7.


So it will be always attached to non UEFI-systems.


Hope I provided you with enough information.

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2018, 01:59:54 pm »
If the drive is currently empty, now is the time to do some testing.

Try making the partition table GPT, create a partition, install Linux to it, and see if you can boot it.

If you can, stay with the GPT partition table as it has no limit to partitions .. if you can't, rwrite the partition table to MSDOS style .. have 3 PRIMARY partitions and one LARGE extended partition in which you'll be able to make loads of logical partitions for Linux distros.

Note - A 4TB drive is likely to already be using a GPT partition table out of the box (so won't have the 4 primary partition limit in the first place)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 02:02:54 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline paulus

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2018, 03:27:12 pm »
In GParted the drive has the flag msftdata.


Does that mean that the drive is using a GPT partition table?


EDIT: I just discovered that in GParted there is also an information part of the drive that indicates it is using the GPT partition table. :D


So I could start partitioning for the goals mentioned: do you have any suggestions how to do that? How many partitions? In which order? Should I pay attention to something special?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 03:33:27 pm by paulus »

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2018, 03:52:59 pm »
I can't choose a partitioning scheme for you, you have to decide that my mate.

Just create the partitions you KNOW you're going to want, leaving the rest unpartitioned, so you can add some later (or let Linux installes add them automatically) or have room to resize/expand the ones you just created in the future.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 03:59:30 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline paulus

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2018, 04:16:39 pm »
So I can just partition whatever I like; nothing to take into account?


If I am correct every Linux installation needs its own partition, right?


Thanks for answering!

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2018, 04:20:29 pm »
Yes every Linux install will require at least one partition of its own (usually 2) .. but there's no need to create them now, the installer(s) will allow you to do that as ppart of the install .. so just leave some unpartitioned space for now.
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Offline paulus

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2018, 04:33:59 pm »
Thank you, PCNetSpec!


I didn't expect it to be so easy! Great that you shared some advice!


I discovered the filesystem is ntfs, so I guess I have to reformat the whole drive to ext4, right? That is necessary to do before partitioning, right?

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2018, 06:10:03 pm »
No not necessarily, it depends what you want to do with the partitions .. NTFS will be fine for storage partitions, and accessible from both Linux and Windows.
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Offline paulus

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2018, 12:49:29 pm »
I tried to install my first Linux distro, and put the grub loader on my hda, so my first drive on my computer, and not on the USB-drive, but that made my computer start with a grub loader error. Several times I had to repair my grub2 loader with grub-repair, until it was restored. But the wrongly added entry is still in my grub list.
  • Is it correct that the boot loader has to be installed on the USB-drive, and not on the hda?
  • How could I remove the wrong entry in my grub list?
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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2018, 12:52:47 pm »
Depends, do you expect distros on the external USB drive to be bootable on another PC ?
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Offline paulus

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2018, 01:00:12 pm »
That is what I already thought: I planned not to remove the USB-drive, so I installed to my hda. But this did not work, as I already wrote.


So there is another cause for this malfunctioning?

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2018, 01:30:59 pm »
If the USB drive is to stay connected to one PC (ie. you don't expect distros installed to it to be bootable on another PC), then when asked where to install GRUB, you should say to the root partition where the distro is to be installed.

Then boot to the distro on your primary drive and run:
Code: [Select]
sudo update-grub
which should then detect the the distro you just added to the external drive and add it to it's GRUB menu.
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Offline paulus

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Re: Best way to partition USB-HD of 4 TB
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2018, 03:09:59 pm »
Unfortunately it did not work. It says something like: drive does not exist. A second grub menu hides behind the menu item, but again: drive does not exist.


I think the grub loader has to be rebuild. How to do that?