Format UBS drive to be linux/windows compatible?

Hi all. I bought a new external usb hard drive, which should mainly serve for storing backups made via systemimager. Drive is formated FAT as default and I can use it so in windows as in suse, however there is a catch with the backup I try to copy on it :slight_smile: Simplified speaking the backup is the exact copy of the entire suse system, and when I try to copy it to the usb drive, it breaks, saying that it can copy file xxx to the drive. I know there are limitations like the lenght of file/folder names, depth of the folder tree and so on, so thats most probably why I can’t copy it to the FAT usb drive. So my question is: is there a way, a filesystem type, that would accept my EXT3 backup and would still be usable under windows. Thanks for help.

FAT cannot handle Linux permissions. So you can copy files but not images. If you want to copy Linux images complete with file permissions, you need to use ext2 and install ext2 for Windows, available from Ext2 IFS For Windows

Actually I would reformat the drive to NTFS, as both linux and windows can use it with relitive ease.

thanks guys, I’ll give ntfs a try, If it wont work out well, I’ll stick to ext3 :slight_smile:

On 2009-11-08, arcull <arcull@no-mx.forums.opensuse.org> wrote:

> Hi all. I bought a new external usb hard drive, which should mainly
> serve for storing backups made via systemimager. Drive is formated FAT
> as default and I can use it so in windows as in suse, however there is a
> catch with the backup I try to copy on it :slight_smile: Simplified speaking the
> backup is the exact copy of the entire suse system, and when I try to
> copy it to the usb drive, it breaks, saying that it can copy file xxx to
> the drive. I know there are limitations like the lenght of file/folder
> names, depth of the folder tree and so on, so thats most probably why I
> can’t copy it to the FAT usb drive. So my question is: is there a way, a
> filesystem type, that would accept my EXT3 backup and would still be
> usable under windows. Thanks for help.

If you want to use it under Windows, you need FAT or NTFS. Both have
limitations: some in the names, some in the size, some with owernership and
permissions. It’s possible to use ext2 in Windows, but you need to install
software for it. You can’t ask your friends to install that soft on their
machine, just so you can bring an ext2 drive.

So what can you do? I thinks at least the following:

  1. Change backup.
    Use a backup based on an archiver/packager (ex: tar) to wrap up your data
    and put it in a few big chunks (say 1 or 2 GB) with simple, clean names on
    your USB drive. If it wasn’t for ownership/permissions I would use rar.

  2. Partition your drive.

Set aside a sufficiant size for you backups. Format that in ext3 and run
your current backup on it. Format the other in FAT or NTFS (I advice FAT) to
share random data. I would put the FAT partition first, BTW.

  1. Buy another drive.
    Seriously. They’re not that expensive anymore. And do you really want to
    carry your backups with you, anytime you take your drive to exchange some
    files with a friend ?

  2. Forget about it.
    You could add another hard drive INSIDE your machine. Make you backups on
    that drive. Somewhat less secure, in case you computer explodes, of
    course…
    But your backups run much faster, the drive is dirt cheap and you can have a
    REAL backup. One your cron starts for you, so you won’t forget. USB drive
    have to be connected and switched on. :slight_smile:

Have fun, hurry up and make a backup while you think it over, and let us
know what you decided!

–
Any time things appear to be going better, you have overlooked
something.

Thanks Rikishi42 for an exhaustive reply :slight_smile: I have already thought of packing the backup in a kind of archive. But in times I was still using windows, I’ve seen so many cases when the rar, zip archives got corrupted (CRC errors,…) that I am a bit frightened about using them as backup :slight_smile: Yes I know, archive shouldn’t corrupt it self on its own, and to be honest I don’t know what caused the corruption. However I haven’t used tar in that times for sure :)…also the majority of software packages are packed this way, so maybe this would be the way to go. What about iso,is it capable to handle ownerships, premisssion, 0 size files,… Thanks again for your help.

Just me, but do you really need to back-up your entire installed OS? You can get the greatest level of backup by backing up the /etc folder and it’s siblings, the /home and it’s siblings, and the /root and it’s siblings, and finally any special case date area’s such as shared Windows/Linux data partitions. Copying /boot, /bin, /sbin, /proc, /lib … can be best restored if needed from original install disks and repo’s. IMHO

Just me, but do you really need to back-up your entire installed OS
maybe I don’t, but I found it as best/safest backup solution yet, check Main Page - SystemImager

Deploy/Rollback is a different story. As an electronics engineer I would prefer to have seen it actually stated that systemimager works with USB 2.0 External Harddisks in a manor which you were talking (Linux/Windows compatible). From what I could see it either does an iso image or bittorent file transfer to a lvm or raid volume.
Do you have experience doing it the way you say you are looking to do it and just need to resolve being able to share the external between OS’s?

On 2009-11-09, arcull <arcull@no-mx.forums.opensuse.org> wrote:
>
> Thanks Rikishi42 for an exhaustive reply :slight_smile: I have already thought of
> packing the backup in a kind of archive. But in times I was still using
> windows, I’ve seen so many cases when the rar, zip archives got
> corrupted (CRC errors,…) that I am a bit frightened about using them
> as backup :slight_smile: Yes I know, archive shouldn’t corrupt it self on its own,
> and to be honest I don’t know what caused the corruption. However I
> haven’t used tar in that times for sure :)…also the majority of
> software packages are packed this way, so maybe this would be the way to
> go. What about iso,is it capable to handle ownerships, premisssion, 0
> size files,… Thanks again for your help.

I wouldn’t use an ISO, except for a complete system backup.
Makes for good restores.

But for constantly changing data, ISO has the advantage of allways taking
everything. No incremental/modified backups…

–
Any time things appear to be going better, you have overlooked
something.

On 2009-11-09, Rikishi42 <skunkworks@rikishi42.net> wrote:
> On 2009-11-09, arcull <arcull@no-mx.forums.opensuse.org> wrote:
>>
>> Thanks Rikishi42 for an exhaustive reply :slight_smile: I have already thought of
>> packing the backup in a kind of archive. But in times I was still using
>> windows, I’ve seen so many cases when the rar, zip archives got
>> corrupted (CRC errors,…) that I am a bit frightened about using them
>> as backup :slight_smile: Yes I know, archive shouldn’t corrupt it self on its own,
>> and to be honest I don’t know what caused the corruption. However I
>> haven’t used tar in that times for sure :)…also the majority of
>> software packages are packed this way, so maybe this would be the way to
>> go. What about iso,is it capable to handle ownerships, premisssion, 0
>> size files,… Thanks again for your help.
>
> I wouldn’t use an ISO, except for a complete system backup.
> Makes for good restores.
>
> But for constantly changing data, ISO has the advantage of allways taking
> everything. No incremental/modified backups…

That should be DISadvantage, of course.

–
Any time things appear to be going better, you have overlooked
something.

Deploy/Rollback is a different story. As an electronics engineer I would prefer to have seen it actually stated that systemimager works with USB 2.0 External Harddisks in a manor which you were talking (Linux/Windows compatible). From what I could see it either does an iso image or bittorent file transfer to a lvm or raid volume.
Do you have experience doing it the way you say you are looking to do it and just need to resolve being able to share the external between OS’s?
No I don’t have much experience doing backups. But till now I haven’t found a better backup solution in linux. Since I’ve learned some linux, I don’t like windows anymore ;), however there was a nice utility in xp to restore to a certain point back in time, I did use it twice and worked ok in my cases. Honestly I’m missing something similar on linux systems (suse, ubuntu). The suse backup/restore utility in yast just doesn’t suite my needs. I had a few cases when I had messed up with software packages so much, that I couldn’t bring system to it’s original state. I know this is the process of learning :),… therefore I came up with idea to have a complete image of the installed system, so that if I break something, I’ll always be able to restore the system to previous state. As much as I read/know (let others correct me) systemimager doesn’t make the backup in iso format, instead it makes the exaxt copy of the entire system tree from / (root) on, and puts them in /var/lib/systemimager/yourfolder location. The iso you’re refering to, is the image you can make, to burn a recovery cd, but which doesn’t contain the backup data, it is merely used to be able to boot your corrupted system and tell it when to get and install backup from via network. It is a client-server based program, pls read manual for more info. Why I can’t store the backup directly to my usb hard drive insted to /var/lib/systemimager/yourfolder is because the the dirve is default fat formated.

So my idea now is to archive the backup folder to iso and then copy this file to my usb fat formated disk. I tried to make a tar, but it is still didn’t let me copy it to usb drive. So I’ll try iso now, and will see how it works out.

Good thinking but with a big problem! Fat32 can have a maximum file size of 4GB, NTFS is supposed to be unlimited except under tests, NTFS will fail if the file size exactly rests on a 32GB boundary. ext2, ext3, ext4 (Linux partitions) have no problems regardless of file sizes. If you are not so concerned about viewing the files under windows, but would still like storage for windows, I would repartition the external as 32GB windows and the rest as ext3 or ext4. store your backups to the Linux ext4 partition and your windows stuff to the fat32 32GB partition. :\

Fat32 can have a maximum file size of 4GB
yeah it’s true I completly forgot that :(, thats why my tar file cca 9GB stoped in the middle of copying ;), the idea of splitting usb drive in 2 partition is a nice one, although I’ve never done that before on usb drive, I’ll give it try and report back. Thanks for the hint

Linux and/or windows can repartition a usb harddisk just as easily as any other hdd. I told my friend 3000 miles away how to do it and she barely can run a PC.:\

This thing took me some time to set up and test a little. My final solution is to format half of the usb hard drive with ext3 and the other half with fat via yast. Everybody is happy with my drive now, windows and linux :slight_smile: Thanks again for your support.