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How long does it usually take to format a 2TB external HD using ext4 and gparted?

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ext4 can be formatted in a defered way, where most of formatting commences in background while the filesystem can already be used after a very short initalization period. Using mkfs.ext4, the option would be -E lazy_itable_init=1, and this even is a default setting it seems. I don't know how to make gparted using this option, but maybe it is possible. Using this feature, a 2GB partition gets available after about one minute. – dronus Mar 3 '14 at 15:07
up vote 3 down vote accepted

It depends. Are you just formatting, or formatting and wiping the drive? How is the drive connected? USB 1/2/3? Firewire? eSATA?

Are there other partitions that need to be cleared off first?

Honestly, its probably going to take a while, so be patient.

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It takes 17 minutes and 16 seconds.

Using: Ubuntu 10.04 amd64; gparted 0.7.1; mke2fs 1.41.11; USB2; a Western Digital Elements 2TB drive. This is just for the format; the partitioning was done in an earlier step.

Your mileage may vary.

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I came here to ask an uncannily similar question; I could ask it separately, but it would probably be a duplicate. I am stuck on the partition step. I told it to delete the pre-existing NTFS parition and create an ~1700 GB ext4 and ~300 GB ntfs. However, it has been on the "delete partition" step (for the pre-exisitng NTFS) for a very long time (well over a day). I am on a E1505, with Kubuntu 9.10, and USB 2.0. I have the same drive. – Matthew Flaschen Jan 8 '11 at 2:30
Deleting the partition should be (almost) instantaneous. It might be an idea to try unplugging and replugging your drive; if that doesn't work then try rebooting; and if that doesn't work, maybe download and boot from the gparted Live CD? – Calroth Jan 8 '11 at 5:03
thanks. That's what I originally thought, but then I rationalized that it might be zeroing the partition (although it was still really long). When I canceled, it segfaulted and printed gpartedbin[17137]: segfault at 6b202d54 ip 06e671ef sp bfc1fb10 error 4 in[6dfc000+13e000]. Of course, it shouldn't segfault regardless. But I'm not sure if it did so because I canceled, or it was already in "trouble". The fact that it took so long makes me suspect the latter. At any rate, when I check now, the partition table is empty. – Matthew Flaschen Jan 8 '11 at 10:35
The creation of the two new partitions was fairly quick and uneventful. – Matthew Flaschen Jan 8 '11 at 11:27

Assuming that mke2fs has to write data (e.g. for inode tables, journal, superblocks and accounting information) till only about 5% of the size of the filesystem and a write speed of 100 MB/s it would take under 17 minutes!

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