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I have an ext2 formatted disk (linux) and I need to reformat it to NTFS (windows). Problem is, I have to retain the 750 GB of data that's on the disk. What's the quickest (least number of steps) way to accomplish this? I do have a spare 1TB disk now to help with the transfer.

Background.

I've been using XBMC Live for a couple of years, but with all the problems I've been having lately, I'm moving over to the Windows version. Unfortunately all of my media is stored on an ext2 formatted disk (not the same disk as the OS disk).

I was thinking of loading up an Ubuntu live disk, and installing ntfs-config. Mount my secondary disk (already formatted NTFS), transfer the files, reformat the original drive, load windows and transfer the files back.

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I'd avoid non-Microsoft implementations of NTFS, simply because they're reverse-engineered. If you want to convert to a format that's compatible between all of them, that's FAT32. Unfortunately, FAT32 has some limitations that may not be suitable for you, including 4GB file size limits, and the fact that Windows won't let you create single partitions of that size. –  user3463 Feb 19 '11 at 17:19
    
Yes, many of my files are over 4GB. –  Chase Florell Feb 19 '11 at 17:25
    
You might be able to use the Microsoft's FAT64 or exFAT format file system, a successor to FAT32 which can handle large files. Windows updates to support it are available from Microsoft here. –  martineau Feb 19 '11 at 18:42
    
@Randolph: It does not necessarily mean that they are of poor quality. ntfs-3g is quite stable. –  grawity Feb 20 '11 at 15:21

3 Answers 3

Using the spare disk is the best/easiest approach. Although, reading a foreign format is more reliable than writing a foreign format, so you should use windows with an ext2 read tool instead of linux with an ntfs write driver.

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Why change the format? Why not just add Ext2 file system support to Windows?

  Ext2 Installable File System For Windows (freeware)
  http://www.fs-driver.org/

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1  
I've tested this and it's not very useful on 64-bit systems or Windows 7. –  user3463 Feb 19 '11 at 17:17
    
The end result MUST be ntfs since I don't want to "dabble" in third party software that may or may not work. This media server needs to be as stable as possible, and adding bloatware to enable a non proprietary disk format doesn't seem like a logical option. –  Chase Florell Feb 19 '11 at 17:26
    
fs-driver didn't seem to work on Win7 x64 - I followed the instructions with compatibility mode, but no dice. –  Chase Florell Feb 19 '11 at 21:31
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Ended up running ext2read to transfer files across.

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