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I have a 1TB external seagate hard drive that i use it with my dell inspiron 1525 laptop running UBuntu 9.04. I dont intend to share my hdd with anyone, so my laptop is the only comp i will plug it into. Its on NTFS right now, it auto mounts as soon as i plug it in and i can transfer data without worrying about permissions.

But, ntfs-3g takes up a lot of cpu and resources, particularly for long running data transfers of over 20G. So i want to shift to a native linux file system for my hdd (probably ext4 or ext3 ?).

1) Will there be a significant difference in data transfer rate( <= 26 MBps currently) , cpu usage and system responsiveness with a native file system as opposed to NTFS ?

2) Will auto mounting work or do i have to manually mount it every time.

3) What do i have to do to mask file system permissions or to make sure that the permissions don't get in the way like in NTFS ?


I don't intend to ever use the drive in windows.

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Do you intend to ever use the drive in Windows? Windows won't be able to read native linux paritions (at least without WAY too much effot) and FAT32 will limit your file sizes. – basszero Sep 17 '09 at 13:53
Basszero EXT2IFS will allow an EXT2 or 3 drive to function normally in windows, it is a tiny program and doesn't require a reboot. It ma be compatible with EXT4, I haven't tried. – MDMarra Sep 17 '09 at 15:21

I run exactly this configuration with XFS file system, and I am happy with it. Numerous comparisons of different file systems for Linux can be found on the Net, but I personally like low CPU utilization during copying or deleting large number of files.

Not sure if the transfer speed with XFS will be much better than with NTFS - 25 MB/s is a typical limit for some USB controllers

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You will have problems with file permissions with ext4, except if your user has the same UID on all the machines you use, or if you manage to set all files to 777 somehow.

I've had the same problem a while ago, and the solution was to use the UDF filesystem. It works fine, even though the filesystem management tools don't seem do be updated much (the last version is from 2004).

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as i said, i don't plan to plugin my hdd to any machine other than my laptop. – letronje Sep 20 '09 at 13:40

You forget that ext3 and ext4 are journalling filesystems so the chance of not losing data if your computer crash or similar are better.

And if the disk will never again touch a windows computer, then switch.

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