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I have a 2 TB drive with about 900 GB of data on it. I'd like to convert it to ext3. I understand that there is no way to actually do it. So I'd like to try the following:

  1. Shrink the 2TB partition to 1TB.
  2. Create a new partition and format it as ext3.
  3. Copy the data from the NTFS partition to the ext3 partition (I am not clear on how to do this).
  4. Once the data is copied, delete the NTFS partition.
  5. Extend the ext3 partition to include the newly empty space.

My questions:

  1. Am I going about it the right way? Will this work? Is there a better approach that I should try?
  2. Is there an app that allows me access to both NTFS and ext3 partitions? I am on Windows 7.
  3. What apps will I need to do what I outlined?
  4. What are the chances of me losing data with this approach?
share|improve this question
If you are going to do this you really want up to date backups. And if you have a backup then you can just reformat and restore. (Still, it is interesting to try what you describe and it should work. But not if those 900MB are the only copy of data which you want to keep) – Hennes Jun 2 '12 at 0:29
@Hennes The problem is that I do not have another drive that can hold 900GB. – AngryHacker Jun 2 '12 at 0:31
@AngryHacker: Then do exactly what you would do if this drive failed. (But pretend this drive is the replacement.) – David Schwartz Jun 2 '12 at 0:36
up vote 1 down vote accepted

This should work; but as always, when dealing with hard drives, backups are a good idea and you will not have to despair about chances of losing data. (anecdotal evidence: I never lost any critical data when modifying partitions, but I might just have been lucky).

As for apps, you can read ext3 in Windows using this utility, but you are better working from a Linux live-CD like Ubuntu or GParted (the ext3 support will be much better, and NTFS works well for read-only use).

share|improve this answer
I have lost data resizing - so having a backup of anything you actually care about is a good idea. As for ext3 reading, i prefer the ext2fsd driver - its signed and has been reliable for me in the past. I'd note that linux support for NTFS at this point is good enough that linux can occationally read NTFSdrives that won't read on windows, so ntfs3g would likely be a less painful option – Journeyman Geek Jun 2 '12 at 1:05
@JourneymanGeek +1; a backup is never a bad idea. I have never used ext2fsd, looks interesting. – Renan Jun 2 '12 at 1:07
It has some advantages, including being signed, so you can use it on a 64 bit system without having to disable driver signing. – Journeyman Geek Jun 2 '12 at 1:10

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