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This question already has an answer here:

How can I prevent Windows 8 from trying to format my external ext3-format hard disk?

Every time I connect my ext3-format hard disk for the guest virtual machine(ubuntu), Windows(host) shows the dialog that it is about to format my ext3-format disk.

ubuntu(guest) - virtual box - windows(host) - ext-format external disk

I'm afraid I may push the confirm button accidentally someday.

I do not want to see the dialog to format it.

Anyway, I'm using Windows 8.


  • I changed Windows into Windows 8
  • Sorry, everyone. I forgot to mention I'm using ext-format external disk for the virtual box guest machine. I forgot it since I had intended to ask this question inside my another question.
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marked as duplicate by Dave M, Kevin Panko, Excellll, Heptite, and31415 Aug 6 '14 at 21:07

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Really? Two upvotes for such a useless comment? "Don't use Linux" is not an option here. – psusi May 22 '13 at 20:04
psusi, I don't see what's wrong with @Ramhound's comment. Read properly, he didn't say "don't use Linux". Since Windows doesn't recognise the ext file system, can you tell me one good reason why anyone should connect a disk formatted with it to a Windows PC? If you're not going to use FAT32/NTFS (for which Linux has drivers), or install an ext driver on Windows as Ali stated, why bother? Just don't connect the drive (no-one's forcing the OP to do so) and the problem is solved! – Karan May 22 '13 at 21:35
@Karan, because you install Linux on the only hard drive then you automatically have such an fs connected. – psusi May 22 '13 at 23:19
@psusi: The question was about connecting an external HDD formatted as ext. Again I ask you, who's forcing the OP to connect the drive to a Windows PC? – Karan May 22 '13 at 23:22
This happens every time I connect a truecrypt-formatted HD as well. Very annoying. – tomsv May 23 '13 at 9:08
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You could simply try to create a very small (some megabytes) FAT32 partition on your external drive. Then Windows would be able to find one understandable partition and therefore the format dialog should not appear anymore as the disk is not "Empty" (from Windows perspective).

It may be necessary to create this partition as the first partition on the disk.

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You're genius! I'll try this. Thank you!! It will take time that I partition it without loosing data. I don't know how to do it, and I'm not sure whether it's possible. I'm working on it. If it works, I'll choose this answer. – 19 Lee May 23 '13 at 11:18
This does not work for me. Windows displays multiple drives (D: and E:) for my external drive and wants to format the ext4 one. This answer shows how to tell windows to hide the disk and this question asks how to get Windows to read that disk (I now use ext2fsd to read my ext4 internal and external disks). – idbrii Aug 4 '14 at 18:01

Try installing the Ext driver for windows:

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A note on the site: :WARNINGS: The driver may crash your system and ruin your data unexpectedly, since there might be software conflicts and I could only test it on some of the popular platforms. You should use it with care and use it at your own risk!" – Carl B May 22 '13 at 18:22
Great suggestion! I have forgotten this. Now, I remember I tried similar things at first time. But, I think no free ext-format driver software supported Windows 8. I'm using Windows 8. – 19 Lee May 23 '13 at 11:13

You can't.

Whenever Windows sees a partition that it doesn't understand it will assume it still needs to be formatted with a format that Windows can understand.

So you will have to be careful, very careful NOT to hit the wrong button when you get the format dialog.
(Press Escape when you get it. You are less likely to make a mistake by using the keyboard then by using the mouse to cancel the dialog.)

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Prevent is not possible.

Make a Backup and format it. Then store all your files back. Othe only way you can avoid the format dialog.

TIP: Format your extHDD with a Linux system, Ubuntu for example. Live CD is more than enough to do it. Start it with CD/DVD on Startup, mount your extHDD and format it in NTFS.

I had simular troubles not long ago, my ArchLinux detected, that my extHDD needs to repair. It repairs and since then, my Windows never pops up the format dialog again.

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If the disk is using GPT instead of MSDOS partitioning, you need to use the gdisk utility to change the partition type to linux instead of Windows. Debian and its derivatives set up GPT partitions using the Microsoft type code, so Windows assigns them a drive letter and offers to format them if it doesn't recognize the filesystem.

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Just to confirm, are you saying that if gdisk is used to change the GPT partition type to Linux instead of Windows, then plugging the drive into a Windows PC will not cause the format dialog to pop up due to an unrecognised file system, and the drive will simply be silently ignored? Also, what's your solution for MBR formatted disks? – Karan May 22 '13 at 21:41
@Karan, same thing only you can set the type with fdisk or parted, but it should already have the correct type. – psusi May 22 '13 at 23:18
Ok, but does your answer solve the OP's issue is what I am asking. If he does what you suggest and then connects the USB HDD formatted as ext to a Windows PC, will it stop asking him to format the drive because of an unrecognised file system? Will it just silently ignore the drive altogether? – Karan May 22 '13 at 23:24
@Karan, yes... that's exactly what I said. – psusi May 22 '13 at 23:28
@pseudo - even in your answer you say it will STILL ask him to format the drive. – Ramhound May 23 '13 at 0:19

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