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Not sure how to best proceed with a spare drive I have. Here's the situation: I'm running Windows 10 Pro on a mid range Dell laptop. I recently replaced my spinning 2.5" SATA drive by cloning to a new SSD. I'd like to put this now spare drive to good use, and have purchased an enclosure kit with USB 3.0 I/O. I plan to use the drive primarily for on-site file backups. I'll be backing up the standard MS files like .docx, .xlsx etc, and non-OS specific files like pictures, videos and so on. To do so, I was planning on just formatting the drive using the standard DOS format command. I assume this would result in a blank slate NTFS hard drive, ready for use with Windows like any other external or flash drive. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.

Things become a bit more complicated (at least in my mind) if I decide to pursue a little home NAS experiment I've been pondering. I like to tinker, and will be buying the latest Raspberry Pi soon. The later generation RPi's can apparently be used successfully as a controller for a simple home NAS. Works for me, I've now got a spare drive and only two PCs in the house.

However, RPi's obviously don't run on Windows, they run on any number of different Linux distributions. The good news is that NTFS will apparently not be a problem. So... what to do with my SATA drive? Keep it as is, preserving files and the OS, but limiting space? Format to NTFS and as a result, lose the Windows partition? And would that even matter? I don't know nearly enough about NAS to understand OS issues when the client PCs are Windows but the drive is controlled by hardware running Linux.

As I've written this, I think I've answered my own question but... I'm not that confident I'm right. Any informed feedback on the subject?

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    I rolled back your last edit. On this site we do not make such annotations in the body of posts like that. Instead, by marking the answer "accepted" as you've already done, you've indicated which answer was satisfactory for you. – I say Reinstate Monica May 20 '18 at 2:45
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It doesn't matter. There's nothing special about Windows files, they are just files.

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  • thanks but I was hoping for a little more detail than that. Anyone else care to chime in? – clg May 11 '18 at 5:46
  • @clg Your question, as currently stated, is "what to do with my SATA drive? Keep it as is, preserving files and the OS, but limiting space? Format to NTFS and as a result, lose the Windows partition? And would that even matter?" and the answer is "it doesn't matter". That's it, really - do whatever you wish, Linux doesn't care. Please specify what kind of details you need and I'll try to add them. – gronostaj May 11 '18 at 7:07
  • ok thank you, and it sounds like I'm just complicating things in my mind unnecessarily. I guess I can just use my PC to format the drive (default NTFS), then use it on a Lixux RPi as the NAS controller. What I wanted to make sure is that the newly formatted drive can now function as as a shared file repository/server used by my (Windows) PC and the (Linux OSMC) RPi. – clg May 11 '18 at 18:14
  • @clg That's correct. You just have to use a filesystem supported by the flavor of Linux you wish to use. NTFS has good support on Linux, it should work. – gronostaj May 12 '18 at 6:26

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