I have a 1TB drive that is currently formatted to NTFS with a MBR partition table.

I would like to reformat it as HFS+ with a GUID partition table.

What should I do so that I can transfer my data off to a 1TB backup drive and then back onto the newly formatted HFS+ drive?

My operating system is OSX Snow Leopard and I also have Ubuntu 10 Available.

Previously I tried with Clonezilla, however that ended in epic failure after I painstakingly discovered that it can only be restored to a partition of the same format (NTFS).

1 Answer 1


You can very safely dump all your files onto an Ubuntu ext3 or ext4 partition and then copy them onto your new HFS+ partition later. Just a simple copy/paste over a network. This will require some Ethernet cable to connect the two computers. I do this often as my server is a Linux box and I have that connected to my MacBook.

If you like, you could format a NTFS partition on Ubuntu but this isn't required.

  • What about NTFS alternate data streams? Are they preserved?
    – Daniel Beck
    Apr 29, 2011 at 14:45
  • @Daniel Beck - Good question. I don't have the answer. But if there are significant concerns regarding this then I suggest @tobeannounced format an NTFS partition on the Ubunutu box.
    – boehj
    Apr 29, 2011 at 15:37
  • Any other ideas? A file level copy (which I tried first) took over 2 days, while clonezilla clone took only 4. And the file level copy ended up with errors on the destination so I didn't restore it back. Apr 29, 2011 at 23:01
  • Is this an external HDD? Any way of installing it in the Ubuntu box? Or alternatively does it have eSATA? I ask, because over a GigE Ethernet connection a full 1 TB copy should take somewhere in the order of a couple of hours. However, if it's a USB external HDD then you're looking at many hours to do a full 1 TB copy (about 8 hours) and then the same time going back. So it's in your best interests to hook it up to a SATA port. In these conditions a simple copy/paste transfer shouldn't take long and there shouldn't be any errors. I perform such transfers almost weekly (ext4 to HFS+ & back).
    – boehj
    Apr 30, 2011 at 0:16

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