I have a WD MyBook 1TB drive that I would like to use for full cron backups (TAR?) on a Debian Linux ("Lenny") server. Is this possible? I don't care about losing the MyBook software if a reformat is necessary. 'Just want to use the drive. I'm limited to command line interaction via server console. So far, the drive shows up as "SDB" when plugged in. What are the next steps?

Disclaimer: I'm a "newbie" at Linux admin stuff. 'Sorry if I missed some relevant RTFM posts. Detailed steps would be appreciated.


Any other useful results from lsblk or sudo blkid or sudo fdisk -l or sudo parted -l?

If there's another partition, like /dev/sdb1 that you could mount, after first creating a mountpoint folder like /media/partone, running this should mount it:

sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/partone

(If you're logged in as root, probably won't need all the sudo's)

Then, if you wanted to reformat it to use a different filesystem (ext3/4 maybe, if you want all the user/group/permission tools), you could use terminal tools like wipefs and mkfs.ext3 or other mkfs.xxxx. Or re-partition it first with parted or fdisk... but having access to a GUI environment, even in a live DVD/USB on another computer, would let you use the quick & easy gparted program to do all those things.

  • I set up a mount point as "/media/backup1" and ran "mount /dev/sdb1 /media/backup1". 'Got the following message -- "NTFS-fs error (device sdb1): load_system_files(): $LocFile is not clean. Mounting read-only. Mount in Windows." Is there something else I need to do here or should I proceed with wipefs and/or parted? If so, what file system would you recommend (ext3/ext4)? I'm planning to use the external drive entirely for full server backups, probably with "tar". – garyg Feb 8 '15 at 17:42
  • Didn't see the comment until now, but NTFS sometimes needs to be checked with a Windows chkdsk, it can be "left in an inconsistent state" or "unclean" or something, and the linux drivers can only mount it read-only. A tar archive saves file owner/group & permissions itself, so NTSF or even FAT can store a tar OK, but if you'll only be using it with Debian, then ext4 would be ok, (ext3 maybe ok too, it's a little older but supposed to do faster checks on larger disks, search "ext3 vs ext4" for more info) – Xen2050 Feb 15 '15 at 1:29

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