Linux : Partition and format external hard drive as ext3 filesystem

By | January 19, 2012

This tutorial is about partitioning a USB external hard drive as good for internal drive.

First, list devices on your system using one of the following commands :

(USB drive should appear as SCSI drive)

Now, assuming your new drive is “sdb”, use the following command to invoke the fdisk partition utility :

To create a new partition (assuming this is a new unused drive), just type “n“. Then, save your work typing “w” and “q” to exit the utility.

Any doubt or need help about fdisk utility, just type “m“.

Let’s format the partition as traditional EXT3 Linux file system :

Okay, the hard disk partitioning and formatting is done now.

Create a directory where you want to have your drive mounted (replace all “external_hd” value with the name you want to use ) :

Mount the drive :

You’re now ready to use it! However, this mount will not survive to a reboot. To make it permanent, you need to edit fstab :

And add the following line :

NOTE : If you manually mount the drive instead doing the fstab way, do not forget to manually unmount it before unplug it! Serious data loss problem may occur if you skip this step!