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  1. #1

    Slow FAT32 external HDD

    I just got a 1 TB external HDD, and it's formatted as a FAT32 (I think).
    Anyway, it's VERY slow.
    If I format it as ext3 will that help speed things up?
    Is there a safe and sure way to do that?
    If I do do that, I'll lose the System Volume information, the registration crud and whatever autorun exe files that are there (I didn't really pay any attention to them). Is that important?
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  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    I can be found either 40 miles west of Chicago, in Chicago, or in a galaxy far, far away.
    Using a FAT file system on a 1TB drive is totally bogus! I assume this is a USB drive? Boot your system, start a command line window, su to root, plug in the USB drive. If it automounts, unmount it, run fdisk on the device (/dev/sdx where /dev/sdx is the device for the drive), remove the dos partition, create a Linux partition using the entire drive space, save the partition table (this usually quits fdisk as well). Next, format the new partition with mkfs.ext3. Once that's done, if it has been automounted, you are ready to go. If it hasn't, just eject and unplug the drive, plug it back in, and you are ready to go. It should be considerably faster, though it won't be as fast as an internal or esata drive.

    Myself, I purchase a good quick-load esata enclosre (about $50 USD) and a 1TB or 1.5TB bare hard drive and use that. If your system doesn't have an esata port, you can purchase an esata raid controller for under $100 USD supporting up to 4 external drives as JBOD (Just A Bunch Of Discs) or as a RAID volume. I get 4-10x better performance with esata drives than USB 2.0. Raw speed is 3gbps vs 480mbps. If your system is a laptop, a lot new ones ones that have sata drives also have an esata port, or you can purchase a cardbus adapter for that.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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