External HDD with Multiple Partitions
Greetings fellow Linux aficionados.
I want to use an external hard drive as a storage medium for backups for four different operating systems: Windows 7, Windows XP, Fedora Core, and CentOS 5.6. These OS's reside on two separate boxes, one of which is a multiple-boot box. It would be really nice if I could use the same physical device for all of my OS's. My heart leans toward a large capacity drive like a 2TB device. A pre-made solution like a Western Digital MyBook or Fantom Drive would seem preferrable, but a custom-built device is not out of the question.
My first consideration is to use a 2TB WD MyBook (or similar) and reformat it with a filesystem that both Windows and Linux could use without conflicts. But it appears that Windows 7 may be a "problem child" and not be compatible with the other OS's.
My alternative consideration is to format the device with two partitions and format one with NTFS and the other with Ext3. This is where I get a bit confused. I have, in the past, reformatted USB drives with another filesystem without issues. But I never tried to repartition a USB drive. I am told that Windows and Linux will mount a properly multi-partitioned USB drive. Then there is some confusion on my part about the eccentric nature of high-capacity drives. Among the 2TB drive manufacturers, they mention all sorts of magic tricks used in high-capacity drives that I fear it may complicate partitioning and formatting. It almost makes me reluctant to use anything bigger than 1TB.
Then my consideration of last-resort is to use an external docking station and multiple 1TB drives, but this is the most expensive approach of all. And I'm not crazy about the handling of naked drives involved with docking stations.
Has anyone managed to successfully put multiple partitions on a USB external hard drive and have it behave in both Windows and Linux?
Is there anything special about partitioning and formatting 2TB USB drives that I should be aware of?
Pointers and/or suggestions are most welcome.
Thank you for your time and attention to my query.