[CentOS] What's the best way to convert a whole set of file systems?

Wed Mar 14 21:26:40 UTC 2007
John Summerfield <debian at herakles.homelinux.org>

Mark Hull-Richter wrote:
> I am currently running a Windows XP system at home with around 100+ Mb
> in use over ~400Mb of NTFS file systems.  I am installing CentOS 4.4 on
> it when I change out the mobo/cpu/mem/video combo I just bought.  I want
> to convert all the file systems to (probably) Reiserfs or maybe ext3,
> but I need to do them one at a time because I only have enough transfer
> space to accommodate the largest one, or at least that's my belief.
> That would mean at least two copies per partition converted, and I have
> six partitions to convert, from ~14Gb to over 85Gb (in one, only - the
> rest are 30Gb or smaller).
> 1)       Is there a good way to do whole fs conversions, specifically
> from NTFS to reiserfs or ext3?

Why reiserfs? RH doesn't support it at all in its RHEL series. It's no 
longer default in OpenSUSE (I'm not completely sure of SLES/SLED).

ext3 is generally a sane selection.

> 2)       Do I even need to do this (i.e., do any of the CentOS/Linux
> kernels support read AND write to NTFS)?.

I think rw support is available now in some distros.

> 3)       Is there, by any chance, and in-place converter from NTFS to
> any Linux fs, preferably reiserfs or ext3?

Highly dangerous at best.

> Also, the last time I installed CentOS on a system (I've done about six
> or seven so far) I don't remember seeing reiserfs as one of the
> supported fs's for configuring during the installation process - am I
> blind or is this really the case?  I like reiserfs primarily because it
> is really good with many small files, and I have tons of them - around
> 100k files under 10k.

It is really the case. RH employs at least one ext4 specialist, declines 
to do so for any other Linux filesystem. I expect SUSE to follow this path.

The _best_ way to convert is to use another disk. That way, if something 
fouls up, you get another chance. The _best_ way to read NTFS is with 
Windows. The _safest_ way to convert is to read in Windows, transfer to 
Linux and write.

You can do this on a network, you can possibly run Linux under virtual 
PC (a free download now, does not require special CPUs, can boot a 
standard bootable CD or (I think) ISO image), you could use tar under 
windows (needs cygwin).



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