Although some have complained that Ext4 isn’t exactly perfect, I took the plunge on an external drive yesterday and followed these instructions to convert Ext3 formatted drive to Ext4. It worked, as far as I can tell, flawlessly.

To change an ext2 filesystem (should you still have one) to ext3 (enabling the journal feature), use the command:

# tune2fs -j /dev/DEV

To enable the ext4 features on an existing ext3 filesystem, use the command:

# tune2fs -O extents,uninit_bg,dir_index /dev/DEV

WARNING: Once you run this command, the filesystem will no longer be mountable using the ext3 filesystem!

After running this command (specifically, after setting the uninit_bg parameter), you MUST run fsck to fix up some on-disk structures that tune2fs has modified:

# e2fsck -fDC0 /dev/DEV

To create your own ext4 from scratch…

# mkfs.ext4 /dev/DEV

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure