inside the mind of a linux admin

How To Upgrade From Ext3 To Ext4 Without Formatting The Hard Disk

Disclaimer: ALWAYS BACKUP YOUR DATA WHEN MAKING ANY CHANGES TO ANY FILE SYSTEMS. I will not be held responsible for any damage that you may incur as a result of following these instructions, and this should be used for informational purposes only, and as an outline of a process that worked for me on my particular hardware. KTHX.

First of all, make sure you have a fully updated system, regardless of your Ubuntu version.

Press Alt + F2 on your keyboard and type in

update-manager -d

The Update Manager will appear. Click on the Upgrade button. After the updates have completed, close and move on…

Now go to System->Partition Editor. This will show all the partition in your hard disk. Record down the filesystem ID of the partition that you want to convert to ext4.

Now, open a terminal and type the following:

sudo tune2fs -O extents,uninit_bg,dir_index /dev/XXXXXX

(Replace XXXX with the filesystem ID that you learned earlier)

sudo fsck -pf /dev/XXXXXX

Now, mount the drive:

sudo mount -t ext4 /dev/XXXXXX /mnt

You will now need to edit your system’s fstab file, which you can find in /mnt/etc/fstab (after mounting above) and change the ext3 entry to ext4.

Now you’re done, reinstall grub, reboot, and cross ya fingahz:

sudo grub-install /dev/XXXXXX
shutdown -r now


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  • on Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    Intriguing internet site. My co-workers and I were just discussing this another evening. Also your web page appears excellent on my aged sidekick. Now thats uncommon. Great function.

  • Dorian Mcclusky on Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    This post is beyond awesome. I am always wondering what to do and what not to do so I will follow some of these tips.

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