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Ext3 or ext4? Which Would You Recommend?

Link to this post 25 Aug 10

When I first installed Ubuntu onto my System76 laptop, I formatted the drive as ext3 for the drive format as it was the default setting. However, in the coming months I am going to be fixing up old computers in order for them to be used again. With that being said, should I format the drives with ext3 or ext4? Concurrently, what are the technical and performance differences between the two?

Thank you to whomever helps me solve this quandary!

Link to this post 26 Aug 10

I switched to ext4 exclusively about 6 months ago, I was running ext3 and watching the reviews and bug reports for ext4 until I felt that is was safe enough for my /home directory. I ran it on my /boot and /root partitions for almost 2 years before trusting it with my important data. I've never had a problem with ext4, even through power outages and system blow ups. The only thing I've been hearing lately is that folks are experiencing a regression in speed on ext4. I haven't noticed that myself, but I thought I would mention it.

Link to this post 26 Aug 10

Goineasy9 wrote:

I switched to ext4 exclusively about 6 months ago, I was running ext3 and watching the reviews and bug reports for ext4 until I felt that is was safe enough for my /home directory. I ran it on my /boot and /root partitions for almost 2 years before trusting it with my important data. I've never had a problem with ext4, even through power outages and system blow ups. The only thing I've been hearing lately is that folks are experiencing a regression in speed on ext4. I haven't noticed that myself, but I thought I would mention it.

No worries. Is there a way to "upgrade" in a sense my ext3 to ext4 without losing data? Or, would this be a matter of reinstalling (in my case) Ubuntu?

Link to this post 26 Aug 10

Yes you can convert and ext3 filesystem to ext4, please read http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Ext4#Converting_an_ext3_filesystem_to_ext4

Don't forget to update your /etc/fstab file and your bootloader to reflect the new partition type.

Link to this post 07 Apr 11

mfillpot wrote:

Yes you can convert and ext3 filesystem to ext4, please read http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Ext4#Converting_an_ext3_filesystem_to_ext4

Don't forget to update your /etc/fstab file and your bootloader to reflect the new partition type.

Actually, ext2/3/4 are basically ext2 file systems, but ext3 and ext4 add journaling for better and faster recovery from power failures, system crashes, etc. There are mostly philosophical differences in how the journaling is done between ext3 and 4. Either will serve you well. I am currently running ext4 on all my new drives and arrays, but /home is ext3 on a logical volume (4x500GB drives). I decided not to convert it to ext4 when I upgraded my OS to RHEL6 (Scientific Linux 6 actually). Sort of the old adage - if it ain't broke... :-)

Link to this post 07 Apr 11

use ext3 because one more time you can upgrade ext3 to ext4 brother... :p

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