Although Ubuntu is highly rated and has GParted as standard on the its Live CD, it is 700MB or so to download, so if you are wanting a smaller download, then this GParted Slax Live CD (I’ve built) is for you!
Slax Live CD
Here’s my guide to formatting a USB drive to EXT3 using a Slax ISO I’ve built with the GParted disk utility. I believe that the latest Ubuntu Live CD (v10.10) no longer included GParted, so although Ubuntu is quite useful only with the older releases, having GParted ready for us to use.
I visited the Slax website and built a Slax release, which is the core release with the GParted utility and the libraries it needs to run. You can do the same or download it from the Linux Download page in the My Humax Blog, here: http://myhumax.org/blog/?page_id=189
This ISO is a small 203MB in size, so it should be faster to download than most Linux distributions. You can burn it to make a Live CD and boot up your computer temporarily to perform the USB drive format. Stick the CD in the drive and boot your PC via the CD-ROM drive. Your screen should look like the picture below:
Insert your USB drive if you’ve not done so. Slax will recognise your drive and will mount it. Start the GParted utility by clicking on the ‘K’ start button and choosing System and then GParted Partition Editor. Or you can open up the Terminal application (second icon on the bar at the bottom left corner of the desktop) and type ‘gparted’ followed by return. GParted should fire up as the screen below shows:
GParted on Slax
GParted will startup showing you the master hard disk’s configuration. Mine happens to be Ubuntu Linux. Under no circumstances should you modify your master hard disk (which most likely to be Windows). Windows partition type or filesystem will be marked as FAT32 or NTFS, example below:
A Windows formatted USB drive insert a USB drive, you
A few seconds after inserting a USB drive, Slax will pop-up a window askin you what you would like to do with it:
Prompt on inserting USB drive
If it is a drive you want to format to EXT3, then choose the ‘Do Nothing’ option and click on OK. Otherwise the drive will get mounted and you will not have the format option in GParted (cannot format a mounted drive).
Once GParted is running, pull down the drive menu in the top-right corner and select the drive you wish to format:
Select the drive to format
The image above states that I have 3 drives on my PC – the boot disk and 2 USB drives. I’m going to format a USB stick formatted in FAT32 called ‘KINGSTON’:
KINGSTON USB drive
Right click on the drive entry and choose ‘Format to’:
Format to EXT3
Then select EXT3. Once that is done, click on the ‘Apply’ button to get GParted to format the drive. It will ask you to confirm of course, before it will perform the action.
If you have a drive that mis-behaves – GParted informing you that it can’t format the drive, you will need to delete the all the current partitions and create a new one on the drive. To do select the drive and choose ‘Partition’ from the menu.