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Using Slax with GParted to format USB drive to EXT3

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 builtĀ 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: https://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':


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.

Categories: How To Guides, Using Linux Tags: , , , ,
  1. Brian
    April 26th, 2011 at 23:59 | #1

    Many thanks for this, I had used a couple of other GParted live discs that just wouldnt boot on my iMac but this worked a treat and I now have a 2TB drive running HD-Fox-T2…

    Thanks for the effort!

  2. son_t
    May 1st, 2011 at 09:08 | #2

    Good stuff! Thanks for the feedback. I’ve now discovered another method – using GParted own Live CD – will blog post this method later (did not want to confuse by post so soon after this Slax post) but the method is pretty much the same.

    GParted Live CD can be downloaded here: http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php

  3. Darkstar
    May 18th, 2011 at 06:51 | #3

    I am a little confused and hope you can enlighten me. I have a brand new Humax HD Fox-T2 which I upgraded to the latest v12 firmware and yesterday I picked up a WD Elements 2TB hard drive. I already have the Slax live burnt to CD so spent 30 minutes formatting it to Ext3 in one large partition. No joy the Humax insists on formatting and will not enable PVR functions. My guess is I need to enable the PVR function by allowing it to format a HDD of 1TB or less first but this may be an expensive experiment. Can you help?

  4. son_t
    May 18th, 2011 at 10:08 | #4

    I don’t have a HD FOX T2 to verify what is going on here. I haven’t been keeping up with the HD box either so maybe I’m no the one to help here… but as far as I know the Humax boxes work with some USB drives but not others. The same goes for USB flash drives but these work a little better than the full-blown USB drives.

    You should post your problem in the forum to see if others can help, giving the model/make of the drive would might also confirm that the HD might not work with that drive…

  5. Wile E Coyote
    June 4th, 2011 at 15:34 | #5

    A gold star to son_t!

    I have been having the usual problems with my HD Fox T2 – that of reading and writing.
    I have a nice USB drive that I use to feed videos, photos & music to my various devices (WD-TV when I’m away from home) formatted to NTFS for my XP PC (lots of lovely abbreviations – why is that word so long?) but of course no good to copy files from my Fox. So I copied all the files to another drive – formatted to FAT – copied all the files back again and all is well…until I have a 4+GB file, when my PC tells me that there isn’t enough room on the drive! Of course, there is really, but my PC hasn’t got a message that says “Idiot! You reformatted the drive to FAT which has a 4GB file limit!”
    So it’s back to the drawing board (which is good, as I’m a draffy by trade). Flash seems to have gone up in price and I can get a 320GB drive for the price of a 32GB stick so that’s what I get. After much web surfing, downloading of drivers and software I give up on formatting to EXT3 from my PC and get my Fox do it. Now, of course, my PC doesn’t recognize my USB drive so it’s back to the www. And here it is! The answer to my problem (for free). I download the Slax + GParted version, burned a CD, copied the above instructions, re-booted (F12 at startup to choose to boot from the CD), sweated as lots of text flew around the screen until – all is calm. Exactly as shown above, the desktop appeared and, after a few stumbles, I can copy or move my ex-Fox files to my PC’s hard drive to do with as I please.

  6. I Should Back Up More Often
    September 17th, 2012 at 17:45 | #6

    Thank you, you have saved my arse. I love you <3

  1. May 21st, 2011 at 17:24 | #1