I'm trying to pre-emptively avoid permission issues on my portable USB hard drive. The plan is to put a couple of Virtual Machines on the portable hard drive, and use it between two PCs both running Mint 17.2 + VirtualBox.

Both PCs are mine, and have been configured with the same username and password (not sure if that makes any difference).

I'm keen to format the hard drive as Ext4 for best support and performance. But, my concern is permission issues may come up between the two PCs. Alternatively, I suppose I could use NTFS but I don't know whether NTFS might have similar permission issues in Mint.

I've looked at exFAT, and I know fuse-exfat works well (I use it for Windows USB sticks), but for Virtual Machines I suspect Ext4 or NTFS would achieve better performance (least CPU overhead).

Any advice would be much appreciated.

  • 2
    If all users (or, at least, all users that need access to the USB drive) have the same uid on both systems, there won't be a problem. – cas Oct 26 '15 at 0:41
  • 1
    NTFS has spotty support under Linux, better avoid that for a native filesystem. – vonbrand Oct 26 '15 at 1:40
  • @cas Your uid tip was the starting point I needed. It turns out the Linux Mint installer assigns uid 1000 to the first user it creates, which means I'm 1000 on both PCs. The ext4 portable hard drive works flawlessly between them. You deserve the points so, if you write up a brief answer to this effect, I'll up-vote and mark it correct. – misha256 Oct 26 '15 at 20:04

Permissions on unix-like systems are based on the user's UID, not on their username. So, if all relevant users have the same UIDs on both systems, there will be no permissions problems with the mounted ext4 USB drive.

Debian (and debian-based distros like Mint) start creating users with UID=1000, so if you created the same users in the same order on both systems, they will have the same UIDs.

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