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I want to change a partition to Ext3 or Ext4 and used fdisk to print the availlable partition types:

 19 Linux swap                     0657FD6D-A4AB-43C4-84E5-0933C84B4F4F
 20 Linux filesystem               0FC63DAF-8483-4772-8E79-3D69D8477DE4
 21 Linux server data              3B8F8425-20E0-4F3B-907F-1A25A76F98E8
 22 Linux root (x86)               44479540-F297-41B2-9AF7-D131D5F0458A
 23 Linux root (ARM)               69DAD710-2CE4-4E3C-B16C-21A1D49ABED3
 24 Linux root (x86-64)            4F68BCE3-E8CD-4DB1-96E7-FBCAF984B709
 25 Linux root (ARM-64)            B921B045-1DF0-41C3-AF44-4C6F280D3FAE
 26 Linux root  (IA-64)             993D8D3D-F80E-4225-855A-9DAF8ED7EA97
 27 Linux reserved                 8DA63339-0007-60C0-C436-083AC8230908
 28 Linux home                     933AC7E1-2EB4-4F13-B844-0E14E2AEF915
 29 Linux RAID                     A19D880F-05FC-4D3B-A006-743F0F84911E
 30 Linux extended boot            BC13C2FF-59E6-4262-A352-B275FD6F7172
 31 Linux LVM                      E6D6D379-F507-44C2-A23C-238F2A3DF928

So, I guess i will go with 20 or maybe 28...


EDIT: Full list of availlable partition types I can chose from:

  1 EFI System                     C12A7328-F81F-11D2-BA4B-00A0C93EC93B
  2 MBR partition scheme           024DEE41-33E7-11D3-9D69-0008C781F39F
  3 Intel Fast Flash               D3BFE2DE-3DAF-11DF-BA40-E3A556D89593
  4 BIOS boot                      21686148-6449-6E6F-744E-656564454649
  5 Sony boot partition            F4019732-066E-4E12-8273-346C5641494F
  6 Lenovo boot partition          BFBFAFE7-A34F-448A-9A5B-6213EB736C22
  7 PowerPC PReP boot              9E1A2D38-C612-4316-AA26-8B49521E5A8B
  8 ONIE boot                      7412F7D5-A156-4B13-81DC-867174929325
  9 ONIE config                    D4E6E2CD-4469-46F3-B5CB-1BFF57AFC149
 10 Microsoft reserved             E3C9E316-0B5C-4DB8-817D-F92DF00215AE
 11 Microsoft basic data           EBD0A0A2-B9E5-4433-87C0-68B6B72699C7
 12 Microsoft LDM metadata         5808C8AA-7E8F-42E0-85D2-E1E90434CFB3
 13 Microsoft LDM data             AF9B60A0-1431-4F62-BC68-3311714A69AD
 14 Windows recovery environment   DE94BBA4-06D1-4D40-A16A-BFD50179D6AC
 15 IBM General Parallel Fs        37AFFC90-EF7D-4E96-91C3-2D7AE055B174
 16 Microsoft Storage Spaces       E75CAF8F-F680-4CEE-AFA3-B001E56EFC2D
 17 HP-UX data                     75894C1E-3AEB-11D3-B7C1-7B03A0000000
 18 HP-UX service                  E2A1E728-32E3-11D6-A682-7B03A0000000
 19 Linux swap                     0657FD6D-A4AB-43C4-84E5-0933C84B4F4F
 20 Linux filesystem               0FC63DAF-8483-4772-8E79-3D69D8477DE4
 21 Linux server data              3B8F8425-20E0-4F3B-907F-1A25A76F98E8
 22 Linux root (x86)               44479540-F297-41B2-9AF7-D131D5F0458A
 23 Linux root (ARM)               69DAD710-2CE4-4E3C-B16C-21A1D49ABED3
 24 Linux root (x86-64)            4F68BCE3-E8CD-4DB1-96E7-FBCAF984B709
 25 Linux root (ARM-64)            B921B045-1DF0-41C3-AF44-4C6F280D3FAE
 26 Linux root  (IA-64)             993D8D3D-F80E-4225-855A-9DAF8ED7EA97
 27 Linux reserved                 8DA63339-0007-60C0-C436-083AC8230908
 28 Linux home                     933AC7E1-2EB4-4F13-B844-0E14E2AEF915
 29 Linux RAID                     A19D880F-05FC-4D3B-A006-743F0F84911E
 30 Linux extended boot            BC13C2FF-59E6-4262-A352-B275FD6F7172
 31 Linux LVM                      E6D6D379-F507-44C2-A23C-238F2A3DF928
 32 FreeBSD data                   516E7CB4-6ECF-11D6-8FF8-00022D09712B
 33 FreeBSD boot                   83BD6B9D-7F41-11DC-BE0B-001560B84F0F
 34 FreeBSD swap                   516E7CB5-6ECF-11D6-8FF8-00022D09712B
 35 FreeBSD UFS                    516E7CB6-6ECF-11D6-8FF8-00022D09712B
 36 FreeBSD ZFS                    516E7CBA-6ECF-11D6-8FF8-00022D09712B
 37 FreeBSD Vinum                  516E7CB8-6ECF-11D6-8FF8-00022D09712B
 38 Apple HFS/HFS+                 48465300-0000-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC
 39 Apple UFS                      55465300-0000-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC
 40 Apple RAID                     52414944-0000-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC
 41 Apple RAID offline             52414944-5F4F-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC
 42 Apple boot                     426F6F74-0000-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC
 43 Apple label                    4C616265-6C00-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC
 44 Apple TV recovery              5265636F-7665-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC
 45 Apple Core storage             53746F72-6167-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC
 46 Solaris boot                   6A82CB45-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 47 Solaris root                   6A85CF4D-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 48 Solaris /usr & Apple ZFS       6A898CC3-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 49 Solaris swap                   6A87C46F-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 50 Solaris backup                 6A8B642B-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 51 Solaris /var                   6A8EF2E9-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 52 Solaris /home                  6A90BA39-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 53 Solaris alternate sector       6A9283A5-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 54 Solaris reserved 1             6A945A3B-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 55 Solaris reserved 2             6A9630D1-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 56 Solaris reserved 3             6A980767-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 57 Solaris reserved 4             6A96237F-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 58 Solaris reserved 5             6A8D2AC7-1DD2-11B2-99A6-080020736631
 59 NetBSD swap                    49F48D32-B10E-11DC-B99B-0019D1879648
 60 NetBSD FFS                     49F48D5A-B10E-11DC-B99B-0019D1879648
 61 NetBSD LFS                     49F48D82-B10E-11DC-B99B-0019D1879648
 62 NetBSD concatenated            2DB519C4-B10E-11DC-B99B-0019D1879648
 63 NetBSD encrypted               2DB519EC-B10E-11DC-B99B-0019D1879648
 64 NetBSD RAID                    49F48DAA-B10E-11DC-B99B-0019D1879648
 65 ChromeOS kernel                FE3A2A5D-4F32-41A7-B725-ACCC3285A309
 66 ChromeOS root fs               3CB8E202-3B7E-47DD-8A3C-7FF2A13CFCEC
 67 ChromeOS reserved              2E0A753D-9E48-43B0-8337-B15192CB1B5E
 68 MidnightBSD data               85D5E45A-237C-11E1-B4B3-E89A8F7FC3A7
 69 MidnightBSD boot               85D5E45E-237C-11E1-B4B3-E89A8F7FC3A7
 70 MidnightBSD swap               85D5E45B-237C-11E1-B4B3-E89A8F7FC3A7
 71 MidnightBSD UFS                0394EF8B-237E-11E1-B4B3-E89A8F7FC3A7
 72 MidnightBSD ZFS                85D5E45D-237C-11E1-B4B3-E89A8F7FC3A7
 73 MidnightBSD Vinum              85D5E45C-237C-11E1-B4B3-E89A8F7FC3A7
 74 Ceph Journal                   45B0969E-9B03-4F30-B4C6-B4B80CEFF106
 75 Ceph Encrypted Journal         45B0969E-9B03-4F30-B4C6-5EC00CEFF106
 76 Ceph OSD                       4FBD7E29-9D25-41B8-AFD0-062C0CEFF05D
 77 Ceph crypt OSD                 4FBD7E29-9D25-41B8-AFD0-5EC00CEFF05D
 78 Ceph disk in creation          89C57F98-2FE5-4DC0-89C1-F3AD0CEFF2BE
 79 Ceph crypt disk in creation    89C57F98-2FE5-4DC0-89C1-5EC00CEFF2BE
 80 VMware VMFS                    AA31E02A-400F-11DB-9590-000C2911D1B8
 81 VMware Diagnostic              9D275380-40AD-11DB-BF97-000C2911D1B8
 82 VMware Virtual SAN             381CFCCC-7288-11E0-92EE-000C2911D0B2
 83 VMware Virsto                  77719A0C-A4A0-11E3-A47E-000C29745A24
 84 VMware Reserved                9198EFFC-31C0-11DB-8F78-000C2911D1B8
 85 OpenBSD data                   824CC7A0-36A8-11E3-890A-952519AD3F61
 86 QNX6 file system               CEF5A9AD-73BC-4601-89F3-CDEEEEE321A1
 87 Plan 9 partition               C91818F9-8025-47AF-89D2-F030D7000C2C
  • 1
    In most cases, partition types are just hints, for use either by a human who has no other information, or by an operating system which uses some sort of zero configuration (or minimal configuration). Partition type 20 is a weak hint that the partition contains a Linux filesystem, whatever that may be. Partition type 28 is a weak hint that the partition contains a Linux filesystem, whatever that may be, and, in addition, a very weak hint that the partition is to be mounted on /home. I would chose 20, just for consistency. – AlexP Oct 13 '19 at 5:59
  • thanks. So, it is more a Label and the actual partition type will be set when building a file system on it, right? if so, you might convert your comment to an answer. – Ben Oct 13 '19 at 6:09
  • The partition type is a label. What do you mean by "actual partition type"? In some specific cases the type registered in the partition table is authoritative (for example, for the EFI system partition) or important (for example, for the "Microsoft Reserved" partition). But, in most cases, the actual data in the partition will tell the operating system what is in there. – AlexP Oct 13 '19 at 6:18
  • @ben me again. I did not even want to answer first, but just had to, see below. One last thing: the way you formulate it one might really think you are a bit naive concerning partitions and filesystems ;) – rastafile Oct 13 '19 at 8:04
  • @AlexP i meant: what is the purpose of this label? some labels have purpose (swap, home, efi), some have not? – Ben Oct 13 '19 at 9:24
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Text mode

Let fdisk do it's job on the external drive (if you need to create one or more partitions). Use the default partition type (don't worry about it).

Then use mkfs.ext4 and create an ext4 file system.

Graphical mode

Use gparted and let it create partition(s) and file system(s).

| improve this answer | |
  • I have to pick one partition tye and there is no default one. – Ben Oct 13 '19 at 15:18
  • Then I suggest 20 Linux filesystem – sudodus Oct 13 '19 at 15:27
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Now I know how to put it, Ben:

Looking at your intention:

want to change a partition to Ext3 or Ext4

and looking at your choices:

19-31, as fdisk lists: no type Ext!   

This is a contradiction!


Partitions have a part-of-disk fdisk and a block-with-fs mkfs nature.


Type as hints: true!

systemd takes them serious. After I had added some more partitions, among them Linux home and swap, they were automatically integrated at the next boot! I still can't believe! It was quite a problem to fix.

Then I changed the type back to something systemd would leave alone. My 4GB partition I had reserved for future use as swap is now "Sony boot partition". And "HP-UX Data" was Linux home. I even kept the letter S and H and the meaning boot vs data.

I hope this is a good illustration of what these partition types mean and what they don't mean.

/dev/sda1       2048  83888127  83886080   40G Linux filesystem
/dev/sda2   83888128 109053951  25165824   12G Linux root (x86-64)
/dev/sda3  109053952 142608383  33554432   16G Linux filesystem
/dev/sda4  276826112 411043839 134217728   64G Linux server data
/dev/sda5  411043840 415238143   4194304    2G EFI System
/dev/sda6  166610944 267274239 100663296   48G Linux filesystem
/dev/sda7  142608384 142608999       616  308K Linux filesystem
/dev/sda8  415238144 468862094  53623951 25.6G Linux filesystem
/dev/sda9  267274240 276826111   9551872  4.6G Sony boot partition
/dev/sda16 142609000 166609000  24000001 11.5G HP-UX data

No I don't have a "Server", but I just gave that type to my "big", non-root partition. To me it will always be the "big 64G partition with extN on sda4', not my "data partition".

The tiny 300K partition, and the number 16, come from "playing" around in fdisk, while I could. No relation.

Rationale of this shown partitioning of my "system" SSD with "only" 220G: a couple of small ones for rootfs (minimal installations), some bigger ones for full installation and data. Plus EFI (used) and Swap (not used - I mean not even activated). Nothing complex behind it, just a virtualisation of my SSD into a dozen of block devices.


What does that have to do with an (external) USB HDD?

Just like a USB flash, and even more, you can use it in two ways: just one big partition, or split up either for organization (backup, different filesystems) or for booting. The iso images eg. leave you with three partitions after a dd.

| improve this answer | |
  • did you test what happens when there are two partitions labeled "Linux home"? or what happens if home is already mounted with some other content? and the integration as swap did result in that partition beeing a working swap partition? what filesystems did you use? – Ben Oct 13 '19 at 9:22
  • 1
    @Ben Good questions! The home I didn't test. But it is documented of course by systemd. The swap I really don't remember exactly - It came together, and really was a bad boot failure. I remember a "swap on" line or so, so yes, the swap might have been working. I guess systemd would have even put a swap filesystem on it during boot, no questions asked, if that would be needed ;) All this to make installations semi-automatic. – rastafile Oct 13 '19 at 9:30
  • 1
    @Ben Come to think of it: I did not have any FS on that new "Linux home" sda16. I know because I still don't know if I want ext2 or ext4 on the partition I plan to mount on /home. I wanted to really just label it for myself. But then that mount target failed, lots of systemd lines went red. Systemd could have at least left out unformatted partitions. Now I still get "mount: wrong fs type... bad superblock on /dev/sda16,...or ...." when I try manually. – rastafile Oct 13 '19 at 9:47
  • @Ben Because of firefox (+xterm/x?) I need dbus, because of dbus I need systemd, and because of systemd I "need" a HP-UX labeled partition. Apart from that I am on runlevel "A+" ! – rastafile Oct 13 '19 at 9:56
  • Systemd won't override your fstab. If a partition is configured in fstab, or if the mount point where Systemd would blindly assume that it is to be mounted is configured in fstab, Systemd will give up. – AlexP Oct 13 '19 at 11:16

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