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I have a Toshiba 1TB portable back-up drive that I want to install Kubuntu on.

The question I have is should I reformat the drive? And if so what File System?

I want to use the portable HD to boot up my laptop with it.

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Ubuntu cannot be installed on NTFS, FAT32, or any other Windows formatted hard drive. It uses at least two partitions, the main one is called / and is formatted ext4. The second one is called swap and has its own format as well called swap.

If you don't want to use the portable drive to share data with Windows, you can let Kubuntu install take over the whole disk and do it's formatting and partitioning during installation. This way, the drive will not be readable when plugged into a Windows machine (without installing additional software in Windows).

If you want to use the drive with Windows, you will have to make a NTFS partition along with the / and swap needed by Kubuntu. In this case only you have to make the partitions and format them in their respective format by yourself. This can be done during the installation process itself.

Hope this helps

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If your using it as a USB boot disk you could create a live USB installer. Set aside enough memory for the system to use and use the rest of the space on the HDD for storage. This would prevent you from having to format the whole drive and you could keep the data that's on it. You could also use a partition editor to set aside enough space for the OS and do as the previous poster suggests. Again this would prevent having to reformat the whole drive.

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