I have a 1TB SATA hard disk from my old desktop, and the entire thing is an ext4 /home partition (/, /boot, and swap were all on another hdd). It is now in a USB2 enclosure and I want to use it to back up my current laptop /home.

To do this I need to shrink the /home partition on the 1TB backup drive. It only uses about 500GB so that shouldn't be a problem, I'll start the laptop with an Ubuntu live USB, plug in the 1TB drive, and use Gparted to shrink the 1TB /home partition to ~500GB.

Then I can create a second partition in the newly freed space, and cp -ax my laptop's /home over to it.

Unfortuntely, Ubuntu Live USB can detect and mount the external hdd, and Gparted can see it's there, but Gparted can't read it and hence can't resize it. Disk Utility reports the drive is fine, no errors, so I'm not sure what's the problem. See linked pics, worth a thousand words.

Anyone know what the problem is here? Any pointers in the right direction much appreciated.


The disk is fine, but the partition's filesystem isn't.

Close gparted, and run this to check (and fix) the partition:

sudo fsck /dev/sdd1

After it fixes the errors, gparted will be able to resize it.

The is equivalent of using Disk Utilitiy's "Check Filesystem" button. I still prefer the command-line version to see all the messages and errors that may be, but I'm a control freak. If you're not, go ahead and use the GUI button, I agree it's much simpler :)

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  • Thanks, unfortunately I ran it and the only error it found was missing lost+found, and recreated it. Still same problem wth Gparted though, nothing changed. Any other ideas? – Kurtosis Sep 20 '12 at 7:17
  • Can you mount and browse the files there? – MestreLion Sep 20 '12 at 11:06
  • Yes, the live USB automounts it as /media/home and I have no trouble browsing the files there, reading docs or playing music directly off /media/home works fine. Baffling why Gparted is getting confused about it. – Kurtosis Sep 20 '12 at 16:54
  • Puzzling indeed. Unmount it before starting gparted (may use the "Eject" button in nautilus), and then please provide a new screenshot for me – MestreLion Sep 20 '12 at 23:56

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