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So I ran into a situation the other day. I needed to revert my ext4 Ubuntu installation to a ext2.
This is because I am using TrueCrypt and an alternative boot loader than grub2.
I have later been able to successfully encrypt the entire disk from TrueCrypt using the "entire disk method."
So my setup is a Win7 partition, two Ubuntu partitions (one ext2, the other is an encrypted swap (Ubuntu 13.04)))
What I ended up doing after unsuccessfully following many different posts about converting partitions is....
1. I backed up my original ext4 partition to an external drive.
2. I then copied with "cp -ax" from the ext4 partition to the new ext2 partition I created.
3. Then I used a live cd (really usb stick) to "sudo su && nautilus &!"
4. After that I hit ctrl+h and then copied everything I found in the /home/olduser folder to the new /home/newuser folder graphically.
It seems to have worked, but I feel like this was most likely more than I needed to do to successfully accomplish my task. Any suggestions to downgrade a partition as I have described?
This has allowed me to use TrueCrypt to encrypt the entire drive, I first boot using the TrueCrypt boot loader, enter my password, then load the Win7 boot loader which I have edited to have Win7, WinXP, and Ubuntu
(the Ubuntu entry was added using "NeoSmart Tech. EasyBCD" This is what required an ext2 partition to be able to find the Ubuntu setup.) entries. Then everything works like a charm! Thank you in advance for this untypical setup response!

  • You probably only want a small /boot partition to be Ext2 for boot compatibility. I'd never recommend to have your full drive be Ext2 for reliability reasons. – gertvdijk Jul 19 '13 at 8:48
  • Thank you. I realize that, but all the multi-system tools that I use tend to only recognize ext2 so far. I think ext4 is great, but it just hasn't been adopted by everyone yet. Do you have any suggestions regarding how to revert an ext4 to ext2 though? – user175999 Jul 19 '13 at 8:57
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That's pretty much it; you have to reformat to downgrade from ext4 to ext2. I'm not sure why you copied the home directory though.

  • As far as I am aware, this is where all my user files were and are located including ones that setup the OS the way I like it. (I use grub3 fall back with custom panels, visual effects, and gadgets) Also it is encrypted. – user175999 Jul 21 '13 at 7:22

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