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I'm not very familiar with the intricacies of Linux filesystems, and have minimal experience with formatting and mounting drives, so please excuse this noob question...

We recently upgraded a secondary ext4 drive on a production server, and it took a good 90 minutes for the mke2fs step. So I'm wondering if we could have done that step on a different server, to prepare the drive first, and then moved it to the final target server? There was a guid assigned to the drive at some point, and I'm wondering if that was somehow tied to the O.S. where the command was executed, or if it's completely fine to do this drive preparation elsewhere.

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Formatting a drive does not have any relation or specific tie to the computer that formatted it. The UUID (or guid) is not tied to the computer, but if you want a different one, you can always assign a new one with the computer you put it into using gparted. Right click on the partition/drive and select "new uuid". I've even installed full linux installations and moved the drive from one computer to another and been able to use it without a hitch, boot and all. Think of a drive, especially a linux based one, as almost universally portable.

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