I have an internal hard drive that was a dual boot of Windows and Ubuntu 12.04 and I would like to use it as an external hard drive, but if I mount it using ubuntu machine I can see different folders but can't find any of my documents, if using windows I cannot actually see it open.

A snapshot of my screen

Any idea how to overcome that or at least, how to format it so I can use it as external hd.

closed as unclear what you're asking by don.joey, Eliah Kagan, Tim, Warren Hill, Eric Carvalho Aug 27 '14 at 21:40

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Two things: In all the files you see, can you click on a folder called home. Do you then see the files? Are the files on your ubuntu or on windows? – don.joey Aug 23 '14 at 7:34
  • In all the files I see there are no home folders. I can see both ubuntu and windows folders but can't access any of the documents – jambar Aug 23 '14 at 10:59
  • Can you post a screenshot of what you see? (without too much personal info of course) – don.joey Aug 23 '14 at 11:39
  • ![A snapshot of my screen][1] [1]: i.stack.imgur.com/6U8Wz.png – jambar Aug 23 '14 at 13:04
  • Ok can you tell us what you expected to see? I mean what files are you looking for? – don.joey Aug 23 '14 at 13:09

To format your drive open a terminal and run this

sudo apt-get install gparted

Once installed run it from the dash. Now find the drive whitch you want to format from the top right drop down. Then right click and unmount it, now right click and format to, then use NTFS if you need windows compatability, or ext-4 if you do not,as a file system and click the apply button (green tick).


  • 1
    Please do not follow this advice because, as mark says: it will delete all data on your drive. This is not a solution to your problem. – don.joey Aug 23 '14 at 7:33
  • He asked "how to format the drive" it is a answer to his question a down vote is unnecessary – Mark Kirby Aug 23 '14 at 7:38
  • For me the question is insufficiently clear to answer it with the clarity you have answered it. Sorry for the downvote (of fake internet point), I'll see whether you have something valuable that should be upvoted, but this really deserves my downvote. – don.joey Aug 23 '14 at 7:47
  • You are wrong did you not read his post ? Here is a direct quote "Any idea how to overcome that or at least, how to format it so I can use it as external hd" – Mark Kirby Aug 23 '14 at 7:49
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    You are right mark, I did ask for formatting but would definitely use it as a last option – jambar Aug 23 '14 at 11:08

Your windows documents will be in the folder Users\Documents and Settings\(username). Your Ubuntu documents will be in the folder /home/(username). Back up the files you want to keep, and then format the entire drive as NTFS. Then copy your documents back in.

BTW, the screenshot you posted is showing your Windows partition only. Your Ubuntu partition is probably either the "732GB Volume" or the "41 GB volume" on the left-hand side. (Different partitions show up as different volumes.)

  • Thanks, but the 732GB is a partition of the actual device am using to save work and can be seen both in windows and ubuntu. The different partitions for the external hd are DATA, 410GB and 209MB – jambar Aug 25 '14 at 18:03
  • @Julia ok, then click whichever one is your Ubuntu partition and your user files should be in /home/username. – tlng5 Aug 25 '14 at 21:14

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