Formatting single partition using router

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Boffinboy

Occasional Visitor
Hi All, I am having issues getting time machine to work on my XT8 with an external USB HDD. I want to try using the router to format it and see if this resolves the issue (have tried formatting it using a Mac, was visible on time machine but would never back up). The drive currently has multiple partitions, which I would like to retain. If I use the router to format the drive will it format the whole drive? Is there a way to format only one partition?
 

toaruScar

Regular Contributor
In my experience TM works best with EXT4 filesystem. I've tried to have the router format external disk as HFS or NTFS, both of which worked for less than a week, then the Health Scanner reports integrity problem of the filesystem. This problem occured on two HDDs, and one of them is brand new.

To format a partition, and to format a partition as EXT4 are beyond the web GUI. You'll have to SSH into the router to format it, or mount the disk to a desktop.
 

Boffinboy

Occasional Visitor
In my experience TM works best with EXT4 filesystem.

thanks for the suggestion. I formatted to ext4 on a desktop and the drive is not visible in time machine at all on the Mac. When formatted as HFS+ by the Mac it would see the time machine share from the router but would never actually back up to it.
 

toaruScar

Regular Contributor
I formatted to ext4 on a desktop and the drive is not visible in time machine at all on the Mac.
Are you saying the drive is not visible to macOS when the disk is directly attached to your mac, or that after attaching the disk to the router, and enabling TM function on the router for the this EXT4 partition, your macs still don't see it?
 

Boffinboy

Occasional Visitor
that after attaching the disk to the router, and enabling TM function on the router for the this EXT4 partition, your macs still don't see it?

the latter. When I formatted to HFS+ on Mac, then attached to router and enabled time machine on router it was visible to the Mac but would never actually backup. Now formatted to ext4 and connected to router with TM enable it’s not even visible to select in time machine on the Mac.
 

toaruScar

Regular Contributor
Now formatted to ext4 and connected to router with TM enable it’s not even visible to select in time machine on the Mac.
Did you by any chance disable Samba sharing in the share settings? Samba needs to be enabled for TM function to work on a non-HFS partition.
 

Boffinboy

Occasional Visitor
Thank you. Don’t know how I missed that tab. It’s enabled. Will try formatting to HFS+ on Mac again and then give up if it doesn’t work... don’t want to risk messing up my other partitions by trying to format using router and more important to have a time machine that works.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
the latter. When I formatted to HFS+ on Mac, then attached to router and enabled time machine on router it was visible to the Mac but would never actually backup. Now formatted to ext4 and connected to router with TM enable it’s not even visible to select in time machine on the Mac.
You need to format ext4 partitions using the router's command line. If you use another device, like a PC, it typically creates attributes that the router doesn't support and the router will refuse to mount the drive.

To format /dev/sda2 as ext4 first SSH/Telnet into the router and confirm the partition is not mounted. Then format as follows:
Code:
# df -h

# fdisk -l /dev/sda

# mke2fs -t ext4 /dev/sda2

# tune2fs -L "yourDiskLabel" /dev/sda2
Then reboot the router.


https://github.com/RMerl/asuswrt-merlin.ng/wiki/Disk-formatting
 

Boffinboy

Occasional Visitor
Thanks all for the suggestions. No Merlin for XT8. Surprising how difficult getting advertised features to work is! Unfortunately my XT8s seem to be full of problems...
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
You don't need Merlin to format a partition. That wiki page just had some useful background information.
 

Boffinboy

Occasional Visitor
You don't need Merlin to format a partition. That wiki page just had some useful background information.
Ah, thank you. When I had formatted as ext4 via PC it did mount OK on the router. I may give formatting locally a try but it does seem silly that it’s necessary to SSH in to the router to get things like this to work...
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
If it was mounting it successfully before with ext4 then it's probably nothing to do with this then. The issue I was describing manifested itself by the router not being able to mount the partition.
 

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