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I guess this question is already answered but could not find the solution. I have a USB hard disk connected to a remote linux machine and I want to mount that hard disk. What would happen if I mount it with a different filesystem? e.g what would happen if the USB hard disk is ext3 and I mount it as a ntfs? would I loose all my data?

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closed as off-topic by MadHatter, Iain, Chopper3, mdpc, Jenny D Mar 9 '14 at 19:06

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Usually, you can't; file systems have structures that have to be accessed to mount them (eg, for ext[2-4], the superblock). If the FS code can't read those structures, it knows the FS is not that type of FS, and will normally refuse to mount it. – MadHatter Mar 7 '14 at 11:02
up vote 1 down vote accepted

What would happen is the error message "bad superblock" (or something like it). A filesystem has some "magic" data it puts at specific parts of the block device (different for each filesystem) and if it's not there, the mount program says "sorry, this isn't the filesystem you told me it was" and refuses to mount it.

On Windows, if it's a filesystem the OS doesn't recognize, it generally offers you the option to format the device, but that requires your interaction. On Linux/BSD/etc., the mount program will just fail.

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thanks Bandrami, now I understand, sorry I'm still learning Linux... – Manuel Sopena Ballesteros Mar 8 '14 at 0:32

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