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Linux Annoyances for Geeks by Michael Jang

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I Need to Work with Microsoft-Formatted Partitions

Users who continue to run Microsoft Windows on dual-boot systems with Linux need access to Windows filesystems from Linux. Even users in the process of converting to Linux may retain important files on Microsoft-formatted partitions and want to read or write them from Linux. Naturally, you'll want to encourage users to run Linux whenever possible. Therefore, you'll need to help your users access Microsoft partitions from Linux on a local computer. Samba is no help in this case because it offers access to filesystems on running operating systems, not on alternative operating systems that haven't been booted.

Linux has no problems with local partitions formatted as one of the various File Allocation Table (FAT) filesystems. You can read and write files to any partition with this format. If the FAT partition is available on a local hard drive, you can mount that partition like any Linux partition on that computer. Read and write access to such partitions are enabled by default in current Linux kernels.

Unfortunately, Linux does not work as well with the various Microsoft New Technology File Systems (NTFS). It's easy enough to mount an NTFS partition. Current Linux kernels allow you to read and copy files from such partitions. However, writing to an NTFS partition with current Linux distributions puts all the files on that partition at risk, due to corruption. But there is another option based on Jan Kratochvil's Captive NTFS system. ...

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