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Old 08-29-2003, 11:39 PM   #1
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Linux bootable CD that can mount NTFS?

Hey all,

Quick question.

Do any of you know of a CD based distro (like Slackware Live, DemoLinux etc...) that you can boot a server/PC off of and mount NTFS drives in read/write mode?

Old 08-30-2003, 12:13 AM   #2
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There is Knoppix Linux that can automatically mount NTFS as read-only during boot. The thing is, NTFS is such a closed-source filesystem, Open Source developers must guess how the NTFS file system works to write drivers for it. So far they've only figured out how to read NTFS drives safely. There is experimental read-write drivers for NTFS filesystems, but they are usually not included in distros, and must be manually compiled in the kernel. The developers of the open-source NTFS drivers state over and over that read-write support is strictly experimental and it is a 99% guarentee that you will destroy your NTFS partition.
Old 08-30-2003, 12:19 AM   #3
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With things like Slackware-Live and knoppix where you can customize the disc, I'd say yeah. Build your own kernel, customize the patches to have the read/write patch, and edit the fstab, save, create iso and burn. It's not downloadable as an iso, but it doesn't keep it from being live

Old 08-30-2003, 09:40 PM   #4
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As far as I am aware there is only one project to enable Linux to read/write NTFS and that is Linux NTFS Project @

Fully writing is not yet available safely but it is possible to overwrite files with other files that are the exact same size. You might want to read the following information from

3.2 Can the Driver write to an NTFS volume, too?

Not really, but if you only need to copy files from Linux to Windows on a dual-boot machine, see "How to write to NTFS" below for a possible way to work around the lack of write support. For write support in Linux, read on.

There are two drivers, currently. The original driver, in 2.4 has some write code in it, but it is extremely dangerous to use it. The possibility of destroying your filesystem is very high.

The new driver, introduced in 2.5.11, has some write code, but it's very limited. The driver can overwrite existing files, but it cannot change the length, add new or delete existing files.

Adding write support will take a long time. NTFS is built like a database. Any changes you make, necessitate making changes in many places, for consistancy. Make a mistake and the filesystem will be damaged, make too many mistakes and the filesystem will be destroyed. Also, the current developers are only working on NTFS as a hobby, during their free time. If you'd like to help, please email me:

How to write to NTFS. If you are using a dual-boot machine and just need NTFS write support to transfer files from Linux to Windows, you can instead use a Windows driver for ext2/ext3 and, while running Windows, read the files from the Linux partition instead. This way, using two read-only drivers, you can still copy files from one file system type to the other.

We know about these open source Windows drivers for ext2 and ext3 Linux filesystems, as of June 4th, 2003:
explore2fs -
Home page:
For Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.
ext2fsd -
Home page:
For Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.
winext2fsd -
Home page: winext2fsd project page
Reportedly works on Windows NT and Windows XP, likely also on Windows 2000.
ext2forxp -
Home page:
In early stages, not ready for use yet (June 4th, 2003).
vmware -
Home page:
VMWare allows you to run entire operating systems with other operating systems.
So, you could run Windows inside Linux and get it to write to NTFS partitions natively.
As safe as the Windows you're running, but it is expensive.
BTW: Knoppix seems to be able to do everything
Old 08-30-2003, 11:20 PM   #5
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Thanks all.

Given the crazy problem I had to stay over for two hours the other day.....

I was looking for a CD that I could give to my idiot boss and other dudes that I work with to boot a Windows Server up and copy and replace files with

I think I will have to try to do something with a CD that I make bootable myself. I'll at least have something to do for a while.

Thanks all for your help


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