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Old 10-20-2006, 09:57 AM   #1
William Reading
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Hard Disk Access

To introduce myself I am very new to Linux and this forum the version I have is Ubuntu (the latest?)
I have a Mass storage device installed (an external hard drive), I can read it but I cannot write to it. I have tried to alter the user permission but it will not let me. I have looked and found that the disk is formatted in NTFS ($ sudo mount). I have read that there is difficulty writing to this formatted type. It is suggested that I might ask on a forum to see if anyone has come up with a cure, I really do not want to format it to another file system as there is a lot of information on it.

Part of the quote is as follows

If the file system is supported (ext3, VFAT, FAT16, FAT32) but you still can't access the disk, the file system may be corrupted. In cases such as this it makes sense to format the disk with a new file system.
Before you format your disk, make absolutely sure that you are happy to remove the entire contents of the disk. If you need the files on the disk, have a look around the Internet and post to the Ubuntu Forums to see if anyone else can help you before you format the disk. Formatting really is the last option you have available!

Thank you all William
Old 10-20-2006, 10:41 AM   #2
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Write access to a NTFS file system is still experimental. There is some code capable of doing it, but the results are not guaranteed. So, if you value your data, you need to back it up first. You should have it backup regardless, if it is important to you. In my opinion, you shouldn't even consider one of these experimental drivers unless you are an expert at linux.

Linux can write to fat32. One way is to resize your NTFS partition, and create a fat32 partition for file sharing. Copy the files to be shared with windbloze.

NTFS is windoze code, and it is proprietary, ie. Mr.Gates won't, and he doesn't share his code. The drivers that are around are reverse engineered. It takes a long time to get one working perfectly.
Old 10-20-2006, 10:45 AM   #3
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You won't be able to write to an ntfs drive from Linux and I have heard of people damaging their drives attempting to do this although I haven't had experience of that. You can certainly read from an ntfs drive though. I would recommend formatting it to FAT (vfat, fat32,..) as it will then be readable/writeable from both windows and linux. If you plan to use solely linux then you could format it to ext3.

Last edited by Broder; 03-13-2007 at 11:02 AM.
Old 10-20-2006, 12:56 PM   #4
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There is more than one version of NTFS. Microsoft keeps twiddling with it, and does not publish the specs, as it's a proprietary filesystem.

So there's the problem. Reading NTFS from Linux is easy and safe - the disk isn't written so there's no real chance for error. Reverse engineering NTFS read support has been done and works well. Writing to NTFS is a different story. Linux drivers for this do exist, but given the various undocumented flavors of NTFS, writing from Linux to NTFS is not guarranteed and could really screw the pooch for you. NTFS writing is experimental, and I'll go out on a limb and say it will always be experimental - due to the changing and proprietary nature of NTFS.

The best solution I've read about for Linux is called "Captive NTFS". What Linux does here is search your disk for the Windows drivers that handle NTFS, and uses those (not some reverse engineered Linux driver). Of course if you have a disk that is formatted NTFS, but does not have Windows installed, Linux won't be able to search out those NTFS drivers. I suspect this is the case for you since it's an external drive. Captive NTFS sounds much safer (in theory) for writing to NTFS than reverse engineered drivers.


The above explains some things, but doesn't hand you a solution. That's because there really isn't a good one. I would suggest:

(1) If you still need to read/write this disk from Windows, it will need to remain NTFS or be converted to FAT. There is no "conversion" per se, what that entails is copying all the data off the disk, reformatting the disk, and copying all the data back.

(2) If you really need to write to this disk from Linux AND from Windows, I'd say convert it to FAT32.

(3) If you don't really need to write very much to this disk from Linux, I'd just leave it NTFS and treat it as a read-only device. And live with the fact that Linux can't (shouldn't) write to it.

(4) If you no longer need to write to this disk from Windows, I'd "convert" it to some native Linux filesystem. EXT3 would be my personal choice, but there are others.

How much data do you have on this external disk? "Conversion" may be simple, or intensive, depending on the volume of data you have to deal with.
Old 10-21-2006, 03:20 AM   #5
William Reading
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Re Disk Drive

Thank you all for your replies, I know no the situation and can make my plans accordinally. If in future I have to reformat my hard drive I wil make sure it is not in NTFS format as it seems so restrictive

Regares William
Old 10-23-2006, 09:40 AM   #6
William Reading
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Hello again hope I am doing it correct by posting this in here also I feel a little silly keep asking questions. Further to the above, I havelow level formatted my spare hard drive (USB mass storage). When I go into ubuntu I cannot see the drive. I have searched and found it under Filesystem it is dev/sda hard drive 111.79 GiB. With there are not any partitions on this disk. I think this disk is unallocated and require formatting, I have been looking for a program in ubuntu to do this with also looked in the help files. Can somone tell me how to format in Linux. The other thing is I beleive there is a program call FS Drive that permits Windows to be read from a Linux formatted disk

Thank you once again William

Last edited by William Reading; 10-23-2006 at 09:43 AM.
Old 10-23-2006, 10:32 AM   #7
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fdisk or cfdisk to create partitions
mkfs to create a file system..

cfdisk /dev/sda

Create a partition if it will be used ONLY for Linux you can format the partiton EXT3

mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda1

If you wish to use the Drive in Windows AND Linux then you should format the Drive as FAT 32

mkfs.vfat /dev/sda1

Last edited by farslayer; 10-23-2006 at 10:33 AM.
Old 10-31-2006, 06:52 AM   #8
William Reading
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Hello again
This time I hope I find the correct place to post this.
I am a newbie I have Ubuntu Dapper Drake – My problem, I am trying to install a package that I have on my desktop, Package xfe – when I try to install it with package installer I get a message in red Dependency is not satisfiable: libfox1.4. I have have installed this package (libfox). I have traced it to usr/share/doc/libfox1.4-doc in the file system, so it seems to be there. Why then does xfe return the error message and how can I install xfe. Thank you for any assistance that you can give.
Regards William
Old 10-31-2006, 03:23 PM   #9
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Use apt, or aptitude to install the package and automatically take care of dependancies.

apt-get update
apt-get install xfe

IBM-300GL-1:~# apt-get install xfe --simulate
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  libcupsys2 libfox1.4
Suggested packages:
Recommended packages:
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  libcupsys2 libfox1.4 xfe
0 upgraded, 3 newly installed, 0 to remove and 46 not upgraded.
Inst libcupsys2 (1.2.4-2+b1 Debian:testing)
Inst libfox1.4 (1.4.34-1 Debian:testing)
Inst xfe (0.88-3.1 Debian:testing)
Conf libcupsys2 (1.2.4-2+b1 Debian:testing)
Conf libfox1.4 (1.4.34-1 Debian:testing)
Conf xfe (0.88-3.1 Debian:testing)
you can search apt to see what libfox versions are available..

default@IBM-300GL-1:~$ apt-cache search libfox
libfox1.4 - The FOX C++ GUI Toolkit
libfox1.4-dev - Development files for the FOX C++ GUI Toolkit
libfox1.4-doc - Documentation of the FOX C++ GUI Toolkit

Last edited by farslayer; 10-31-2006 at 03:30 PM.


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