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Old 12-14-2004, 12:32 PM   #1
Registered: Nov 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 191

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Linux, NTFS and FAT32

Well, I've been thinking about it for some time. Since I am running dual-boot machine and going to do it for long time it is quite a burning issue for me at the moment.

I want smooth exchange between WinXP and SuSE with possibility to write to my Win drives. At the moment I have three main options:

1. To convert my ntfs partitions into fat32

The downside it that ntsf is generally better than fat32.

2. Use embedded ntfs writting support

The downside is that it is extremely dangerous, I can lose all my data this way.

3. Use Captive or Paragon drivers

Captive is no longer being developed and as I heard very slow.

Paragon is not free and I do not want to pay a lot of money for it.

So I wonder what is the prospective. As I understand linux ntfs driver is being developed very slowly due to closeness of ntfs code and lack of any documentation. On the other hand I am still reluctant to convert ntfs to fat32.

What do you think?
Old 12-14-2004, 12:49 PM   #2
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Germany
Distribution: Debian (testing)
Posts: 276

Rep: Reputation: 33
I would say option 1 is your best bet (of the options listed). It can be difficult to goto FAT32 from NTFS however--you'll need something like partition magic because windows won't do it for you.

If it were me however, I would convert that NTFS partition to ext3 and dump Windows entirely.
Old 12-14-2004, 12:57 PM   #3
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: KY, USA
Distribution: Fedora Core 1
Posts: 190

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Solution + FAT32 faster


If you are talking about a personal desktop with only a single user FAT32 is good enough as long as you don't want to have a file > 4GB. FAT32 is faster than NTFS because it doesn't need the tons of permission checks and other stuff NTFS does. You can see the difference if you install Windows in a old computer and use NTFS, then reinstall and use FAT32.

Anyway, coming to your question, one good solution would be to convert just one of your partitions to a FAT32 partition, that way, you can still copy to windows and have NTFS as much as you like.

Hope it helps.

Old 12-14-2004, 01:37 PM   #4
Registered: Dec 2004
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 114

Rep: Reputation: 16
Don't forget that windows only allows up to 32Gb partitions using FAT32. You'll have to use something like partition magic or the ultimate boot disk (free utility) to get around it.
Old 12-15-2004, 01:41 AM   #5
Registered: Jul 2004
Location: Seattle
Distribution: Slackware 10.0
Posts: 38

Rep: Reputation: 15
Yeah, I am in the same predicament. I want to use programs like Mozilla Thunderbird and access my email files from both Windows and Linux. What I am going to do is keep my Windos OS directories for programs and such on a NTFS drive and repartition all of my music files, etc. onto a FAT32 partition. I think that is the simplest way to get around the problem, plus I already own Partition Magic which is a must have for a Linux newb.
Old 12-15-2004, 07:09 AM   #6
Registered: Nov 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 191

Original Poster
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I'd love to, but I cannot ditch Windows entirely because my family will start whining straight away. I am afraid that a lot of my son's games won't work on Linux even through wine. Also I need MS Office sometimes (namely Excel with VBA support). So I think I will convert my D drive partially or entirely into fat32 and put docs & settings there. I use Qtparted instead of Partition Magic. The later does not work on my PC for some reasons.

Do you think it will take ages to add wrtitting support for ntfs under Linux and by that time ntfs will be obsolete?

Last edited by foxy123; 12-15-2004 at 07:11 AM.


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