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dave bean 10-12-2003 12:08 PM

accessing windows partition from linux partition
I know its impossible to read the linux partition from windows but i read somewhere its possible to read a ntfs partition from a linux partition. I currently have a dual boot and if i could transfer data from my windows xp partiition to my linux partiton without having to put data on cd's etc that would be very useful.

Can anyone help out, or point me to any resources that can explain how this is done? Im using redhat 9.


Toker 10-12-2003 12:16 PM

Assuming windows was the first thing installed, did you look in the /mnt/ directory? There should be a 'win_c' or something like that in there. That would be the windows partition.

Skyline 10-12-2003 12:20 PM

Red Hat currently doesn’t include a NTFS driver because of uncertainties surrounding the legal status of the driver

So - to READ a NTFS partition from Red Hat, you can either:
  • Download and install an RPM – or
  • Compile your kernel

Check out this site for an RPM

2nd -

You'll need to create a mount point as root user with

mkdir /mnt/windows

Then put a line in /etc/fstab - modify this one to include the device name for your Windows partition:

/dev/hda1 /mnt/windows ntfs umask=0222,auto,ro 0 0

Incidentally - you can use Explore2fs from Win XP to get access to Linux filesystems - check out this site for more info:

dave bean 10-12-2003 12:22 PM

ok thanks, ill get on it now. Also sorry to the mods, someone just made a very similar post about 10 mins before, i didn't see it when i posted this though.

dave bean 10-12-2003 03:50 PM

hi again
how can i see my partition table ? I thought fdisk from the shell would bring this up. i know what my ntfs partition is called but while i was editing usr/fstab (incidentally what does fstab stand for?) i noticed my swap partion is on hda4. I have only the one hard disk so this is confusing.

If i can see the partition table under linux i can see how i need to edit the ntfs entry.


quatsch 10-12-2003 04:00 PM

fdisk -l /dev/hda

will give you the partition table of hda.

DMR 10-12-2003 05:09 PM


Originally posted by dave bean
hi again
how can i see my partition table ?

As mentioned by quatsch.


Originally posted by dave bean
(incidentally what does fstab stand for?)
File System Table.


Originally posted by dave bean
i noticed my swap partion is on hda4. I have only the one hard disk so this is confusing.
Not at all; hda4 indicates the 4th primary partition on your Primary Master IDE drive (hda).


Skyline 10-12-2003 06:07 PM

Remember to use

su -

(su with a space then a dash after it - to get Root user's PATH to get access to fdisk)

dalek 10-12-2003 07:39 PM

Word of caution
Make sure you don't mount as writeable. The line that Skyline suggested is correct. It will be read only. Do not try to write to NTFS. You can really hose the system.

Skyline: I didn't know you were supposed to put a '-' after su. I never did and it worked fine. Just tried it. Yours different somehow? :confused:

Might I suggest that you have a small partition that is fat32. Both Linux and NTFS can read/write to that. That is safe.

Hope that helps.

:D :D :D

Skyline 10-12-2003 11:32 PM


Skyline: I didn't know you were supposed to put a '-' after su. I never did and it worked fine. Just tried it. Yours different somehow?
Yes - in Red Hat using su on its own gives you a typical ordinary users PATH - fdisk typically isnt in an ordinary users PATH - however - su dash gives you a typical root users PATH with directories such as /sbin ..........

dalek 10-12-2003 11:40 PM

I thought there may be something different. I have used fdisk and cfdisk before with no problems. Guess Mandrake is different from Redhat. Need to remember that. Crap, no room left in my brain. Need to throw out something. I know, I'll throw out some of that windoze crap. I don't use it anyway. :D

Later guys, and gals. Any gals out there? Never mind ;) ;)

:D :D :D :D

dave bean 10-13-2003 01:06 PM

thanks everyone. Skyline u're totally right about the su - , i'd been using su and then wondering why i STILL didn't have root access. I've edited fstab and but i still cant mnt windows partition, maybe i edited it wrongly. Skyline u said to modify this line to include the device name for the windows partition. So i typed

/dev/hda1 /mnt/windows hpfs/ntfs umask=0222,auto,ro 0 0

If the device name is simply hda1 then i have modified fstab and when i reboot i see 'fail' and 'fs type hpfs/ntfs not supported by kernel' . (I also tried simply with ntfs)

Also will windows be mounted as soon as i get the right commmand in fstab or do i have to keep rebooting.


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Skyline 10-13-2003 05:28 PM

Hi Dave:

You just need ntfs in the 3rd field of fstab not hpfs/ntfs.

The device name of your Windows partition would just be something like





incidentally - whats the output of

fdisk -l

and yes - when the correct line is in fstab Windows will be mounted at boot up each time you boot.

wahwah 10-13-2003 05:56 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by dalek
> Later guys, and gals. Any gals out there? Never mind ;) ;)

Yes, there are :) :)

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