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Old 09-25-2004, 10:40 AM   #1
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Is there a way to modify/edit/erase a file in a WinXP partition from within Linux?

Ok, so I did something really dumb: I put a timeout of zero to my boot.ini in WinXP because I did not wanted to wait for the Win XP boot loader to decide wether I wanted Linux or Win (I have been in linux for about 5 days, and liked it very much).

The problem is that I cannot enter Windows anymore, and there's where I have all my files. Windows simply goes directly to Linux (using lilo in graph mode, by the way) and trying to enter to Windows by selecting that option in lilo does not work either since it immediately bounces back to lilo (remember the 0 seconds timeout?).

I'm desperate. I have a laptop so I do not have a separate WinXP OS to boot my computer with, only the "quick rescue disks" that came with my system; which are basically an image of an empty computer and will erase everything if restored. So i figured out that if I can edit the boot.ini file form within linux I could enter again WinXP, but NTFS is read-only, or at least that is what the shell tells me. Cannot chmode either (tried), it gives me a warning about the file system.

I'm using Mandrake 10 KDE, I also have a Slaxx live CD, SuSE live CD, MandrakeMove and even a Gentoo live CD available, in case it is needed to boot from outisde the HD. I have a customer waiting for some info, so this is kind of urgent. I would really appreciate your help on this.
Old 09-25-2004, 10:52 AM   #2
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Use a Windows XP boot cd...
Do a Google Search for Bart's Prebuilder for Windows XP Boot disk. You can download the right software and then it'll allow you to compile an iso. When you use the disk, look for a program called Total Commander to edit your boot.ini file.
It might take some time to get it to work, but it does... I've used it and it's great. I've had trouble with boot.ini in the past and this is the only thing that I found that saved me.
all of the links you'll need are on this page

Last edited by rnice; 09-25-2004 at 11:45 AM.
Old 09-25-2004, 01:47 PM   #3
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OK, it worked with the previous suggestion. I found Bart's PE Builder at The problem was that it required a WinXP computer to build te ISO, so I went to my girlfriend's laptop (which did not have a floppy drive) and created it. My system is back to work. Still, the question remains... is there a way to write to a NTFS partition from within Linux?
Old 09-25-2004, 02:11 PM   #4
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Still, the question remains... is there a way to write to a NTFS partition from within Linux?
I believe its only experimental write support with the newest kernel. Not enough to convince me to write to NTFS. If you are concerned about your data on NTFS drive, dont write.
Old 09-25-2004, 02:17 PM   #5
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did you try mount -t ntfs..............?
Old 09-25-2004, 02:21 PM   #6
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The short answer to the question is no. NTFS is proprietary and Microsoft don't want to tell how it works. Because of that, every attempt at writing drivers for NTFS is extremely tedious.

One daring man tried a different approach:
It uses the Windows ntfs driver file and emulates the rest of the Windows environment for it. Excellent idea, but rumours has it there are some "issues" with it. (Haven't tried it myself.)

Old 09-25-2004, 02:56 PM   #7
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you can build kernel 2.6.x with option to be able to write on ntfs partition, but i wouldnt recommend... you have big chance to loose data, its still quite experimental
Old 09-25-2004, 07:16 PM   #8
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With Suse 9.1 I could at least read (over my network) from a machine running XP.

I didn't make a test in writing (but this story makes me curious and I'll try it), but I would suggest the following:

Do not overwrite any file. So write it back with another name, so you can test it out and in case of trouble throw it away.

To be safe, make a small vfat partition, copy from XP to vfat get it in Linux from VFAT and write it back........... then in XP read it from VFAT, or use a flop or usb stick with vfat.....


Last edited by CloudBuilder; 09-25-2004 at 07:20 PM.
Old 09-25-2004, 11:07 PM   #9
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I often write to my XP NTFS partition (and I don't care whether it survives, either) with kernel 2.6.8, NTFS write access turned on (as in compiled in the kernel). It can be done.


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