NTFS-3g HowTo

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We will learn how to mount a Windows NTFS partition as writable (and readable) under Debian Linux. As you must have noticed that under GNOME, Debian mounts your Windows NTFS partition as only readable using gnome-volume-manager package. However this is not very useful if you want to copy some data to your Windows partition in Linux. Let’s get started...

Find your Windows NTFS partition

First you need to find out what is the partition number of your NTFS partition. You can use any tool like fdisk or cfdisk.

Using fdisk:

~ # fdisk -l | grep -i ntfs
/dev/sda1   *      1     3315    26627706    7  HPFS/NTFS
~ #

or using cfdisk:

~ # cfdisk /dev/sda
cfdisk - NTFS partition

In this example, the NTFS partition is /dev/sda1. You can substitute your own.

Check if your kernel as FUSE support

Note: If you are using the default Debian Lenny kernel (2.6.26) that gets installed then you can skip this step and go to Step 3.

In case if you are like me using a custom compiled kernel then you need to check first if FUSE support is there in your kernel or not. Give the following command:

# cat /boot/config-2.6.26-custom | grep FUSE

You should either get:

CONFIG_FUSE_FS=m
or

CONFIG_FUSE_FS=y

If you do not see any one of the above output then you will need to re-compile your kernel with FUSE support.

Install ntfs-3g utility

To mount NTFS as read-write you will need the ntfs-3g utility from the Linux-NTFS project.

~ # apt-get update
~ # apt-get install ntfs-3g

Mount your NTFS partition

Finally we can mount our NTFS partition as readable and writable by giving the following command:

~ # mkdir /mnt/windows
~ # mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /mnt/windows

Note: You can see if the partition mounted correctly or not by giving following command:

~ # ls /mnt/windows
AUTOEXEC.BAT            pagefile.sys  setup.log      Shortcut to Desktop.lnk
boot.ini                Garmin        PDOXUSRS.NET   System Volume Information
Config.Msi              IO.SYS        Program Files  TEMP
CONFIG.SYS              MSDOS.SYS     Quarantine     WINDOWS
Demo Album              NTDETECT.COM  RECYCLER       YServer.txt
Documents and Settings  ntldr         SETUP
~ #

Mount NTFS partition on every boot automatically

Instead of giving mount command (like above) every time we boot into Linux, we can make this mount permanent so that the NTFS partition will mount automatically every time you boot into your Linux system. Just add the following line to your /etc/fstab file:

/dev/sda1   /mnt/windows   ntfs-3g   defaults      0  0

Save the file and next boot the NTFS partition will be mounted automatically.

You can un-mount the partition by giving the standard command:

~ # umount /dev/sda1

Happy writing to your NTFS partition.

Note: There might be other solutions/ways to mount NTFS as writable but I have not tried those...