Here's the use case: I dual boot Windows and Linux. There are heaps of files that I share between them (one example would be about 65GB of snaps). I therefore need a partition that at the very minimum:

  1. Linux can read and write
  2. Windows can read

Ideally, I'd like both OSes to be able to read and write to it. Obviously, this depends on how I format the partition. I'm currently using NTFS.

So, does anyone know of an alternative way of doing it? Speed is not a concern. Accessibility of the data is. Secondary to that is the best possible use of the available space.

Options I've already tried:

  1. An ext3 parition with ext2fsd on Windows. Not good enough because I've had BSODs while trying to copy heaps of folders simultaneously
  2. Multiple FAT32 partitions. NTFS is better.

asked 09 May '10, 21:45

carleeto's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

you've already answered your question. you are using NTFS and this is the easiest way.

(10 May '10, 03:01) Web31337

Your best bet is to stick to using NTFS. Most modern Linux desktop distributions I know of (such as Ubuntu for example), will automatically mount an NTFS partition when you access it through the Places menu for example. If you need something to auto-mount an NTFS drive on boot there are a number of utilities to GUI this for you. You can install this in Ubuntu for example by entering in terminal:

sudo apt-get install ntfs-config

And then running it to help configure these drives for auto-mount by typing:

gksudo ntfs-config

You cannot, unfortunately use ext3 or ext4 as Windows (even Windows 7) provides no support for these formats.

Good luck.


answered 10 May '10, 14:03

Gareth's gravatar image

accept rate: 62%


Ext3 and ext4 partitions can be mounted in Windows in ext2 mode using the ext2fs driver.

(10 May '10, 16:38) ranxxerox

Yep. I did have read/write access to an ext3 partition on Windows using ext2fsd as mentioned. However, like I said, I got BSODs and had to stop using it.

(10 May '10, 21:32) carleeto

ext2fs is a kludgy hack to try and get very very limited support for ext into Windows. Really the only way to do that is for Microsoft to add support into Windows 7, but I think we all know what Microsoft is like implementing technologies that they didn't create.

(11 May '10, 05:13) Gareth

Try this: Ext2 Installable File System For Windows


answered 12 May '10, 15:16

Ron's gravatar image

Ron ♦
accept rate: 13%

That works for me

(14 May '10, 00:12) smeezekitty

Excellent!!! :)

(14 May '10, 17:27) Ron ♦

Are you running into problems with NTFS? I've done this for years just using NTFS and haven't had any problems. IMO just keep doing what you're doing.


answered 13 May '10, 14:22

JD50's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

If read-only access is OK fir you, there are also linux fs reader software available for windows. they do not mount the partition as a disk drive but allows you to browse the ext2(3,4) partition and copy files from there.


answered 13 May '10, 20:48

atilla's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Linux Handles NTFS with ease - You might as well do it that way unless you can have a server you mount via SAMBA or preferably NFS.

Keeping it local to the machine itself in a dual boot environment pretty much means using the least common denominator for both systems - NTFS.


answered 15 May '10, 12:15

tallship's gravatar image

accept rate: 20%

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Asked: 09 May '10, 21:45

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Last updated: 15 May '10, 12:15

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