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I will be buying a 2TB hard drive soon, and would like to use it as media storage. I would like to be able to read/write from both Windows (version 7, 64bit) and Ubuntu Linux, and I need support for files greater than 4GB in size (so I think this rules out FAT32).

I'm using IFS drives at the moment to access my linux ext4 partitions, and I find it unstable. Does this mean NTFS? Is there something else I'm missing?

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marked as duplicate by Canadian Luke, Breakthrough, Moses, Tog, harrymc May 28 at 10:18

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4 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

There are tools for using ext* under windows... but I would recommend NTFS as the *x-driver is quite stable nowadays.

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What's the *x-driver ? –  George Profenza Jan 8 '11 at 12:32
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The package is called ntfs-3g. Depending on the Destribution you use you can find it in the repository. Or else: tuxera.com/community/ntfs-3g-download –  fakemustache Jan 9 '11 at 6:30
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First, there will be some problems of NTFS if you use it Linux:

  1. NTFS doesn't support file permission mode very well, so you'll lose the executable bit, setuid bit, etc.

  2. The ACL system in NTFS is not so comfortable with Linux, and YOU CAN'T DISABLE IT just like FAT32.

  3. Currently, the performance of NTFS implementation in Linux is a bit of slow. For example, I found it build a Maven project in NTFS is 3 more times slower then ext4.

Personally, I run Windows OS in VirtualBox, and make the virtual disk as a raw NTFS image, (see http://goo.gl/1I6gJ), Since the NTFS image now is in the raw format, rather then .VDI, you can access the NTFS by mount it directly, without power on the VM instance.

By using VirtualBox instead of Dual boots, there are several advantages:

  1. You don't have to convert your Linux partition to NTFS file system, in the VirtualBox, you can use Share Folder to access the host OS's file system. And it's very fast. Map to a drive letter if necessary.

  2. You can work on both OS concurrently, without restart to switch one to another.

  3. Your GRUB loader will never be overwritten by Windows. Windows always overwrite your boot record and never prompt you yes or no.

  4. You will pay more attention to Linux, and then you'll find the Linux way to do most of your work. In fact, I found it's rarely needed to turn on the Windows VM day after day. Because people are lazy to learn new things, if you installed dual systems, and Windows is just enough, why will you bother to boot into another OS?

I found this is the best way to make both Linux and Windows coexist. And now I have built several Windows VM instances for different usages, because I don't install too many softwares in each single VM, they are running fast and I don't feel too much difference then the non-virtual ones.

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Almost three years later... I really enjoyed your 4th point above! Is it correct that you can run Windows in VirtualBox (Linux host) and access (read/write) a shared folder on the Linux host (which is ext4)? –  DustByte Jan 16 at 11:19
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If you can't find a stable IFS driver then NTFS will be your only easy choice. NTFS is much more stable than it once was under Linux.

I've not used ext4 from Windows, but I've found IFS drivers stable enough for ext2/3 so you could try the older Linux filesystem variants.

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I suggest to consider UDF 2.01. It is natively supported by both Windows and Linux kernels.

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This appears to be a good solution to the question asked but your answer could do with a bit more detail for it to be a great answer. Do you have any experience using UDF on a hard disk? Are there any problems or benefits that might occur? How do you go about formatting the disk as UDF, can you do it in Windows or does it have to be done in Linux? –  Mokubai May 25 at 15:51
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@Mokubai format /FS:UDF, it will format to UDF 2.01 by default but also you can specify a version –  Anixx May 25 at 16:06
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