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What are ntfsprogs, libntfs10, ntfs-3g in Linux used for?

Can I do something else with NTFS, other than formatting? I can even do this without these libraries.

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It's used for reading and writing to NTFS filesystems. This is handy if you have a system that must dual-boot with Windows, but even handier to be able to do system recovery and analysis/forensics on Windows systems by mounting their drives with Linux.

Prior to ntfs-3g, as best as I recall, NTFS support in Linux was mostly read-only, with some experimental implementations that could mount a volume as read/write. But full read/write support is excellent.

Perhaps someone else may can address the granularity with which Linux can handle NTFS permission, as they differ quite a bit from standard Unix permissions (without file ACL's enabled). I don't have much experience with that.

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ntfsprogs are a series of applications for working with ntfs file systems - much like e2fsprogs

from the man page, this includes

mkntfs(8) - Create an NTFS filesystem.

ntfscat(8) - Dump a file's content to the standard output.

ntfsclone(8) - Efficiently clone, backup, restore or rescue NTFS.

ntfscluster(8) - Locate the files which use the given sectors or clusters.

ntfscmp(8) - Compare two NTFS filesystems and tell the differences.

ntfscp(8) - Copy a file to an NTFS volume.

ntfsfix(8) - Check and fix some common errors, clear the LogFile and make Windows perform a thorough check next time it boots.

ntfsinfo(8) - Show information about NTFS or one of the files or directories within it.

ntfslabel(8) - Show, or set, an NTFS filesystem's volume label.

ntfsls(8) - List information about files in a directory residing on an NTFS.

ntfsresize(8) - Resize NTFS without losing data.

ntfsundelete(8) - Recover deleted files from NTFS.

and libntfs10 is the library all this software uses.

While there were previous NTFS drivers, including a kernel one, most NTFS implementations on linux are userspace. These drivers allow for mounting the NTFS file system and using it much like any other filesystem. Of these captive NTFS was the most common - it was a wrapper for the windows ntfs driver, but was replaced by ntfs-3g which is a standalone driver, that works with FUSE. Its faster and more reliable than the other options.

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You need a ntfs library to format ntfs filesystems in linux. You can also mount ntfs filesystems (to read/write data) when these libraries are installed. I've only heard of ntfs-3g though, it's always worked well for me.

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