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I want to install Debian Wheezy on a disk which has a Windows XP NTFS partition (/dev/sda1).

I don't want to do anything to the partition, just get the installer to recognise it and make an entry for it in /etc/fstab. The installer can do this with many other types of partition. What should I do?

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IIRC, you have to run Debian off of an ext3/ext4 partition. – Breakthrough Aug 26 '11 at 15:39
@Breakthrough: People used to install Linux to FAT partitions. The only real requirement is that the filesystem can store owner/group/permission data. – grawity Aug 26 '11 at 17:23
I'm a bit puzzled: the requirement is not satisfied by FAT. Anyway I'm only interested in getting convenient access to my NTFS partition from Debian (installed in ext3 partitions). – R S Chakravarti Aug 26 '11 at 17:55
@R: Linux used to have a special filesystem called umsdos which would provide such features for FAT filesystems. (On NTFS it's much easier, no special hacks required.) – grawity Aug 28 '11 at 20:03

If all you want is access to the partition after you've installed Wheezy in a different partition, then just manually add the entry to the fstab file after you've performed the install. If you're trying to install Wheezy onto the ntfs partition then you can't since it doesn't support all the permissions necessary.

EDIT the general syntax is something like

/dev/hda2 /media/win ntfs-3g umask=0,nls=utf8 0 0

but I'm not 100% certain, where hda2 is the partition and /media/win is the folder you want to mount it to.

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Thanks. Would you please write out the fstab line? – R S Chakravarti Aug 26 '11 at 17:55
It is recommended these days to use the UUID instead of the device name, if possible. This would mean that if you change your IDE configuration, say moving the current HDA to become HDB, the partition woudl still mount. – CarlF Aug 26 '11 at 18:49
It is also recommended to use the ntfs-3g driver instead of ntfs. – grawity Aug 28 '11 at 20:05

I think this is not possible, for several reasons:

  • There is no read/write support for NTFS in kernel space, only in user space with ntfs-3g.
  • NTFS has a different permission system like the traditional Linux-FS like ext2/3/4, xfs, reiserfs...
  • Bootloader probably cant be installed on ntfs, at least this was true with grub, dont know about grub2
  • and probably other reasons I dont think about

Can you explain why you want to do that?

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ntfs-3g is able to store POSIX permissions (as NTFS ACLs), the driver could be put in the initramfs, and the kernel+initramfs+bootloader could use a separate /boot as is common usage. – grawity Aug 26 '11 at 17:24
I don't want to install Debian in the NTFS partition. I just want convenient access to it. Col (above) says I can make an entry in fstab. – R S Chakravarti Aug 26 '11 at 17:55

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