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Is NTFS support stable enough to use safely?

I believe you have to install an additional package to make it work.

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5 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It's because almost every distribution uses the NTFS-3G driver:

The NTFS-3G driver is used by over 240 distributions. Many, like Fedora, Mandriva, openSUSE and Ubuntu with over 8 million users, use NTFS-3G as the default NTFS driver.

=> NTFS driver for Linux

And yes, it's stable :-)

Do you know why I can't see an option to format partitions like that while installing?

Do you mean the access to your Windows partition from an already installed Linux OS, or do you want a fresh Linux installation? There should be an option to erase/format your old (NTFS-)Partition/s while installing a fresh Ubuntu/Fedora/...

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It is strange, but when I tried to format it during the installer, I couldn't see NTFS, but when I opened GParted I could –  Casebash Aug 31 '09 at 23:34
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Why should it be useful to format a partition with NTFS while installing a linux distribution? You can't create an Ext3/4 partition with your Windows install CD, can you? ;-) –  Milde Sep 1 '09 at 7:24
    
Yes it is stable, but unless you want to rescue your data, beware of 64 Bit windows vista... –  Quandary Jun 2 '10 at 10:15
    
@quandary, what is the problem with 64-bit versions of Windows, NTFS and NTFS-3G? –  Mircea Chirea Jun 27 '10 at 19:21
    
You can read and write the data on the 64-Bit ntfs partition, but sometimes, windows won't start anymore afterwards (actually you needn't be reading/writing anything, mounting is enough...) ... –  Quandary Jul 2 '10 at 18:01
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Rule of thumb: do not rely on NTFS if you use Linux. Lots of claims that ntfs-3g is stable. This is totally wrong.

NTFS is a closed filesystem. There are no open specifications of it. Everything that ntfs-3g can do was achieved by reverse engineering. So if it works reasonably well in many scenarios, this is not a reason to consider it stable and reliable.

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Although this is the opposite of the general consensus, I found it very insightful. –  Dean Rather Jan 22 '10 at 6:04
    
And beware of NTFS when accessing 64 Bit Windows Vista (unless you want to rescue your data) –  Quandary Jun 2 '10 at 10:16
    
-1. ntfs-3g is considered stable. That means it does not undergo major changes, but it is still maintained and works as documented with recent environments. This is very different from "will not cause data loss", on that point all bets are off, both for ntfs-3g and Microsoft's ntfs.sys. The rest of your argument makes no sense unless the filesystem is being shared/moved between ntfs-3g and Windows, which the OP does not mention. –  Eroen Apr 17 '12 at 13:49
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+1 I'm using NTFS to share VMs and code and it has caused me pains by corrupting VMs. This experience was sometimes during 2011. –  Henrik Jun 17 '12 at 18:55
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Yes, the NTFS support in Ubuntu is stable. ntfs-3g is the standard driver used for NTFS access in linux.

However, you should be aware of one point before you use NTFS on linux:

Note that all three userspace drivers, namely NTFSMount, NTFS-3G and Captive NTFS, are built on the Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE), a Linux kernel module tasked with bridging userspace and kernel code to save and retrieve data. Almost all drivers listed above (except Paragon NTFS for Linux) are open source (GPL). Due to the complexity of internal NTFS structures, both the built-in 2.6.14 kernel driver and the FUSE drivers disallow changes to the volume that are considered unsafe, to avoid corruption.

The above is taken from the Wikipedia NTFS page. I ran into this issue once, where some operation accessing the NTFS drive hung, and I had to terminate the call. From then on, I couldn't get the NTFS drive mounted on Ubuntu as it kept telling me the drive was not in a fit state to be used. I had to attach the drive to a Windows machine and boot up into Windows, and then the drive could be mounted on Ubuntu again.

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Yes,NTFS is perfectly stable on Ubuntu since i started using it back in June 2008

I can do whatever I want with my NTFS partitions

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No, it works out of the box in Ubuntu 9.04 and it is considered stable. It won't let you mount partition if Windows is hibernated though but you can do that yourself from command line only please do that in read only mode.

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Do you know why I can't see an option to format partitions like that while installing? –  Casebash Aug 31 '09 at 11:54
    
BTW performance wise I wouldn't suggest using NTFS for anything except copying files to Windows and back, it sis really slow. Any other Linux native fs would do circles around ntfs there. –  vava Aug 31 '09 at 12:34
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Forget what I said, you can format NTFS partition from Linux but you have to install ntfsprogs for that. As for why there's no option to format to NTFS in Ubuntu installer, I'd say because no one thinks it is a good idea :) XFS and ReiserFS are just better. –  vava Aug 31 '09 at 12:44
    
Is it better than FAT 32 though for files that need to be accessed from both Windows and Linux? –  Casebash Aug 31 '09 at 23:31
    
@Casebash, well, doesn't really matter it is fast enough for everything just not as fast as native fs. –  vava Sep 1 '09 at 2:25
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