I am looking for the most storage-efficient way to dual boot windows and linux with linux being the 'primary' OS. I had an idea, that maybe I can create a very small partition that is just big enough to fit windows on it, and the rest of the disk would be linux (Manjaro 19). I thought that if I could automatically mount the linux partition in windows after boot, then maybe I could move the ProgFiles, ProgFilesx86 and Users folders on the linux partition, and I could still use my windows whenever I wanted to, but all the new programs and user data would reside in a special folder in the linux fs.

Maybe I could even merge the two home directories into one by linking the windows user folder to /home/me.

I've seen a tool called "ExtFS for Windows" that is supposed to be a good and fast filesystem driver for ext4 partitions, but obviously it should mount the linux partition immediately after booting windows, before any data is accessed from the mentioned folders.

Is this possible, and if so, how difficult would it be to achieve, would it be stable and reliable? How seriously would it impact read/write speeds on windows?

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I thought I would ask before I start experimenting, because if I mess something up, it could be fatal. I guess I could also set up a dual boot env. in virtualbox to test this, but I would rather ask the supersuers before wasting my time.

1 Answer 1


The Ext2Fsd driver for ext type partitions and Windows is not reliable and has caused much data loss. I have not seen a third party review of the product since when the developer said he fixed it. I have, however, lost about 250 GB of files using it as the documentation prescribed. Fortunately, I had backups.

Also, ext4 (and its predecessors, ext2 and ext3 don't store the metadata which Windows wants to see about a file. NTFS does.

Instead, I would install Windows, downsize its C: drive partition, create another NTFS partition (D:) for media, downloads, and data. Move all such files to D:, and downsize C: again.

Then, install Linux, and after installation completes, set it up to mount the D: partition with every boot.

Make sure not to enable Hibernation or Fast Start in Windows as those will prevent access to the shared data partition.

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