I have a 2tb external harddrive which I use mainly on Windows 7. I have 2 separate hard drives in my computer, one for Windows 7 and the other for Ubuntu. My hard drive was working fine until I tried to use it on Ubuntu. There was no problem when I try to access the harddrive on Ubuntu but when I switched back to Windows 7, I cannot access it anymore.

On Windows 7, I see my drive and the letter in My Computer but when I try to open it, it tries to load and eventually freezes the "My Computer" window. This then causes my "system" to crash and I need to restart.

My hard drive works perfectly fine on Ubuntu but I can't open it on Windows 7. I have tried the manage Hard Drive utility on windows 7 but it gets stuck in the "detecting drives" and eventually freezes.

I formatted the drive to NTFS because I thought it would be compatible for both OS.

This has happened to me before and I fixed it by copying everyone over to another hard drive on Ubuntu. This is really an inconvenient because the drive is pretty big.

Does anyone know what is causing this? And maybe a possible fix?

  • 2
    Is there just one partition? What kind of partition table is installed, e.g. GUID or DOS MBR? What program/OS did you use to "format" this drive?
    – sawdust
    Feb 16 '13 at 3:33
  • Just one partition, but 2 separate hard drive for windows and Ubuntu. I used window 7 to format this drive. So total there is 3 harddrives Feb 16 '13 at 4:37
  • I'm not sure how to check the partition table. Feb 16 '13 at 4:44
  • Did you save any files when using with Ubuntu? Did you run a Windows Disk check? Boot into safemode and plug in the device and run a disk check via Windows explorer (Disk Properties > Tools) or using a command prompt (chkdsk /f /r). You can use something like Minitools for convenience. May be there is an issue with partition table.
    – Lasith
    Feb 16 '13 at 7:00
  • 1
    What do you mean by "Just one partition, but 2 separate hard drive"?
    – terdon
    Feb 16 '13 at 10:59

If you used Ubuntu's gui installer to load the os onto the external drive, it repartitions the disk and uses ext4 for the file system by default when no other os is present. I'm not very familiar with windows but my guess is that it can't handle this type. Ubuntu allows you to create custom partitions when installing so you might (I haven't tried) be able to make the file system NTFS from there and have it work out. I for a brief time was dual booting between windows 8 and Ubuntu and Ubuntu was able to install itself along side with no problem: I could read each file system from the other, so I believe there is some way to make this work. If you choose to create your own partition table, I wouldn't recommend fiddling around with the boot or swap partitions as I don't think grub or linux would be happy about this and probably installation would fail anyway.

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