Normally Linux systems can only read from Windows NTFS partitions, but not write to them which can be very annoying if you have to work with Linux and Windows systems. This is where ntfs-3g comes into play. ntfs-3g is an open source, freely available NTFS driver for Linux with read and write support. This tutorial shows how to install and use ntfs-3g on a PCLinuxOS 2007 desktop to read from and write to Windows NTFS drives and partitions.
This document comes without warranty of any kind! I want to say that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!
1 Preliminary Note
I have tried this on a PCLinux 2007 desktop with an external NTFS USB hard drive.
2 Installing ntfs-3g
Open the Synaptic Package Manager by clicking on its icon:
Type in the root password:
After the Synaptic Package Manager has started, click on the Search button and search for ntfs:
On the results page, click on the package ntfs-3g and select Mark for Installation:
ntfs-3g has some required dependencies that must be installed as well; accept these packages by clicking on Mark.
Then mark ntfs-config for installation as well:
Accept ntfs_config‘s dependencies:
Click on the Apply button to install the selected packages:
Confirm your selection by clicking on Apply again:
The packages are being downloaded and installed:
3 Using ntfs-3g
Before you plug in and switch on your NTFS drive, open the NTFS Configuration Tool (System > Configuration > Hardware > NTFS Configuration Tool):
Type in the root password:
In the NTFS Configuration Tool, you can specify for what NTFS drives you want to enable write support. I’m using an external NTFS drive, so I select Enable write support for external device (my system doesn’t have any internal NTFS devices, so the other option is greyed out). Then click on Close:
Now while you’re sitting in front of your PCLinuxOS 2007 desktop, plug in your external NTFS drive and switch it on.
After a few seconds (if nothing goes wrong), a new window should come up asking you what you want to do with the new medium. Select Open in New Window:
You should then see a desktop icon for your NTFS drive (mine is called BACKUP), and a file explorer window should come up with the contents of the drive:
This means that we can at least read from the NTFS drive, but of course we want to know if the write support is working. To test this, you can go to any subfolder (or stay in the root folder) of the NTFS drive, right-click on the free space, and select Create New > Folder… (you could as well select Create New > Text File…):
Type in the name of the new folder. If the folder is created without errors, this means that write support is working for our NTFS drive!
Before you switch off/disconnect your NTFS drive from your PCLinuxOS system, you must unmount it (or you risk filesystem damage!). To do this, right-click on the drive’s desktop icon and select Safely Remove:
After the drive’s desktop icon has disappeared, you can unplug and switch off the drive.
If you plug in your NTFS drive, and it doesn’t get mounted, but you see an error message saying something like:
$LogFile indicates unclean shutdown (0, 0) Failed to mount ‘/dev/sda1’: Operation not supported Mount is denied because NTFS is marked to be in use. Choose one action: Choice 1: If you have Windows then disconnect the external devices by clicking on the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ icon in the Windows taskbar then shutdown Windows cleanly. Choice 2: If you don’t have Windows then you can use the ‘force’ option for your own responsibility. For example type on the command line: mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /media/BACKUP -o force Or add the option to the relevant row in the /etc/fstab file: /dev/sda1 /media/BACKUP ntfs-3g defaults, force 0 0
this means that the NTFS drive wasn’t safely removed from your Windows system before.
To fix this, we must boot into our Windows system again and plug in our NTFS drive. In the Windows Explorer, right-click on the drive and select Properties:
Then go to the Extras tab and select to check the drive for errors (it’s the first button saying Jetzt prüfen… in this screenshot (I got a German Windows…)):
Select the option to automatically correct filesystem errors (Dateisystemfehler automatisch korrigieren):
The drive is now being checked:
Click on OK afterwards:
Afterwards, you must safely remove the drive by clicking on the green arrow in the task bar. You should always use this option from now on instead of simply unplugging the drive, because if you simply unplug the drive, you’ll get the $LogFile indicates unclean shutdown error again in PCLinuxOS.
A few seconds after you’ve selected to safely remove the drive, Windows tells you that the drive can now be disconnected:
Afterwards, you can connect the drive to your PCLinuxOS system, and it should now be mounted without errors.
- ntfs-3g: http://www.ntfs-3g.org
- PCLinuxOS: http://www.pclinuxos.com