Sharing Files Between Windows and Linux

So, your Windows PC is already set up to dual-boot with Ubuntu Linux, and you’ve explored Linux enough to know that you want to live inside it for a while. Problem is, all your files are on an NTFS partition on the Windows half of your machine, and Ubuntu can’t see that partition, no matter what you do. That’s because Microsoft considers the workings of the NTFS fi le system a highly confidential trade secret (unlike the workings of FAT32, for example). What to do?

There’s the old standby of e-mailing the files to you, or uploading them to an FTP site or a Yahoo! Briefcase or some such storage location. It works. But come on—it’s 2008, already. For regular work you need something more direct, and Linux’s development community has come up with multiple ways to work around Microsoft’s roadblocks and help this happen.

Three quick and easy solutions present themselves: NTFS-3G, Samba, and NTFS for Linux. NTFS-3G is a driver that gives Linux users full access to NTFS drives installed on the same PC. Ubuntu’s new Gutsy Gibbon distro includes the driver in the Synaptic Package Manager. Samba (also found through Synaptic) is designed to provide fi le and print services to all SMB clients, including Microsoft Windows. It functions primarily as a network utility, in effect mounting your NTFS drives onto your Linux network. NTFS for Linux is a powerful tool for IT managers, but the personal version gets you simple read/write access.


1. USE THE FILE BROWSER
After installing either Samba or NTFS-3G, use Ubuntu’s File Browser to locate the NTFS partition you want to work with and double-click to open it.

2. CHECK THE VOLUME’S PROPERTIES
The Volume Properties dialog box in Ubuntu shows that this folder has indeed been formatted as NTFS.

3. GO PRO WITH NTFS FOR LINUX
Well-known Windows utility maker Paragon Software (www.paragon-software.com/products.htm) distributes NTFS for Linux, as an IT-targeted tool ($149.95), a full-featured package ($29.95), or a free download. The free version gives access to your Linux partitions but is read-only.

ON THE WINDOWS SIDE: LINUX READER AND EX2 IFS
Two programs provide access to your Linux drives from within Windows. The Linux Reader from DiskInternals (pictured) gives you read-only access and makes you use its included viewer, while Ex2 IFS provides both read and write access from Windows Explorer. But before installing Ex2 IFS, read the site’s troubleshooting page, which lists some issues you might experience (although I had no trouble with either program). Both give access even to protected Linux partitions, ignoring Linux security, so be aware of this before installing.

*.* Source of Information : March 2008 PC Magazine

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