Sharing Data on Windows and Linux Partitions

The previous sections explained how to install both Windows and Linux on a single system in various different scenarios. This section summarizes the different types of partitions that are used by each operating system and the extent to which you can access the partitions used by one operating system from the other. If you have a dual-boot system, it's inevitable that at some point you will need to use data under one operating system that is actually stored in the filesystem(s) used by the other. Because both operating systems can't be running natively at the same time on a dual-boot system, you need to be able to mount or simply explore one operating system's filesystem while running the other operating system.

| f - - r For background information about the different types of filesystems used on Linux

^ " ^ and Windows systems, see the discussion of EXT2, EXT3, and VFAT/NTFS in Chapter 3. Chapter 3 also discusses other types of Linux filesystems, but at the time of this writing, only the EXT2 and EXT3 filesystems can be accessed successfully from Windows systems.

Accessing Windows Partitions from Linux

Linux has provided support for FAT and FAT32 (another name for the VFAT filesystem) filesystems for quite some time. Support for NTFS filesystems existed for the 2.4.x series of Linux kernels but has been directly integrated into the 2.6 series of Linux kernels (such as those used on SUSE 9.1 and greater).

Reading NTFS filesystems under the 2.6 kernel works fine, but by default the in-kernel driver will mount them read-only. If you need to write to NTFS partitions, consider using the userspace filesystem driver ntfs-3 g.

To mount a Windows partition under Linux, you use the mount command discussed in Chapter 3. The following is a sample command to mount a VFAT Windows partition on the Linux directory /mnt/c (which must be created before attempting to mount the drive):

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