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On my new computer, I didn't want to have /home on the system SSD but rather on the secondary drive which is a conventional hard drive.

I followed these instructions for moving /home to the other disk: A: Move home folder to second drive (actually these specific steps) But now I realize that the disk is NTFS format.

  • Will running home from NTFS be a problem, or perhaps a performance killer?
  • Can I convert the HDD from NTFS to ext3 (or ext4?!) without losing all the files, and how?
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marked as duplicate by guntbert, Eric Carvalho, qbi, Florian Diesch, Jorge Castro Nov 14 '13 at 16:37

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3 Answers 3

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Will running home from NTFS be a problem, or perhaps a performance killer?

  • Yes, NTFS does not understand Linux permissions. If you're using Gnome, then you won't even be able to log in due to permission issues.
  • dot files on NTFS are not considered hidden files and due to the lack of permissions -anyone- can change those files without having to worry about passwords.

  • Also read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS#Linux

Due to the complexity of internal NTFS structures, both the built-in 2.6.14 kernel driver and the FUSE drivers disallow changes to the volume that are considered unsafe, to avoid corruption.

If you want to do it like this you are better of with FAT. But WHY break the security of a Linux system? Why?

A better way is to put /home on ext3 or ext4 and mount the directories from the Windows partition (in that case you can use NTFS though I still advice against it). This will not break the security model but you can still share all your personal files.

Can I convert the HDD from NTFS to ext3 (or ext4?!) without losing all the files, and how?

GParted can do this. But it is probably quicker to move all the files elsewhere and then format the disc and copy the files back.

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RE: why oh why? - NTFS was not a deliberate choice. I wanted to have /home/ on a separate disk but I only realized afterwards that that disk was NTFS format... Thank you for your excellent pointers! –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Aug 9 '13 at 17:30
    
@TorbenGundtofte-Bruun well we ALL learned by making mistake. I killed my own OS several times when I started with Linux. With the most basic mistakes :-D If you want my opinion: ditch windows >:D –  Rinzwind Aug 9 '13 at 18:39
    
I've tried ditching Windows for years now but I always come back to it for one reason or another. Old habits die hard, blah blah. But every year takes me closer to ditching it completely; I just bought a new pc and I've taken the plunge and only run Ubuntu on it. So far, so good! :D Btw, resizing a 1TB NTFS partition down to 400GB so I can shuffle the data onto a new ext4 partition takes for... ever! –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Aug 9 '13 at 19:16
    
windows xp was my last one. ditched it and never had to look back :D at work I got a win XP cuz my boss wants me to use it :-P –  Rinzwind Aug 9 '13 at 19:17

Well you can have some problems with ntfs as it does not mount automatically on ubuntu. You need to add an entry to /etc/fstab manually.

Then when I come to think of it.. you could try to use it as home, but on the other hand ntfs is rather poor choice when you have alternatives like xfs or ext4, which will be faster and more stable on linux.

And I think you won't be able to change the filesystem without backing up all your data on other drive.

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Regarding your question "Can I convert the HDD from NTFS to ext3?" if you have enough space on the disk that has the NTFS partition, you could shrink the NTFS partition and create an another ext4 partition. Then move/copy the files from the NTFS partition to the ext4 partition. Finally, just delete the NTFS partition. –  PJ Singh Aug 8 '13 at 23:40

You can't without some major tinkering with ntfs-3g, since proper unix ownership and permissions are not supported on NTFS by default.

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I can't what without tinkering? I do have home on NTFS right now... –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Aug 9 '13 at 4:59

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