Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Before I go change my partition type from EXT3 to NTFS in my Ubuntu machine, I wanted to confirm will it affect or corrupt the files present in the disk.

It would help if you know a problem or share any problem that you might have experienced doing this kind of stuffs.

HOW: I saw in Ubuntu you have a package called Disk Utility which will help you change the partition, but if you think there is a better way to get this done, please don't mind sharing it. Thanks.

I tried Google to find the answer but you can't get an answer for everything, so decided to ask the experts here. Please help.

I know this is not useful, but for those who have a dual OS with WINDOWS it could be useful to share files between Windows and Linux.

share|improve this question

migrated from May 24 '11 at 9:36

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

up vote 2 down vote accepted


In order to do so without loosing files, you would need to copy all your files somewhere, change partition type (reformat) and then copy files back.

Note that NTFS is not suitable for Ubuntu. However Ubuntu may read and write NTFS partitions. Therefore the best 2 options for you would probably be:

  1. Have one big partition for Windows (NTFS) and smaller one for Ubuntu (ext3/4). Store the common files (e.g. documents, mp3, movies) on your Windows partition. Then you are able to read and write them from both operating systems.

  2. Create a 3rd partition - either NTFS or FAT32 and store all common files there. It would be visible as disk "D:" in Windows and you may read and write it from Ubuntu too.

share|improve this answer

The essential part of any UNIX , is file ownership .When you considering to change file system it's not best option,file ownership will be lost. There are several ways: - Run Linux in virtual Linux - Another option to have shared partition between windows and Linux ..

In my case i have SVN in which i put source code i share it between several pc and several OS'es. For common data like movie,music i keep them on external USB HDD

share|improve this answer

If you need to change the partition type from EXT* to NTFS, the best way to do it is:

  1. Copy all files to any backup drive (physical, network, etc.)
  2. Format the partition with NTFS filesystem
  3. Copy the files back

Note that you should NOT do this if you want to continue running Linux from this partition (e.g. it's your / or /home or any other important directory). Because current NTFS drivers (e.g. NTFS-3G) do not support any file mode flags except rwxrwxrwx.

share|improve this answer

There are many softwares that allow you to correctly detect and mount an ext2-3 linux partition in a windows box.

share|improve this answer

This is not exactly an answer to your question but if the goal is to simply share files between linux and windows, I would recommend shrinking your existing partitions and creating a new FAT32 partition which can be used to share files between the two OS. I dont have good experience of using NTFS in Linux and a really bad one of trying to access EXT3 partition in Windows.

Many of the security related benefits in Linux come from file permissions and if you change your file system to NTFS you will lose these benefits. Also there are some programs which expect certain file permissions on their config files and wont run without them. So moving to NTFS may break those programs as well.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.