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

I'm installing Lubuntu and I and dual-booting it with Windows 7. I want to be able to access all files while using either OS. My Hard drive has 4 partitions,

  1. sda1 200mb 'Windows 7 (Loader)',
  2. sda2 480gb 'Window 7 (Loader)',
  3. sda3 18gb 'Windows recovery' (or something close to that),
  4. sda4 100mb and no 'System' on it.

1,2 and 3 are all 'NTFS' (I think it was) and sda4 is FAT32. I don't know what FAT32 or NTFS mean, so can

1) Someone explain what FAT32/NTFS mean and do.

2) How I can make files on the biggest partition (sda2 480 GB 'Windows 7(Loader)'), available to both operating systems.

Bare in mind I am completely new to this area of computing and have next to no idea what I'm doing. Thank you :D

share|improve this question

closed as too broad by i08in, Rmano, user68186, Braiam, Avinash Raj Apr 24 '14 at 4:23

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Have you either googled or looked at wikipedia to answer 1? I believe you will also find a lot of references to 2 on google as well. – mdpc Apr 23 '14 at 20:27
up vote 3 down vote accepted

FAT32 and NTFS are both file systems. Each file system has its own way for storing and retrieving data.

Windows can use FAT (FAT*), exFAT and NTFS, where NTFS is the default.

Linux can use ext (ext*), ZFS, ReiserFS, btrfs and a lot more, including every file system Windows can use, where ext* is the default (usually ext3 or ext4).

So, if you want to be able to share data between Windows and Linux, you should choose a file system both operating systems can use. I suggest NTFS, as FAT and exFAT have their limits.

However, you cannot install Linux on a NTFS partition, so you should create a seperate system partition (ext*) to install Linux on.

You'll have to resize partitions in order to create a new partition (for Linux), because you're already using your whole disk for Windows (NTFS).

This may cause data corruption, so please make a backup of your important files before you do this, or make an image of your whole hard drive.

share|improve this answer
So I should make sda2 smaller and create a partition in ext4 to install Lubuntu on? (How big should this partition be?) – Pyrozo Apr 23 '14 at 21:09
Yeah, that's right. You can make the partition as big as you want. The minimal size is 5 GB (according to Ubuntu's wiki), but I would make it at least 20 GB to preserve some space for updates, programs you want to install, temp files and other stuff. – Louis Matthijssen Apr 23 '14 at 21:42

Wikipedia - In computing, a file system (or filesystem) is used to control how data is stored and retrieved. Without a file system, information placed in a storage area would be one large body of data with no way to tell where one piece of information stops and the next begins.

  • NTFS -> New Technology File System
  • FAT32 -> File Allocation Table

NTFS is newer File System by Microsoft and replacement to FAT32. One of the major drawback of FAT32 is that you cannot have a file of size greater than 4 GB.

Linux uses ext4 file system. Linux can only be installed on ext4 and Newer windows like 7,8 & Vista can be installed only on NTFS (maybe also on FAT32). You can access Windows NTFS & FAT32 partition from ubuntu but you cannot access ext4 from windows (Microsoft does not support ext4)

To access sda2 in Ubuntu open a terminal and enter following commands

sudo mkdir /mnt/sda2
sudo mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/sda2

then you can access+modify sda2 from /mnt/sda2

share|improve this answer
So I should make sda2 smaller and create a partition in ext4 to install Lubuntu on? (How big should this partition be?) – Pyrozo Apr 23 '14 at 21:08
You need to make some partition smaller and my suggestion is that you make sda2 smaller and create a new partition of around 30-50 GB for Lubuntu from it – Back.Slash Apr 23 '14 at 21:11
I made sda2 smaller but now it says that the 10 gigabytes that it left unused are unusable? – Pyrozo Apr 23 '14 at 21:29
you can create a partition from unused space. Dont worry about file-system of partition you can always change file-system by formatting the new partition – Back.Slash Apr 23 '14 at 21:32
It doesn't give me an option to do that though – Pyrozo Apr 23 '14 at 21:33

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