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My machine is currently running Windows 7. I have 2 partitions: OS (C:) and DATA (D:). I intend to do a native Ubuntu 14.04 install. Assuming I format my Windows OS partition, will I have full access to my D partition in Ubuntu ?

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Usually, yes. You can test by booting a live CD/USB. –  muru Jul 29 '14 at 11:06
Shouldn't the data partition have an ext4 filesystem ? –  s.brody Jul 29 '14 at 11:10
Unless you want to format it and use it exclusively with Ubuntu, no, keep it as NTFS. –  muru Jul 29 '14 at 11:11
But not for /home folder! –  Barafu Albino Jul 29 '14 at 11:13
NTFS will work, though you may have issues with some permissions etc (not much of a issue) when using a NTFS drive, unless you modify /etc/fstab on how it mounts it. However, it would be best to backup your data elsewhere to make sure it is not accidentally wiped - chose 'Something else' when installing and make sure 'format' is not ticked for that drive (N.B. It won't be called Drive D, so note down its size etc so you know which one it is - if you wipe anything accidentally while installing Ubuntu, your not likely to get it back) –  Wilf Jul 29 '14 at 11:13

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Ubuntu can certainly read and write files in an NTFS partition. The data partition needs to be mounted. This can be done automatically on bootup by modifying the file system table (/etc/fstab). See, for example, Mounting Windows Partitions in Ubuntu

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Ubuntu will just present those drives on the Panel, and Kubuntu - in Dolphin Device list. No mounting by user required. –  Barafu Albino Jul 29 '14 at 11:16
@BarafuAlbino but to automount after every boot, it is required. –  enedil Jul 29 '14 at 11:46
If you want to just browse files, you need no automount. If you want, for example, to place your torrents or Dropbox there, yes you have to set up automount. Same goes for any filesystem, including EXT. –  Barafu Albino Jul 29 '14 at 11:53
I use an NTFS partition to share data between Ubuntu and Windows on my computer. –  jaia Jul 29 '14 at 21:10

Others have posted good information; however, there's one other critical detail: Ubuntu lacks a useful NTFS repair utility. Filesystems occasionally become damaged. Power outages, bugs, system crashes, and other conditions can cause this to happen. When Ubuntu encounters a damaged NTFS volume, Ubuntu will refuse to mount it. Thus, on an Ubuntu-only system, using NTFS on an internal disk is a problem waiting to happen. As soon as that NTFS volume becomes damaged (and it will), you'll have to move the disk to another computer or use a Windows emergency disk to repair it. Either action is a hassle and even creates new risks.

Thus, if you intend to have an Ubuntu-only system, as it sounds like you do, I strongly recommend converting that data partition from NTFS to a Linux-native format. You can do that by backing up, converting, and then restoring the data; or by creating Linux-native storage, copying the data, and then converting the NTFS to Linux-native for use in some other way. (You could also copy the data and then resize the Linux filesystem, but that creates new risks, so I only recommend doing that if you've got a good backup.) The best approach really depends on how much data you're talking about, how much unused disk space you've got, and how much backup capacity you've got.

I'll take this opportunity to step onto a soap box and say that if you don't have good backups, you should make them, even if it means buying external storage for backup purposes. Every few days, I see a tale of woe from somebody who doesn't have good backups and who's lost irreplaceable data as a result. Please don't become one of those people! If a conversion from NTFS to a Linux-native format helps convince you to buy necessary backup hardware, then that's another advantage to doing the conversion.

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Yes, out of the box. However, I would advise to avoid a lot of writing to it, sinse Ubuntu will allow you to create files with names that Windows can't read - names with symbols and weird characters. You will be able to rename them from Ubuntu later.

Next, NTFS does not support Linux access rights, so you will not be able to place root or /home folder on it.

NTFS driver is yet not 100% good.

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