I have been using Ubuntu as my only OS for a couple of years now, but from time to time, due to compatibility issues with some software I want to use (mainly games or drawing programs) I have installed Windows alongside.

One of the big reasons I end up removing Windows every time is how much of a hassle is to keep my files up to date in both OS. Art files, documents, videos, stuff I downloaded... making sure the latest version is always available is a bit of a pain that requires a few reboots to move from ext4 to a ntfs partition if you aren't that good at planning ahead.

How would you set up your drive so the files in your /home are available to both OS? Just making your /home partition an ntfs one? Some other way?

  • 2
    I would not make your $HOME as NTFS. NTFS cannot store all information used by POSIX systems (like Ubuntu) so I'd expect problems with some programs. You may also have issues with windows too. I would have a shared partition & store data files there. I'd ensure fast boot was disabled, hibernate was not used (on any system, Ubuntu or Windows). I did this for some time but it was long ago (don't use windows now), but still share my files between various machines via use of network storage (as they're different boxes, as well as being dual boot on this box; Ubuntu groovy & bionic)
    – guiverc
    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:29
  • I don't think a shared home will really work. When I started transitioning from windows via a dual boot I used ntfs partitions as shared data "drives". It didn't work all that well, the file properties were odd (everything was executable). Once I was off windows I backed up those partitions, reformatted to ext4, and copied the data back. Sep 16, 2020 at 11:33
  • This makes no sense.............
    – Ibster
    Sep 17, 2020 at 0:15

1 Answer 1


How would you set up your drive so the files in your /home are available to both OS? Just making your /home partition an ntfs one?

Impossible. /home MUST be in a POSIX compliant filesystem and Windows does not have one.

The way to do this is to create a mountpoint formatted as NTFS and then to point the system to look for the directories inside /home at that mountpoint. See ~.config/user-dirs.dirs on how to do that. Set the NTFS mountpoint to read/write, not executable. That way you can watch movies or play music from both systems (Only use a directory that is in a compatible filesystem to execute scripts for Ubuntu/Linux; safety comes first).

So if the mountpoint is /discworld you would have a /discworld/Desktop/, /discworld/Documents/, /discworld/Downloads/ etc. You can also use this for multiple users on the same machine: set those directories to a group that includes all those users.

  • 1
    I would suggest replacing Documents, etc. by symlinks to the corresponding folders on an ntfs partition. Less intrusive, and the home folder looks and acts as before: all folders continue to be within reach from within the home folder. Should be done through the command line in order not to confuse user-dirs.dir, or otherwise an edit of user-dirs.dir to repair may be needed anyway.
    – vanadium
    Sep 16, 2020 at 12:31
  • That is an option but I have had issues with symlinks. Can't really exactly remember what is was but it had to do with nautilus messing up,
    – Rinzwind
    Sep 16, 2020 at 12:33
  • Doesn't completely fix the issue of accesing documents or workfiles created in the ubuntu boot from the windows one, but it's closer than just having a empty partition to drop stuff into.
    – metichi
    Sep 17, 2020 at 14:01
  • Yes it does. Windows will mount it for you on the next drive letter and you can use all the files on there. I have used it like this for decades myself until I could drop windows completely ;-)
    – Rinzwind
    Sep 17, 2020 at 14:03

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