I'm looking to share documents, pictures, etc. between Windows 7 and Ubuntu 12.04.1. I have an extended primary partition (sda4) that is comprised of a swap partition (sda5) and a "/home" mount point storage partition (sda6). This sda6 storage partition is a ext4 file system. As I understand it, in order for Windows 7 to recognize the data, this storage partition needs to be an NTFS format. Can this ext4 format (sda6) be changed to NTFS using the GParted Partition Editor? If not, is there another way to make this happen? Thanks so much in advance.


For various reasons you should not use ntfs for home partition. What you should do is shrink it to make free space for a new partition that will be NTFS. It will be visible for both systems - Windows and Linux.

Process overview:
- boot to Parted Magic LIVECD / USB
- backup sda6
- resize the sda6 to free some space
- create new NTFS partition

Step by step instructions by yours truly how to convert free space to a ntfs partition

Please proceed only after reading the instructions through and through if you're not familiar with partitioning.

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  • /home has to be ext due to the permission setup Linux uses. NTFS does not understand that. Excellent post:I misread it at first so +1 ;) – Rinzwind Jan 11 '13 at 19:58
  • Seeing as how I can only have 4 primary partitions, is this even possible seeing as my /home partition (sda6) is a sub-partition from the extended partition (sda4)? If it is possible, could I (using GParted), unmount the current /home sub-partition, shrink this and then create a new, effectively a sub-sub partition, in the NTFS format? Thanks in advance. – Here's Johnny Jan 11 '13 at 20:00
  • If sda5 and sda6 are inside extended, you're good to go as extended partition can accommodate much more than 4 partitions. GParted is fine but no operation on existing partition can be accomplished without data loss. I'll update my answer in a second... – Bucic Jan 11 '13 at 20:08
  • @Bucic What is the best backup program to use for this function inside of Ubuntu? The size of sda6 (/home) is 99.96GiB, used is 1.90GiB. Once this small amount is backed up, how much space should I then allocate from sda6 to sda7 (NTFS)? I had originally intended to have all 100GiB for data storage, but am now uncertain as to how many GiBs I need to leave in the ext4 "/home" sda6....Thanks again for your help and any further thoughts. – Here's Johnny Jan 11 '13 at 20:25
  • A regular file copy in file manager to a different partition will do. Just remember to turn on 'show hidden files' prior to copy. / I recommend: store data in /home, NTFS just for sharing with windows. In such case: resize /home to 70 GB and use the freed 29 GB for your new NTFS partition. / Please construct your questions on askubuntu so it won't require so many chatting in comments. – Bucic Jan 11 '13 at 20:41

Can this ext4 format (sda6) be changed to NTFS using the GParted Partition Editor?

No, you can NOT use NTFS for /home since it does not understand permissions. If you do not have it yet, you need to install ntfsprogs before creating a NTFS disc.

Inside GParted

You can resize /home, put the extra space into a new partition (sda7) and use the new one to make it NTFS. Then symlink your directories in /home/$USER to this new disc.

For the NTFS part:

Click system, click administration, click GParted partition editor. Click the box at the upper-right corner of the GParted window and select the disk you want to partition by clicking its name in the list. Format an existing partition or create a new partition. Format an existing partition by right-clicking the partition in the GParted window, clicking format to and clicking NTFS. Create a new NTFS partition by right-clicking unallocated space, clicking new, clicking the file system box, clicking NTFS and then clicking add. Click the edit menu at the top of the GParted window and click Apply All Operations. Click Apply


  • You can't format partitions that are mounted and in-use. If the partition is mounted, right-click it and click "Unmount" before formatting it.
  • Formatting a partition removes all existing data on it. Any data on the partition you format will be lost. So make a backup (and check the backup) before starting.
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I am pretty sure you can not do this. but there are some options.

  1. You back up the data, and reformat the partition to NTFS, restore the data.

  2. The easy option would be to download and install Ext2Read in Windows. This will allow you to access your ext partitions.

You can find more info about ext here and here. Even thought the software seems to be a bit dated and not supported anymore, it still does get the job done.

Hope this helps.

Afer some more google-fu I found DiskInternals Linux Reader which is to a free option, and looks like it is still be supported.

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  • ext2read is no longer being actively developed. I found ext2fsd to be very reliable and easier to use, but I note that it's been some time since we had a new release from too. – fabricator4 Jan 11 '13 at 19:55
  • I suppose you are right... but if it still works then I think this is a valid answer... I will update it here in a sec though.... – TheXed Jan 11 '13 at 20:02

You can install ext2fsd for windows and access the data on your ext4 partitions from within windows. Have a look at the ext2fsd website for downloads and information.

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