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I have a 4 TB harddrive currently formatted in NTFS for windows.

I'm looking at moving my desktop machine to Ubuntu from Windows 7.

I would prefer to not have to change the file system, since I'll be dual booting for a while, I don't have a duplicate drive to save the data to while formatting, and I'm not sure I'll be staying with Ubuntu.

This is not my OS drive. It is a secondary storage disk. The Ubuntu OS partition(s) can be formatted however Ubuntu prefers.

What is the best way to handle this situation? Particular questions:

  1. Can GNU/Linux/Ubuntu cleanly read and write NTFS? I saw that there were some issues as recently as 2012. Have these been resolved?

  2. Are there issues with mounting a >2TB NTFS drive? I wasn't able to mount it when working from a live USB disc, but I'm not sure if this problem would go away with an actual install.

Thank you!

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    You have a lot of data in one place. You do have another 4TB drive for backup? When very large NTFS partitions need chkdsk it can take forever. You can only run chkdsk from Windows repair console or repair disk. – oldfred Apr 24 '17 at 13:19
  • I have a 2tb disk backing up the 4tb disk intermittently (the 4tb is still mostly empty since I upgraded). Last backup was about 6 months ago. I'm still looking for a better backup solution. Buying a 2nd drive isn't a problem, but performing the backups, keeping them somewhere out of the house securely, and having the whole thing be automated is still a problem I haven't solved. – JoshuaD Apr 24 '17 at 16:49
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There are many people running they Linux including Ubuntu, along side their Windows and have no problem in using NTFS.

The most common problem you might face is that you cannot mount it for Read/Write if you hibernate in Windows (in case of Windows 10, both fast boot and hibernation should be disabled)

You don't need to be worried if you are not going to do something special which needs file permission, you can use your NTFS partitions normally in your Ubuntu.

To know about how to mount, of course you need to go thtough regular procedure. There is no major difference. Usually Ubutnu can automatically detect the format and mount it properly.

Till now, I‌ haven't seen any cases other than what I mentioned above that you cannot mount your NTFS pertitions. Yet, you can ask a separate question and share details (like error you got while mounting) so someone can help you to sort it out. There is no difference between mounting a partition in live or fully installed Ubuntu

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Can GNU/Linux/Ubuntu cleanly read and write NTFS?

Yes. Unless you use hibernation from Windows and boot directly into Ubuntu. Ubuntu will refuse to mount the partition as it is in an unclean state and will warn you about this. Any write to a disk would be deleted the 1st time you boot into Windows so Ubuntu refuses to let you.

Are there issues with mounting a >2TB NTFS drive?

No. That 2 Tb is a Microsoft limit for Windows XP and the 2003 server edition. So that has nothing to do with Linux. With a 4 KB blocksize we support 16Tb per partition and a maximum of 15 partitions per disk for a total of 240Tb (well a bit less due to overhead).

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