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Thread: How safe is it to write to NTFS under Ubuntu?

  1. #1
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    How safe is it to write to NTFS under Ubuntu?

    I ordered a new external hard disk drive. And I will copy a lot of data to it, almost 3TB.

    So far, I didn't experience any problems with writing to NTFS under Ubuntu, except for the fact that I have to keep track of keeping file names Windows compatible (it'd be nice if Ubuntu would give me a warning about Windows-incompatible file names when writing to NTFS -- by the way, I wonder if there is a Linux tool that can recursively batch rename all files of a partition to Windows compatible file names).

    As for NTFS the advantage is that I can access the files on the hdd from both Ubuntu and Windows. Even though I basically never use Windows, I thought it's perhaps still better to format to NTFS, just in case I have a situation where I need access from a Windows OS.

    Ubuntu can read and write NTFS, of course. But I wonder how safe is it for my data? How 'clean' is Ubuntu's implementation to write NTFS? Are there any drawbacks, e.g. that it could corrupt the files or the file system? Because it's a lot of data, so I want to make sure the file system will not get corrupted due to possible incompatibilities.

    -------------------
    EDIT:
    I have just found the answer here:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1154652

    and here:
    http://askubuntu.com/questions/32292...fe-for-writing
    Last edited by MrsUser; February 16th, 2013 at 10:04 AM.

  2. #2
    DeMus is offline I Ubuntu, Therefore, I Am
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    Re: How safe is it to write to NTFS under Ubuntu?

    What you could also do is make the disc ext4 and use this file system while using a Linux distro.
    Should you ever have to use Windows again, boot that computer with a live-cd, copy the file(s) to the hard drive in that computer and re-boot into Windows.
    That way, you can use Linux all the way and, as you also mentioned you will almost never have to use Windows again, you use the full capacity of the Linux system

  3. #3
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    Re: How safe is it to write to NTFS under Ubuntu?

    And I will copy a lot of data to it, almost 3TB.
    I know of no real issues
    Such a drive will need to be GPT
    Ubuntu 18.04

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    Re: How safe is it to write to NTFS under Ubuntu?

    I've been using an ntfs-formatted external HD for backup from both Linux and Windows for years, and have never had a problem, other than the Windows filename situation that you are already aware of.

  5. #5

    Re: How safe is it to write to NTFS under Ubuntu?

    No problem should pop up. Have used NTFS and everything works.
    Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence. Abigail Adams ( 1744 - 1818 ), 1780;

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  6. #6
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    Re: How safe is it to write to NTFS under Ubuntu?

    http://superuser.com/questions/32838...-ubuntu-stable
    http://forums.freebsd.org/showthread...546#post153546

    NTFS is a a proprietary file system. There are no open specifications of it. Everything that ntfs-3g can do was achieved by reverse engineering. Today, the NTFS support in Linux should be stable. But one of the down sides of NTFS is that it doesn't support Linux file permissions, so this must be set when mounting the partition: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1604251

  7. #7
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    Re: How safe is it to write to NTFS under Ubuntu?

    If you use Windows very occasionally, there are a few Windows add-ons that enable Windows to read ext2/3/4. I've not tried them, been okay with NTFS but from what I've read, the Windows add-ons are safe and work well to READ ext formatted disks. Writing to ext* in Windows can lead to corruption. Here is one:

    http://www.diskinternals.com/linux-reader/

    Here is another. Note that this supports both reading and writing. I'm not sure how safe that is:

    http://www.webupd8.org/2011/08/acces...itions-in.html

    A google search turns up more options. I haven't used any of them but the two above would probably top my list if I needed the capability. If you're skeptical of NTFS and only need occasional Windows access, you could read the file in Windows then save in Windows.

  8. #8
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    Re: How safe is it to write to NTFS under Ubuntu?

    Quote Originally Posted by kurt18947 View Post
    If you use Windows very occasionally, there are a few Windows add-ons that enable Windows to read ext2/3/4. I've not tried them, been okay with NTFS but from what I've read, the Windows add-ons are safe and work well to READ ext formatted disks. Writing to ext* in Windows can lead to corruption. Here is one:

    http://www.diskinternals.com/linux-reader/

    Here is another. Note that this supports both reading and writing. I'm not sure how safe that is:

    http://www.webupd8.org/2011/08/acces...itions-in.html

    A google search turns up more options. I haven't used any of them but the two above would probably top my list if I needed the capability. If you're skeptical of NTFS and only need occasional Windows access, you could read the file in Windows then save in Windows.
    http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9449

  9. #9
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    Re: How safe is it to write to NTFS under Ubuntu?

    Unless you are copying video or other large files I would hesitate to make any one 3TB partition. Just because new drives are very large does not mean partitions should be.

    If NTFS chkdsk will take forever, and you should have a Windows install to periodically run chkdsk. That can only be done from Windows. Windows does not automatically do that like LInux does.

    Even with ext4 fsck will take longer. And Linux normally schedules fsck every 40 or 60 reboots.

    You will have to use gpt partitioning as MBR has a max of 2.2TB or 2TiB. MBR was designed in middle '80s with first hard drive for PC. It has reached its design limit.

    Use gparted or gdisk to create gpt partitions.
    GPT fdisk Tutorial -srs5694 in forums
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1439794
    http://www.rodsbooks.com/gdisk/


    I have created my gpt partitions with gparted. Under device, create partition table, advanced, choose gpt not the default msdos (MBR) partitioning.
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  10. #10
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    Re: How safe is it to write to NTFS under Ubuntu?

    Thank you all for the great hints.
    As for automatically only allow Windows filenames when writing to NTFS under Linux, I googled around a bit more and found out that it is actually already built-in into ntfs-3g, it just has to be activated:

    As Windows uses more restrictive naming rules, you can prevent ntfs-3g from creating new files which do not meet Windows file naming rules by using the option windows_names.
    http://www.tuxera.com/community/ntfs-3g-faq/
    Obviously, the option windows_names has to be used when mounting the drive, I assume I have to put it in fstab then?! I'm looking for examples how to do it.

    Anyway, I'll also tinker around a bit with the option to install ext4 supoort in Windows (I only need to read from the hdd when under Windows, so this should be alright). So I guess the "Linux Reader for Windows" from Sysinternals is just what I need, in case I decide to go for ext4:

    [...] the program provides for read-only access and does not allow you to make records in file system partitions. This guarantees that the interference in an alterative file system will not affect the work of Linux later. [...]
    http://www.diskinternals.com/linux-reader/
    As for the file permissions of ext4, I don't really need to keep them on the external hdd. All the data is just static data that is not really sensitive or private, videos, photos and there is no need for any access restrictions in my home. Actually, it's just the contrary: I want to be able to access the data from any computer I plug the hdd into. So I wonder what happens then? Am I getting locked out of from my own hdd when using ext4 and plugging it into another Linux machine? Or how do I access the drive then?

    However, in case a hdd with sensitive data gets stolen (which probably won't happen to me as I rarely take the hdd somewhere else than the next room), just out of interest: How does it work to encrypt the whole hdd with Linux tools? And is there any way to read that encrypted hdd when under Windows? I heard of TrueCrypt, but I'm not sure if this is a good solution, because it's third-party.

    Quote Originally Posted by oldfred View Post
    I have created my gpt partitions with gparted. Under device, create partition table, advanced, choose gpt not the default msdos (MBR) partitioning.
    Very useful, thanks! But in case I format to NTFS. Should I do the paritioning and formatting under Windows (maybe to make sure it's best compatible to Windows)?!
    Last edited by MrsUser; February 17th, 2013 at 09:32 AM.

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