Hi All Ubuntu Fan!

Thats my first post here, what is more my English isn't very good yet, so please be patient and supportive. Thanks.

I have a solution for the problem of filesystems-opsystems dilemma. I have never read any solution like that yet, that I decided to share with the Community.
Maybe that solution a bit complex and resource waster, but it works.

First, I consider my idea for Masters, who can work without the full guide.

The idea: Under Windows XP install a VMware workstation, make a new Ubuntu virtual machine with NAT networking, install Ubuntu onto the virtual machine, stop it, go to the virtual machine's settings, connect your HDDs which contains Linux-like partitions and You want to use them to Your virtual machine. Then boot it up, locate the drives, than put them into the fstab. After that setup a SAMBA server, and share your drives. Now you can discover your drives via windows networks.

Now in details:

Shopping list:
- Microsoft Windows XP SP2
- VMware Workstation (You can download and use it for 30 days for free. When You finetuned your virtual machine You can change workstation to player which is full free.)
- Ubuntu 7.04
- Linux like partitions connected
- Time

Tested with:
- Windows XP Professional SP2 (With fresh drivers.)
- Ubuntu Feisty Fawn 7.04 Desktop
- VMware workstation 6
- My config is: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+, 1GB RAM, WD Caviar SATAII HDDs, XFS partitions

I used guides from ubuntuguide.org to write that HOWTO. Ubuntuguide.org is a very usefull site.

Let's start:
1. Boot up Your Windows. Be sure, your Linux HDDs are connected. Check it in Device Manager. The HDDs must appear there. (Not the partitions.)

2. Download VMware workstation, get a registration key, and install it.

3. Create a new virtual machine for Ubuntu or 2.6 Linux OS. I recommend 6-8GB virtual drive, half of your system RAM, and NAT networking.

4. Insert Your Ubuntu CD, and start the virtual machine. Install a normal Ubuntu system.

5. Shutdown Your installed virtual machine, open its settings, add your HDDs to the virtual machine. Then start it again.

Be careful! After the previous step your partitions are online, and accessible, writeable etc... So look after your important files!

6. Locate the names of your partitions device name. (Tip: You can find it at System->Settings->Hardwareinformation find your HDDs with them volumes, than click on Advanced. There you can see the device name.)

7. Insert your partitions into fstab:
You must know the filesystem's name. (You can get this information from Hardwareinformation too.)
Open a new folder in /media as a mounting point for the partition and set its permissions.
Open a terminal:
mkdir /media/*mountpoint
chmod 777 /media/*mountpoint
Replace *mountpoint with the directory name what you want. (But I recommend the device name. For example: hdb1, hdb2, hdc1 etc...)
Now open the fstab for editing.
gedit /etc/fstab
Open a new line, and insert your partitions data like that:
*devicename *mountingpoint  *filesystem  defaults 0 0
(* You must replace with the correct data.)
For example:
/dev/hdb1 /media/hdb1 xfs defaults 0 0
Save it, than reboot, and check how is it works.

8. Install, and configure Samba. When you finished installion, and added yourself to the server, open System->Administration->Shared folders Set the workgroup, and check in "The computer is a WINS server."

9. Now You can share your partitions. You can permit write permissions if you want.

10. Minimize the virtual machine's resurces. Decrase the shared RAM. Exactly I didn't finish that point. You can dull the system. I think you can stop gdm and other unnecessary services.

11. I recommend a windows reboot, than start the linux virtual machine.

Now you can discover your partitions in the windows networks.

Good luck!