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Fully Open Source NTFS Support Under Linux

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the long-time-coming dept.

310

lord_rob the only on writes "The Linux NTFS project has released a beta version of its fully open source userspace (using FUSE) 3G-Linux NTFS support driver. According to the developer, this driver beats hands down other NTFS support solutions performance-wise (including commercial Paragon NTFS driver and also Captive NTFS, which is using windows ntfs.sys driver under WINE)." That's right, writing to NTFS even works. Soon it'll mean one less recovery disk to keep around, I hope.

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310 comments

Great news. (5, Interesting)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724485)

This gives us another tool that can be used to repair windows systems that have been hit by some of the newest rootkits [f-secure.com] that can hide from detection when windows is running. Can't hide from a Linux boot disk and with complete write support, now these can be cleaned and studied more effectively.

Re:Great news. (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724523)

Are the root kits so insidious that it is dangerous to put them in a throw away windows box as a non boot disk? That would seem like a fairly effective way to study them. I don't think I would want to go through that as a repair procedure, but for research, a disk swap seems easy enough.

Re:Great news. (4, Informative)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724615)

AFAIK most of their methods of protection would fail. Still, they could quite nicely hide in "alternate data streams" - every file or directory in NTFS chan have arbitrary metadata attached to it. Usually it's things like ownerships, permissions etc, but 'arbitrary' in this case means that besides the official metadata you can attach whole files making them invisible in the filesystem tree, existing in separate namespace, each file entry being a root directory for a whole invisible filesystem. So plain 'ls' won't show them. You need a tool that will examine each file, extract its metadata, discard the "standard" metadata and list whatever has been attached to files additionally.

Re:Great news. (4, Insightful)

cnettel (836611) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724658)

You can come with quite clever ways to hide data. The point is that the rootkit, to be an infection, must also have some way for a standard Windows routine to actually read that data and load it as code. In practice, it means that the real, non-rootkit-mangled, version of the registry will probably contain a reference, or that the normal data stream of some system binary will be changed as well.

Re:Great news. (1)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724850)

or that a vulnerablity of some metadata-reading program will be exploited. Say, buffer overflow in reading the metadata of "infected" file. Even in non-privledged program this will allow the rootkit to execute and escape the alternate data streams sandbox, then proceed with escalating its privledges and doing all the nasty stuff. This means there will be only legit entries in the registry and original (even though vulnerable) binaries in the normal data namespace.

Re:Great news. (4, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724559)

You also can't hide from a different installation of Windows that has the infected disk mounted. Rootkits hide themselves by hooking into the running kernel/fs drivers - inspect the disk with a clean install and they can't hide then either.

Of course, the more tools you have available to you, the better, and while it's very unlikely that a rootkit from one install can infect another as long as you're careful, it's *extremely* unlikely that it'll be able to infect a Linux install. That may change with time, of course - as with so many things, it's an arms race, and this one is unlikely to do anything but get hotter.

Re:Great news. (1)

GuidoW (844172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724816)

Of course, the more tools you have available to you, the better, and while it's very unlikely that a rootkit from one install can infect another as long as you're careful, it's *extremely* unlikely that it'll be able to infect a Linux install. That may change with time, of course - as with so many things, it's an arms race, and this one is unlikely to do anything but get hotter.

Potential solution:

  • Install linux on a different physical harddisk and unplug it whenever you use Windows. Maybe put the least used one on an external hd.
  • Use a bootable linux-cd, like Knoppix for daily work.

Okay, both of these are very unpractical...

Re:Great news. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724651)

Can't hide from a Linux boot disk and with complete write support, now these can be cleaned and studied more effectively.

They can't hide from a Windows boot CD either, and given that NTFS is a proprietary file system (i.e. open source drivers will always be playing catch-up), I'd be more inclined to trust the official NTFS drivers on a Windows boot CD.

The Windows Vista (beta) setup disc boots to a live system, which can be used for repairs and whatnot, but with older systems like XP, it's a bit of a hassle, in that you have to build your own CD (there are tools available for download that make this easy for the technically inclined, but for novices it's still difficult). In any case, anyone with the competence to use a Linux disc to repair Windows should have no problem building a live Windows XP (or 2003) disc, and using it for repairs.

What this driver is good for is accessing data on a Windows partition from Linux. I primarily use Windows, so I like to keep my data on NTFS partitions, since all the Windows security attributes are meaningful. Although drivers for common Linux/BSD file systems are available for Windows, in my experience, the security attributes can only really be meaningful in one OS or the other, so I'd prefer to keep them meaningful in the one I use most, i.e. Windows. Being able to read and write from Linux, however, is a nice feature to have, especially with good performance, and either a reliable KM driver or a UM driver that's at least reliable enough not to corrupt the file system.

Re:Great news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724728)

there are tools available for download that make this easy for the technically inclined, but for novices it's still difficult

Exactly. This is how most tech people make money, they know more than the average "Click OK no matter what it says" windows users.

It's this dumbing down of windows that lowers the entry level for computer users. Now we have a zombie mob if retards that don't know how to take care of thier computer.

Re:Great news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724856)

It's this dumbing down of windows that lowers the entry level for computer users. Now we have a zombie mob if retards that don't know how to take care of thier computer.
It's a bit like driving cars on public roads, really. Before the Internet, using a computer was like driving a car on your own land: no matter how badly you drive, you're unlikely to harm the public at large (apart from externalities like pollution). The Internet, on the other hand, is like public roads, and the results of unqualified users connecting their PCs to the Internet are more or less the virtual equivalent of the sort of thing we'd get if there were no regulation of cars/drivers.

I'm not sure that I like the idea of state regulation of access to the Internet, with licensing of computers and Internet access (along the lines of licensing of cars and driving licences), testing to ensure competence and regulation of traffic across national borders, but it might be the only way to promote responsible computer use.

For those of us who are technically minded, the current situation isn't so bad, since we know how to avoid all of the malware circulating through the Internet, irrespective of which operating system we're using. I don't mind the current situation at all (in some ways, I even enjoy it), but with all the havoc wrought on the non-technical by their own lack of computing skills, maybe regulation would be better for the population as a whole.

Re:Great news. (1)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724831)

Vista setup uses WinPE - which is available now for many Windows business customers as well.

Dear Muslims... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724683)

Dear Muslims,

The rest of the world doesn't wish to be dragged back in time to live like the Flintstones. Please keep your onerous religious requirements to yourselves. They have no place in a representative government.

Sincerely,
All of Civilization

It is good news ... But ... (5, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724731)

Full NTFS compatibility in Linux is a good thing. There are a gazillion scenarios where it is necessary for users to get at Windows files from Linux or vice versa without moving stuff over a network.

But, keep in mind that NTFS remains proprietary and Microsoft can break it for newly written files any time it suits their business purposes to do so. All it takes is one update.

No one but me seems to care about this, but I think that the proprietary and undocumented nature of NTFS is an important reason why System Administrators need to have a workable exit strategy for Windows. They don't need to exit now. But in three or five or ten years if (when) Microsoft decides to lock in its user base, users should want to make sure that they have the option of being outside the door that Microsoft is slamming shut.

Re:It is good news ... But ... (5, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724836)

But, keep in mind that NTFS remains proprietary and Microsoft can break it for newly written files any time it suits their business purposes to do so. All it takes is one update.

Hypothetically, yes. However, there are few things that they -- or any OS developer -- are more paranoid about altering than the filesystem. You can recover from a bad driver, or a bad patch for most functions; recovering fully from a bad filesystem alteration may be nigh-on impossible, and Microsoft is going to think really, really hard before they go and do something that may result in lost data.

EVEN BETTER NEWS (2, Interesting)

dsginter (104154) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724741)

Think of the implications:

A given distro can now come with a handy Windows InstallShield Wizard and INSTALL UNDER WINDOWS and BOOT/SHARE the same partition.

This is huge. Who wants to be the first to make a Linux ActiveX malware distro?

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (4, Funny)

roger6106 (847020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724489)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

Is Slashdot testing out the NTFS writing ability on their site?

We always could write to NTFS (5, Funny)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724769)

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda1

It's really fast, despite being in userspace, though it can still take a while because there is so much that it needs to do. Start it before you leave work, or before you go to bed.

As a side effect, your NTFS partition will finally be free of spyware. It's the only way.

Performance (4, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724500)

Unless I missed it, I notice the performance numbers are only single process. I'm suspicious of this because user-mode filesystems (as under microkernel operation systems) typically crash and burn performance-wise under simultaneous load, not under single-user use.

I know that user-mode is easier to debug, but they really should turn this into a kernel module.

Re:Performance (5, Insightful)

Ulrich Hobelmann (861309) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724602)

Well, you can bet your ass that Windows's native NTFS is much faster than the Linux one, because they wrote the FS, and they have years of time to optimize the working driver.

Sure, user-mode will be a performance issue, but I think the context-switch + work is only necessary, when the kernel decides to either read data (on a cache miss) or write out its file buffers to disk. So if you don't use NTFS as your native disk (not sure how that'll work with permissions and stuff), you should really by fine. Maybe there's an option somewhere to turn on big read-write chunks (so that the kernel will always read/write huge blocks from the user daemon, which would make context-switch time negligible).

Re:Performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724624)

Yup, just like Windows' own shared folders are faster than Samba.

No wait...

Re:Performance (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724861)

The FAT filesystem is consistently faster on Linux than it is in DOS. I'd say against windows, Linux may still have the edge there, too.

That's 20+ years of Microsoft support and Linux still beats it.

Just because an FS is M$'s baby doesn't mean they know how to treat it right.

Re:Performance (3, Insightful)

jrcamp (150032) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724610)

Why would multiple users be using it at a time? The main use case for NTFS is recovery and people who need access to their files on dual boot laptops and desktops.

Re:Performance (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724730)

Why would multiple users be using it at a time? The main use case for NTFS is recovery and people who need access to their files on dual boot laptops and desktops.

I agree that this probably won't get heavy use, but the developers shouldn't scream about how fast it is if that's not truly a consideration (and it's not truly a consideration if they're running it in user mode).

Re:Performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724635)

Any sources or references for that? ISTM that single-vs-multi-user would have make no difference whatsoever to a user-mode driver -- since by the time the driver does something you already went from the application to the kernel to the user-mode-driver, the driver has no way of knowing where the request even came from - so how can it be different?
I think this is especially true for a disk driver, where waiting for a platter to spin and an arm to seek are pretty much the only things that make them fast or slow since the CPU's so fast compared to the moving parts.

Re:Performance (2, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724739)

Any sources or references for that?

Performance problems are a well-known fundamental problem with microkernel architectures that use user-mode processes. If you're interested in the subject, there are lots (and lots) of discussions about it (hint: your instincts above are wrong). Google is your friend.

Re:Performance (2, Interesting)

zataang (596856) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724740)

I fail to understand your logic. Why would you have multiple people accessing a Windows partition? Either you have a Windows server, or you have a Linux server. I just don't foresee having an NTFS partition on a Linux server (which serves multiple users) being so actively used as to cause performance problems. Also, being in the user space has its own advantages in terms of robustness. Given that ntfs is not documented (well?), I would be much more assured if the module stays out of the kernel. Why do I need to suffer random crashes?

Re:Performance (2, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724823)

Actually, they should do no such thing. Kernel is big and complex enough as it is. Kernel drivers can not use virtual memory, explicit multithreading or advanced algorithms from MP, STL and hundreds of other C++ libraries. And when they have bugs, the system really crashes and burns as opposed to just a couple of processes getting file errors.

Yay (-1, Troll)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724502)

Only 10-12 years after NTFS was launched?

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724526)

gee and ntfs has remained completely static that whole time

Re:Yay (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724531)

What's the last closed-source file system you completely reverse-engineered, then?

Re:Yay (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724588)

Still years before NTFS will be documented. And Microsoft doesn't supply a ReiserFS or Ext3 driver even though those filesystems are documented.

Re:Yay (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724753)

Good point, I wonder why they don't. The reason is of course anti-open source ideology. But I believe MS has a business case here to support ReiserFS

As far as I understand NTFS will be laid open because of the ruling of EU competition authorities. Now MS pays millions a day because they do not comply yet.

And anyway, as a business you should write to your competition&antitrust office and complain.

---
What is regulation in the US like: When you take the original MS Windows source code and document it, may others use your documentation?

This is great news (1)

scenestar (828656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724528)

Kudos to the devs.

This is one less barrier for linux interoperabillity taken away.

Maybe the fact that winfs was canceled is a good thing.

Re:This is great news (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724581)

> This is one less barrier for linux interoperabillity taken away.

> Maybe the fact that winfs was canceled is a good thing.

Not so fast dude! I can almost guarantee that there will be an update to NTFS in the Windows environment that will introduce incompatibilities. We in the Linux environment will be playing catch up once again. Are we 100% sure that Windows Vista will use NTFS? I doubt.

This is good news though.

Re:This is great news (1)

MioTheGreat (926975) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724612)

"Are we 100% sure that Windows Vista will use NTFS?"

Yes. The only change I've seen to NTFS is the addition of Transactional NTFS support, though.

Re:This is great news (3, Funny)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724686)

When I installed Vista Beta 2 on a friend's box, it required use of NTFS for its root partition (the C: drive as you Windows people like to call it), so I'd say that Vista will use NTFS. Then again, Vista might as well use Reiser5 or something, because that will be the default filesystem on Debian Stable kernels by the time Vista comes out.

Re:This is great news (3, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724711)

The `beef' is not whether Vista will use NTFS. The concern is that even if it uses NTFS, there will be an update to this NTFS that will "force" Linux into catch-up position. Guys, this develpoment is not in Microsoft's interest. Remember what happenning to Samba with CIFS/SMB? The underlying protocol remained basically intact but Microsoft kept updating the CIFS/SMB protocol.

Result? We were and are still playing catch up depending on who you speak to.

Not Just Linux (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724529)

FUSE has been ported to FreeBSD, and it appears that the driver also works there.

Re:Not Just Linux (2, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724567)

Which means that this may make it into OS X 10.5 ;-p Hurray! Which potentially means that we Mac users 'could' run Windows dual boot AND use Parallels/VMWare with the same install of Windows AFAIK.... ???

Re:Not Just Linux (1)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724716)

Unlikely, Windows tends to freak out if it wakes up with a different motherboard to when it went to sleep.. You might get it to boot but it would probably bluescreen before you got the chance to do much.

I was very impressed the first time I moved a linux disk to another box and booted it. The first boot it freaked out a bit, but on restarting it booted pretty much fine. A few config tweaks and it was happy as larry.

Re:Not Just Linux (1)

GlobalEcho (26240) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724798)

Unlikely, Windows tends to freak out if it wakes up with a different motherboard to when it went to sleep

I don't believe the GP is proposing sleeping under the virtual machine and waking again in Boot Camp.

You might get it to boot but it would probably bluescreen before you got the chance to do much.

It would be easy, though, to allow the VM and Boot Camp to share many applications and user settings on an NTFS volume, as Windows is quite used to Active Directory and other ways of separating the user environment from the machine it is running on. Not Unix- or OSX-level separation to be sure, but it is there. That alone would save the majority of duplicated HD space between a VM and Boot Camp. The OS itself is probably less than 1GB.

It may even be possible to develop (on the VM side) some way of keeping "alternative" system files and executables around, to be substituted for the ones present on the NTFS partition as necessary so that the system behaves properly. An even better trick would be to make such a solution work with Windows Genuine Advantage (or whatever it is called) as well as FLEXlm and other license managers so that a single license for Windows and proprietary software will suffice for both installations.

It is worth noting that one thing you give up by having a VM use an actual partition is the incredible portability and duplicatability of VMs stored in a disk image.

Re:Not Just Linux (1)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724872)

Well they did say they wanted to run the same copy of Windows on both.

Other than that yes I broadly agree with your other points. I don't know how feasible it is to share app installs across windows versions (can you share a registry?) but it'd be nice if you could.

Personally VMs aren't a huge amount of use to me at the moment. The only thing really keeping an XP partition on my box is Cubase, but unfortunately the audio drivers in VMWare aren't up to the task. Doubt they will be for the forseeable future either :(

Re:Not Just Linux (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724797)

I can see windows not liking that. Too much hardware mismatch, possibly? Definitely a different video card between the two "machines", possibly different loads of other things (depending on how the virtualization is done). windows might throw a "different machine, won't boot" fit.

Re:Not Just Linux (1)

Fez (468752) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724869)

Even if it did manage to boot (which it might, if you're lucky) it would probably trigger the product activation routine, since the hardware has changed so much. That is, unless you're using a volume license copy that doesn't require activation.

Since SP2, we've had a lot more luck swapping motherboards and such and having Windows installs survive without needing a repair install. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The odds are better lately, but it's still a roll of the dice.

No 64-bit (4, Informative)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724530)

Looks like a great piece of work. One important note from the article:
Problem: Why doesn't the driver work on 64-bit and bigendian systems?
Answer: We have no resource for that. Neither hardware, nor workforce.
Status: Low priority.

Re:No 64-bit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724648)

Who would have interesting data on NTFS on 64-bit platforms anyway. If you have 64-bit hardware it's more likely Linux is your primary OS, and you'd be more interested in the Windows-ext3 drivers (which do exist, IIRC) or the Windows-jfs/xfs/reiserfs drivers (which I've not seen yet).

Awesome! (3, Funny)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724536)

Except that every partition tool under the sun fails on my NTFS drives, so I can't even install Linux anywhere... so my computer is STILL Linux proof.

Re:Awesome! (5, Informative)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724555)

A reply from the developper :

Currently I'm not interested in the kernel driver. It's a lost case for over a decade. Full read-write could be done in user space pretty fast and I can't see drawbacks, only benefits:

- NTFS is huge and complex, not for the kernel. Crash in kernel (hw error, corrupt ntfs, etc) and game is over. Crash in user space then just restart the service.
- kernel has a lot of limitations, restrictions which are all gone.
- fedora/redhat users have never ending hassles with installing the driver. Instead they could install ntfs-3g once and forget the issue forever.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Mini-Geek (915324) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724577)

- NTFS is huge and complex, not for the kernel. Crash in kernel (hw error, corrupt ntfs, etc) and game is over. Crash in user space then just restart the service.
But Windows XP has NTFS support in its kernel, why can't Linux?

cue the "yeah but that's why Windows crashes all the time" flames...and if they're right, then what's the big difference between having FAT32 support and having NTFS support?

Re:Awesome! (2, Insightful)

OmnipotentEntity (702752) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724637)

Linux *can* have ntfs support in the kernel. The developers just chose not to do it that way. FAT32 support is very stable. NTFS is still in flux as Microsoft is still developing it.

From TFA, The driver currently is in BETA status: before release of this software we haven't experienced any driver crashes or data loss during our heavy quality testing, however we are aware of some minor issues which will be resolved in the near future.

It's still in beta. While it's a GPL'd beta, and probably far more stable than beta implies. It's still beta, and you should expect it to bug out from time to time (whether or not this is actually the case.)

So, if you have it when it bugs out as a kernel module you get a kernel panic. I don't like kernel panics, and you shouldn't like them either. So keeping it to the userland is probably best for now. Do you really need it as a kernel module?

Re:Awesome! (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724804)

> It's still in beta. While it's a GPL'd beta

Out of curiosity: How does a regular beta differ from a "GPL'd beta"?

Re:Awesome! (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724821)

Regular beta's eventually come out of beta.
GPL'd betas just gain an incredibly stable core with unstable advanced features continuously in flux.

Re:Awesome! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724645)

Jesus Christ. This is the stupidest comment I've read in a damn long time. What possesses the AOL'ers to sign up here?

Re:Awesome! (2, Insightful)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724649)

But Linux has ext[2|3], reiser[3|4], XFS, JFS, ... in its kernel, why can't Windows ?

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724681)

But Linux has ext[2|3], reiser[3|4], XFS, JFS, ... in its kernel, why can't Windows ?

As far as I'm aware, the ext2/ext3 drivers for Windows do run in kernel mode, as do the BSD FFS drivers (I don't know if XFS, JFS or reiser drivers have been written). The difference is that these are open source file systems, so it can be known that a port to the Windows IFS (Installable File System) interface is correct. NTFS, on the other hand, is closed, and only Microsoft know what will change with each new release, so the correctness of any reimplementation is questionable. Even so, a well written NTFS driver should still be able to run in kernel mode on Linux: running in user mode doesn't add anything of value unless the driver is prone to crashing.

Re:Awesome! (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724694)

Maybe Microsoft has never heard of those filesystems? I've noticed that most BSD and other UNIX-like distros use their own filesystem instead of using Linux's main filesystem (ext3), so Windows is just doing what many distros do. I'm quite sure that most of said distros support other filesystems, but insist on using its native filesystem for things like root and boot.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724767)

Yeah, and you CAN shoot yourself in the foot, so why don't you?!!

Re:Awesome! (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724560)

Huh? Never thought to simply put in an extra drive? You can dual boot off two separate hard drives.... Just put your fancy new NTFS reading Linux drive as master.... and use a standard Linux dual boot app to pick windows when you want it.

Re:Awesome! (2, Informative)

Dave2 Wickham (600202) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724756)

Actually, it's not quite that simple; Windows (2000, at least) doesn't like it if it's not on the primary HDD. You have to make Windows think it is on the primary HDD to allow it to boot. In GRUB it's a case of adding the following lines:
map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)
Not a major change, but without knowing this beforehand, you can't just get Windows to boot off a secondary HDD.

Re:Awesome! (3, Informative)

rthille (8526) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724566)

Try booting a live linux CD, then using 'dd' to zero out the first 16K of the disk.
Then reboot from the CD and reformat the drive.

Sometimes the partition software can get confused by what's there, and the kernel will cobble up reasonable information about the drive from the drive's response itself.

Of course if you want to preserve your NTFS partition that's not a good approach. However, I've had bad luck with resizing windows partitions, so my approach is to backup, reformat, reinstall, and reload from the backup.

Re:Awesome! (2, Informative)

ABoerma (941672) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724573)

SUSE's intaller YaST let me resize NTFS partitions. You might want to try that.

Re:Awesome! (5, Informative)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724578)

How to do it...

Assuming partition tables are "fubar".

#1 BACK UP ALL YOUR DATA. This is normally a sign of a failing drive.

#2 Download and burn a bootable CD of you hard drive vendors diagnostic kit.

#3 Run it, and "recertify" your drive. May take a couple of hours (and, you may just want to dumpster the drive, if your time is valuable). If the drive does not certify, discard it.

#4 Boot your system with Knoppix, or another recovery Linux system. Issue the command: "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda" (replace hda with hdb, hdc, hdd, etc. depending on which hard drive it is).

#5 Run Linux partitioning tool "fdisk /dev/hda". You *will* get a complaint about an improper partition table, which is ok. Partition, and write the new partition table.

#5b Alternatively, boot a Linux installation CD, and load Linux. Ignore warnings about "improper partitioning", and choose to have the partition table replaced.

The IMPORTANT steps are 1 to 3. If the partition table cannot be manipulated, it is an almost sure sign your drive is heading south.

Ratboy

Why? (1, Informative)

matt me (850665) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724701)

What drew you to using NTFS on your drives? That data is destined to obsolete itself. No other operating system can write to it ( Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, you name 'em) can write to it. Nor can older versions of Windows (98, ME). That leaves only Windows 2000 and XP. Vista may well stick with NTFS rather than WinFS, but the installer won't let you install over XP, but demand to reformat the target disc.

But other operating systems can *read* NTFS, so you can just copy it off, format the drive to a better file system, and put the data back.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

SirTalon42 (751509) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724873)

1.) WinFS was canned a good while ago
2.) Despite its name, WinFS is NOT a new file system, just a layer on top of NTFS.

Not as good as it claims to be (-1, Redundant)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724563)

Yeah, they don't corrupt a directory, but you can create or delete "about ten" files in a single directory before the operations starts being refused. That's really pretty useless.

Re:Not as good as it claims to be (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724597)

What ntfsmount can do?

        *
            Resize files. (Always work.)
        *
            Create files and hardlinks. (This will either succeed or it will be refused, 50-50% at the moment. Up to about 10 files can be created in a directory.)
        *
            Create directories. (Same as above.)
        *
            Remove files/directories (Works fine or removal will be refused, 90-10% at the moment.)
        *
            Operate with special Interix files (symlinks, devices, FIFOs and sockets.)

this is from their wiki.. really.. no thanks

Re:Not as good as it claims to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724665)

Windows users are used to this, though. Remember the FAA even had procedures in place [slashdot.org] to reboot their Windows boxes regularly since they would crash every 49.7 days (or was it minutes) [interesting-people.org]. I'd say "about ten" will about double the effectiveness of NTFS compared to the primary vendor(90% joking).

Re:Not as good as it claims to be (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724676)

The limitations you reference are for linux-ntfs. This thread concerns a new project with the same goals that may or may not be merged into linux-ntfs in the future, but is "capable for unlimited file creation and deletion", according to this exchange between the respective developers

http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php?threa d_id=23836054&forum_id=2697 [sourceforge.net]

This is off-topic, but... (1)

reynaert (264437) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724606)

Can anybody explain why SourceForge's mail archive uses such freaking huge text [rave.org]? This can't be what SourceForge's web designers intended, but I don't have this problem on any other website, so I doubt it is a local problem.

Re:This is off-topic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724621)

because sourceforge is a piece of shit?

Re:This is off-topic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724653)

Does anyone find it annoying when they try to download something from sourceforge ? You click download... you get the list of mirrors... you choose a mirror, the 'your download will start shortly' page comes up.. then your download starts. Did you really want it to start ? No, you were just looking for the link so you could paste it into a terminal window for download. Why ? because the link listed on the original download page won't work because it requires you to choose a mirror and command line download tools don't really know how to choose a mirror. It seams like a lot of process just for one download. Don't these bandwidth saving measures seam a little 1995 ?

Re:This is off-topic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724691)

No problem heare, check your browsers font settings. Why are your browser icons so big and ugly?

Right click on them, select cusomize, check the use small icons check-box and hit done.

Re:This is off-topic, but... (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724703)

Your font setting for monospace might be odd. Check it out, and make sure to check all the languages if it seems okay at first.

Re:This is off-topic, but... (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724715)

They screwed it up with the new layout. It used to work fine for me too.

Cue drumroll for New! Improved! MS file system (2, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724663)

This is the cue for Microsoft to roll out a new! improved! disk directory format.

If I were Microsoft, I'd make just enough undocumented changes to screw up reverse-engineered implementations of NTFS... providing just enough increased functionality to which I could Point With Pride.

I might even called it WinFS 2007 or WinFS X-Treme or Enterprise WinFS. It wouldn't have anything to do with the real WinFS... anything more than Javascript had to do with Java, or Mac OS 9 had to do with Copland, but it would certainly muddy the buzzword waters.

Imagine a meeting with nerds and suits present in which the nerds make the mistake of mentioning Microsoft's failure to deliver WinFS, the suits would wave their magazine and say they had, then drum their fingers, yawn, and look at their watches while the poor nerds try to explain the complex technical issues and how WinFS was supposed to therblig the frammistan while WinFS Gold merely globulorns the ferthbernder.

Re:Cue drumroll for New! Improved! MS file system (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724713)

Two points:

1. The likelihood that anyone at Microsoft cares about whether or not Linux can read and write to NTFS is vanishingly small. If anything, a good NTFS driver for Linux means more people who dual-boot will use NTFS for their shared partitions, which might be marginally good for Microsoft.

2. From what I've read, WinFS (which stands for Windows Future Storage, not Windows File System) isn't a new file system at all, just a set of database services that run on top of NTFS. That's why Microsoft were able to delay it until after the Windows Vista release, since it can always be added to a Windows Vista system later on, without any changes to the underlying (NTFS) file system.

Re:Cue drumroll for New! Improved! MS file system (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724735)

"Oh, that's not WinFS. They just renamed NTFS2 to try and cover their asses and screw with people's heads. Fortunately we're all well informed here so we didn't fall for that one, eh guys? *nudge nudge*"

How hard is that?

Re:Cue drumroll for New! Improved! MS file system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724754)

I think you'll find they did NTFS as
a. FAT is/was too lacking in features needed for the NewTechnology
b. As a branch from HPFS on OS/2
In fact wasn't it MS that invented file system drivers whilst all the Unix system of the time stuck to UFS & various flavours of?

Re:Cue drumroll for New! Improved! MS file system (1)

KingArthur10 (679328) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724792)

Microsoft Windows Live WinFS Enterprise 2007. That sounds more like a Microsoft naming convention.

"Works" - 50/50 (0)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724707)

It might be fully open source, but it isn't fully working yet. From their Wiki:
What ntfsmount can do?
  • Resize files. (Always work.)
  • Create files and hardlinks. (This will either succeed or it will be refused, 50-50% at the moment. Up to about 10 files can be created in a directory.)
  • Create directories. (Same as above.)
  • Remove files/directories (Works fine or removal will be refused, 90-10% at the moment.)
  • Operate with special Interix files (symlinks, devices, FIFOs and sockets.)
At least it is unlikely to cause filesystem corruption now.

ntfsmount != ntfs-3g (4, Informative)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724721)

ntfs-3g is brand new and it not the same thing as ntfsmount, which is what the current documentation covers. Please read the ntfs-3g announcement [sourceforge.net], which promises practically unlimited file creation and deletion.

Re:"Works" - 50/50 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724776)

Yes, ntfsmount doesn't look very useful to me.

It's good job we're talking about ntfs-3g, which is a different and much improved FUSE driver that is an improved version of ntfsmount. ntfs-3g does not have those limitations. The developer even posts performance figures that he obtained using bonie++: he's tested ntfs-3g by creating tens of thousands of files and directories.

Is it stable? (2, Informative)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724719)

as I recall, the problem with the kernel driver is it's not considered safe for writing. There's plenty of antecdotal evidence that it's ok to write, and I've done it, but has the been run through it's paces?

Re:Is it stable? (1)

slightcrazed (973882) | more than 7 years ago | (#15724863)

This isn't a kernel driver - this is a userspace utility. You are correct that the NTFS driver included in the linux kernel does not have reliable write ability, but this has nothing to do with the kernel NTFS read driver.

Just in time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724734)

For the new WinFS features in Vista to make it all incompatible again.

Oh, right. :-)

My thoughts on this... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724742)

So, you guys are stealing from MS again? Where the fuck is the innovation? Come on all you Linux whiners; where is your outrage about another MS idea being stolen? Oh but that's right... To quote your leader:

"If you want to travel around the world and be invited to speak at a lot of different places, just write a Unix operating system." (By Linus Torvalds)

Too bad he wasn't more honest and said "just STEAL your ideas from everyone else and call it a Unix operating system" You're all nothing but fucking thieves!

Alternate Data Streams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15724843)

Anyone know if this works with ADS (Alternate Data Streams)?
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