On my system i have windows 7 and ubuntu 10.04 installed.

I need to share large amounts of data between both OS. My idea is to set up a partition which both system can access and exchange data. Any suggestions which filesystem to use for this?

5 Answers 5


I use ext3fs and have a IFS plugin that lets Winders read it without issue (to date!). Well except if you let Windows hibernate. But who wants to waste 4 gigs of disk space just for hibernate, anyway?

I have a 320 GB drive on my laptop, 100GB NTFS to boot Windows, and the rest is ext3fs for my Linux dual boot (OpenSuse11.2) and broken into a couple of partitions. I have the ext3fs partitions mapped as T: U: and V: drives. Have been running this way across two laptops, and three hard drives in this last one, for 4 years no, without issue.

Though I should qualify and say that I am running in Winders XP SP3 at the moment. Not yet tried it in Win 7. Not sure if there is a 64 bit version either.

  • Have you experienced any stability issues (e.g. BSOD) when using the ifs driver on windows? What about performance? Jul 7, 2010 at 14:04
  • Not that I can track down to it. Lately (3 years into this laptop) I have been getting some odd blue screens, but nothing that makes me think it is linked to the file systems. Performance seems fine. I run Eclipse based apps off the linux file systems, and it seems to perform the same as off the NTFS file system.
    – geoffc
    Jul 7, 2010 at 16:54

NTFS is pretty much your most problem-free option. It's used by default in Windows and Ubuntu supports it perfectly. Windows does not support any of the traditional Linux filesystems out of the box. I believe there are ext3 Windows drivers (haven't heard of any for ext4), but in my opinion filesystem drivers in Windows constitute shaky ground.


I'd recommend NTFS. You can access it from Linux using ntfs-3g, and it doesn't have any of the silly file size restrictions that FAT32 has.

You certainly can't use any of the normal Linux filesystems - Windows can't read ext{2,3,4}, XFS, ReiserFS, btrfs, etc.

  • There used to be an ext3 driver for Windows, but I think the maintainer lost interest. Jul 7, 2010 at 13:57
  • I know the are driver for ext2/3 for windows, but the last time (2 years ago) i tested these drivers were somehow unstable. Have you tried any of these driver lately? Jul 7, 2010 at 13:58
  • 1
    If it is a notebook be careful with ntfs-3g, too. Especially if hibernating, booting linux, writing to hibernated partition, waking windows - had file system issues (lost data) with this scenario. On the other hand ext2/3 drivers for windows are not bad and linux usually don't leave the filesystem in such poor state that you have to worry about data loss.
    – Unreason
    Jul 7, 2010 at 15:12

I suggest you a NTFS partition or simply make windows Partition bigger and access it from Linux.


In a similar situation (with a couple of Macs in the mix as well), I just set up a NAS and shared the data through that. All three OSes can handle SMB, and Macs and Linux also do NFS natively.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.