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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

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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.

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  • 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
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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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