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Linux tips: Access Windows partitions from Linux

Posted In Linux - By Techtiplib on Sunday, June 3rd, 2012 With No Comments »

Basically Linux can access (after mounting) any partition, whose filesystem it can recognize (e.g. Fat 32, Ext2). Windows 95/98 partitions are Fat32 partitions and these can be accessed through Linux with some settings. This posting helps you do that. Once you have done that, you can save your work on these partitions and also access all your data from these partitions. Making a filesystem to be visible under Linux (or including a filesystem under Linux) is knows as ‘Mounting that filesystem’.

I have around 1 GB of mp3s on my Windows partition and creating a duplicate copy of that in my Linux partition doesn’t make sense. So currently I access my Fat32 partition through Linux (after mounting them) and I can play all the mp3s that are present in my Windows partitions, through Linux.

(By the way I use XMMS to play mp3s. The posting “Using Winamp Skins with XMMS” explains how to make good use of XMMS).


The setup of my system is explained in the table

Linux device Size Type Description
/dev/hda1 2 GB Win 95 Fat32 C:\ in Windows (Within Primary Partition)
/dev/hda3 1 GB Linux Native Consists of / and /boot (Within Primary Partition)
/dev/hda4 60MB Linux Swap (Within Primary Partition)
/dev/hda5 3GB Win 95 Fat32 D:\ in Windows
Logical 1st partition (Within Extended Partition)
/dev/hda6 2GB Linux Native Consists of /usr
Logical 2nd partition (Within Extended Partition)

My partition /dev/hda5 is reserved for mp3s alone. The procedure below lets me mount that partition and whenever I start Linux, all the data on that partition is available to me.


1. Use Linuxconf for doing the following. You can start Linuxconf from the Gnome Programs Menu ->System Submenu or from the K Menu or by typing ‘linuxconf’ at the prompt (bash).

2. Select Filesystems from the left panel.

3. Then click on Access local drives in the left panel.

4. You would be shown the current local filesystems that are recognized by Linux. Click on Add button

5. After clicking Add you will be presented with a tabbed window. In the tab named Base (This name might

6. change in future Linux distributions) enter the partition name as /dev/hda5 (hda5 is the one that I want).

7. Enter the type as vfat (this makes long file names to be recognized under Linux)

8. Select mount point as /mnt/win (Click yes if it asks you to create a directory)

9. In the tab named Options, Deselect ‘Not mount at boot time’ .. so that every time your machine starts this filesystem is available.

10. Also Uncheck ‘read only’.. if you want to write to that partition from within Linux

11. Finish the settings by clicking on Ok or Finish.

Now the new File System (Your Windows partition) would be available under the folder /mnt/win

Important: Avoid mounting the C:\ Drive of Windows (where you must have installed Windows OS) under Linux. Since if you use the superuser mode frequently, then you may accidentally delete a few important Windows files which you wont be able to recover. Windows may then not boot the next time you try. Hence always mount only the partitions other than your root Windows partition.

Note: Whatever changes you have made above would be seen in the file named /etc/fstab . The fstab file basically presents all the filesystems information in a tabular form . The new Windows partition that you just mounted would now be seen as a new row in this table. Also in future if you want to add a new partition you can edit this file directly instead of using linuxconf (for beginners, I suggest using linuxconf).


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