NTFS

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Not to be confused with NFS.

NTFS (New Technology File System) is a proprietary disk filesystem by Microsoft for Windows and Windows-based operating systems.

There are two primary methods to achieve NTFS support when using Linux. The kernel itself includes limited write support for the NTFS filesystem. This can be seen in the native support section below. There is also a FUSE filesystem driver called NTFS-3G that includes better write support. Because of this, most users who need NTFS support opt for the FUSE implementation over the rather limited built-in support.

Installation

Kernel

Important
Before Linux v5.15, the mainlined NTFS kernel driver had very limited functional support for NTFS. The kernel configuration information defines support as "partial, but safe". The old driver could overwrite existing files but is not capable of file or directory creation, deletion, or renaming. Most NTFS users will want to enable the FUSE-powered version for systems running pre-v5.15 kernels.

Native support

As of Linux v5.15, Paragon's in-kernel NTFS driver will be available. This new "NTFSv3" driver is more fully featured and supports full read/write and compression capabilities.

KERNEL Enabling built-in NTFS (limited write support) via CONFIG_NTFS_RW
File systems  --->
    DOS/FAT/NT Filesystems  --->
        <*> NTFS file system support
        <*>   NTFS write support

FUSE support (NTFS-3G)

The following kernel options must be enabled for NTFS read/write capabilities over FUSE in Linux:

KERNEL Enabling NTFS over FUSE using NTFS-3G
File systems  --->
    <*> FUSE (Filesystem in Userspace) support

The sys-fs/ntfs3g package is also required (see the emerge section below).

USE flags

Because NTFS-3G is a FUSE-based filesystem, it requires user space utilities. It is currently the best implementation of NTFS for Linux and the only FUSE-based implementation available in the main Gentoo repository. Make sure you enable USE flag suid, otherwise you get an error "read only filesystem".

USE flags for sys-fs/ntfs3g Open source read-write NTFS driver that runs under FUSE

acl Add support for Access Control Lists
debug Enable extra debug codepaths, like asserts and extra output. If you want to get meaningful backtraces see https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Project:Quality_Assurance/Backtraces
ntfsdecrypt Build and install the ntfsdecrypt application.
ntfsprogs Include internal version of ntfsprogs.
static-libs Build static versions of dynamic libraries as well
suid Enable setuid root program, with potential security risks
xattr Add support for extended attributes (filesystem-stored metadata)

Emerge

After reviewing USE flags and making adjustments as necessary, install the FUSE user space tools in order to manipulate NTFS filesystems:

root #emerge --ask sys-fs/ntfs3g

Usage

Creation

Warning
The mkfs.ntfs command irreversibly destroys the contents of the partition it is told to format. Be sure to select the right partition before running this command!

To create an NTFS filesystem on the /dev/sda1 partition (needs ntfsprogs USE flag):

root #mkfs.ntfs /dev/sdyX

Please replace /dev/sdyX with the actual partition you want to format.

Mount

There are several ways to mount a NTFS filesystem:

Native support

Using the read-only capable driver provided by the kernel:

root #mount -t ntfs /dev/device /path/to/mountpoint

FUSE (NTFS-3G)

Using the read/write capable driver provided by the kernel:

root #mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/device /path/to/mountpoint

Force mount NTFS partition after Windows was hibernated

NTFS file systems controlled by Windows may be hibernated instead of cleanly shutdown in order to save on system start times. When this occurs it will not be possible to mount the NTFS partition unless the hiberfil.sys file is removed. The following command can be used to force-mount a hibernated partition, which will result in the hiberfile being removed; all data in the file will be lost. Windows will have to perform a clean boot in order to resume operation:

root #mount -t ntfs-3g -o remove_hiberfile /path/to/device /path/to/mountpoint

On the Windows system, in order to prevent unclean shutdowns from Windows it is possible to run powercfg /h off from an Administrator command prompt. This will disable hibernation which will most likely increase boot times when booting Windows, but has the benefit of cleanly unmounting the drive.}}

Tip
If obtaining Administrator access to prevent hibernation is not possible on a Windows 10 system, then try the following workaround:
  1. Boot Windows to the Windows login screen.
  2. Click the power button (bottom right hand corner), then press and hold the shift key and click Restart.
  3. Choose advanced options, then reboot to the UEFI firmware settings.
  4. Once in the UEFI firmware, choose the appropriate boot entry for Linux.
This should forcing Windows to perform a clean shutdown, which will enable a clean filesystem mount for NTFS-3G.

Beta features & releases

Jean-Pierre André, one of the ntfs-3g developers, provides some add-ons and releases in his website, not yet included in the official stable releases. See the page NTFS-3G in the Archlinux Wiki, the section "Beta features & releases."

See also

  • FAT — originally created for use with MS-DOS (and later pre-NT Microsoft Windows)
  • DislockerFUSE-based filesystem driver capable of reading NTFS BitLocker encrypted partitions.
  • Ext4 — an open source disk filesystem and most recent version of the extended series of filesystems.
  • Btrfs — a copy-on-write (CoW) filesystem for Linux aimed at implementing advanced features while focusing on fault tolerance, self-healing properties, and easy administration.
  • Tmpfs — a virtual filesystem created to store files in dynamic (volatile) memory.
  • UEFI Dual boot with Windows 7/8 — describes how to dual boot Microsoft Windows on a UEFI computer.

External resources

References