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Migrate to Linux and safely continue to read/write data currently residing on the NTFS file system.

Posted on 2007-04-07
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
My home PC has two internal hard disks.  Windows XP is installed on the first hard disk using NTFS.
My data is stored on the second hard disk using NTFS.

I have tried MEPIS 6.5 and would like to use it instead of Windows XP on my home PC.
From what I understand MEPIS 6.5 comes with the ntfs-3g driver for reading and writing NTFS partitions.

From researching online I am unable to determine how safe it is using Linux to read and write to NTFS partitions.  Some users say it's fine.  Others say it's still experimental.  

So I'm not sure what to do.

Obviously I want my data to remain intact.  Should I;

A) Keep the second hard disk as is with NTFS.  Use MEPIS 6.5 with the ntfs-3g driver for reading and writing to my second hard disks NTFS partition.

or

B) Backup the data from the second hard disk.  Then, wipe the second hard disk and reformat that second hard disk as ext3 or some other Linux FS.  Then, restore the data to the second hard disk.  That way I don't even have to worry about NTFS.

What do you recommend?  Do you have other ideas?

Thank you!
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Question by:bz43
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18870071
I can't speak on the reliability, but given how long it's been experimental, I wouldn't be using it on my data.  BUT, that said, what about your backups? You do have backups, right?  Frankly, I'd leave the NTFS drive as read-only and then get another drive and use that as a read/write disk (drives are CHEAP now)
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nedvis earned 125 total points
ID: 18871738
I've just downloaded and burned latest Mepis 6.5 CD which I would like to install and give it a try so I can't say anything regarding its NTFS reading/writing capabilities. From my experience with other distributions (Fedora, SUSE, PCLinuxOS and Vector 5.8 ) I can just tell Linux can handle NTFS volumes very well , but again, all my data on NTFS volumes are only MP3, Ogg and JPEG files ( not really "Data"  or at least not critical data).

I would wholeheartedly support your "plan B"  (" Backup the data from the second hard disk.  Then, wipe the second hard disk and reformat that second hard disk as ext3 or some other Linux FS..." )
Once you get familiar with Linux and "Microsoft free"  you'll celebrate the day you ditched NTFS .
One more thing : stay away from ReiserFS . There are some reports on random system reboots, reiserfs volume corruption etc. Someone said : "Reiserfs is all about speed - not reliability"

good luck


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by:bz43
ID: 18872715
Hi leew,

Yes I backup my second hard drive containing my data on an external hard drive :)
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Author Comment

by:bz43
ID: 18872717
Hi nedvis,

OK.  I'll go with plan "B".

Thank you!
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