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OpenSuSE 11.1 Quick Start Guide
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11.3 Accessing Files on Different OS on the Same Computer

New computers generally ship with a preinstalled operating system, usually Windows. If you have installed Linux on a different partition, you might want to exchange files between the different operating systems.

Windows can not read Linux partitions per default. If you want to exchange files between these two operating systems, you have to create an exchange partition. If you prefer a more directly approach look at to get a driver supporting an ext2 filesystem on Windows. The following file systems are used by Windows and can be accessed from a Linux machine:


Various flavors of this file system are used by MS-DOS and Windows 95 and 98. You can create this type of file system with YaST. It is possible to read and write files on FAT partitions from Linux. The size of a FAT partition and even the maximum size of a single file is subject to restrictions, depending on the FAT version. See for more information about FAT file systems.


The NTFS file system is used by Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista. openSUSE includes write access support to the NTFS file system. However, the driver for the NTFS-3g filesystem has limited functionality. At the moment there is no support for Windows file permissions and you can not access encoded or compressed files. See for more information about NTFS-3g.

During the installation of openSUSE, your Windows partitions are detected. After starting your Linux system, the Windows partitions usually are mounted. These are possible ways of accessing your Windows data:


Press Alt+F2 and enter sysinfo:/. A new window opens displaying the characteristics of your machine. Disk Information lists your partitions. Look at those that are of the file system type ntfs or vfat and click on these entries. If the partition is not already mounted, KDE mounts the partition now and displays the contents.

Command Line

Just list the contents of /windows to see one or more directories containing your Windows drives. The directory /windows/c maps to the Windows drive C:\, for example.

NOTE: Changing the Accessibility of Windows Partitions

Initially, Windows partitions are mounted read-only for normal users to avoid accidental damage to the file system. To grant normal users full access to a mounted Windows partition, change the mount behavior of this Windows partition. Refer to the manual page of the mount command for more information on mount options for vfat and to the maual page of ntfs-3g on mount options for NTFS.

OpenSuSE 11.1 Quick Start Guide
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  Published under the terms fo the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire