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Windows Alternatives to NTFS? 140

Posted by Cliff
from the seeking-more-filesystem-drivers dept.
Maidjeurtam asks: "I'm a multi-OS user. Although Linux is what I use the most these days (I run it on my primary P4 box and on my iBook), I also run Mac OS X and a Windows XP on other machines. Of course, those boxes are networked, but sometimes, I just prefer to plug one machine's hard disk into another. I often work with big DV files (> 4GiB) and it looks like I have no other choice than having a different filesystem on each of my boxes. Granted, Linux can read NTFS (Macs can too) and even write to NTFS partitions thanks to tools like Captive, but I don't like the idea of running Windows code on my Linux box. In fact, I don't want my data stored on a proprietary, closed filesystem. I've googled a bit and it seems there's no modern (free-as-in-speech) filesystem I can install on Windows. I'd love to have ReiserFS running on my XP box, for example. Am I condemned to stay with NTFS, or do you guys know of a Windows-compatible, open filesystem that I can use?"
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Windows Alternatives to NTFS?

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  • It's not "open" but it's well-known and a bit of a defacto standard.
    • File size (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sethadam1 (530629) * <> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @02:47PM (#9306258) Homepage

      Last I checked, you couldn't have files over 4 gb in size on a FAT partition.
      • Re:File size (Score:4, Informative)

        by jmac880n (659699) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @02:51PM (#9306310)

        Last I checked, you couldn't have files over 4 gb in size on a FAT partition.

        Maybe not, but most modern DV tools have options to break files into manageable-sized chunks, usually 1 or 2 Gb.

        • Last I checked, my 60GB fat32 formatted USB drive was working just fine. XP/2K didn't want to format that large a partition, but my parents' old Win ME machine was pleased as punch to do it, and every machine/OS I've used it with has been just fine with it.

          As for >4GB files, that's not my problem.
          • From Microsoft's own web site:
   ation/W indows/XP/all/reskit/en-us/Default.asp?url=/resour ces/documentation/Windows/XP/all/reskit/en-us/prkc _fil_tdrn.asp

            MS Windows can mount FAT 32 partitions larger than 32 GB, but will not create partitions larger than 32GB.
            • Re:File size (Score:3, Interesting)

              by LSD-OBS (183415)
              I'm not sure why you are so insistent on not believing what people are saying here, but let me drill the point in.

              You *CAN* and *DO* create FAT32 partitions larger than 32Gb in various revisions of Windows. The largest one I have created, using Microsoft's own Windows Installer, was 200Gb. However, there are many revisions that have an added 'feature' which removes this ability. The Win2k OEM CD that came with my laptop, for instance, refuses. Yet my friend's Win2k CD happily creates FAT32 partitions as bi
              • 2 1/2 months ago I bought a 60Gb HD for my PIII 500MHz Toshiba laptop. Originally it came with a 6Gb disk and the (Dutch) Toshiba Importer simply denied the possibility to have the BIOS recognise anything bigger.
                The friendly chap that runs a small computer shop in town said we will just try it, no risk. After the disk was put in he used an XP-PRO disk to format it to a single 60 Gb partition.

                Regretfully as NTFS, so once at home I used the Toshiba OEM W98 disk to reformat the drive to FAT32, still 60 Gb an

        • Yes let's go for that 'simple' solution! :-)
      • hell, Id be surprised if you could get over 2GB (FAT 32, 2^32.... :)

        • oops :) too early for me... 2^32 is, of course, 4GB... FAT16, 2^16 is 2GB... but its all been said already

          • No, 2^16 is 64k... 2^31 is 2GB.
          • Re:File size (Score:2, Informative)

            by Trepalium (109107)
            The 16 in FAT16 is the number of clusters it can access. Likewise the 32 in FAT32 is supposed to show how much bigger that limit is. FAT16 partitions can go up to 2GB (4GB in WinNT) because the maximum cluster size is 32K (64k for NT), and the max number of clusters is 65536 (less reserved sectors, etc). 32768 (2^15) * 65536 (2^16) = 2147483648 (2^31)

            I believe FAT32's cluster limit is closer to 28 bit than a full 32 bits. The maximum FAT32 partition is 8TB, not 128TB as a full 32-bit FAT would imply.

      • Actually, the limitation I'm concerned about is FILE SIZE. Partition size is a different story. While Windows would cap FAT partitions at 2 GB for the first partition and 4 GB for the next 3 in Win95 and Win98 (not sure which editions), newer versions of FAT WILL CREATE 32GB PARTITIONS!

        However, using Linux, I have created, and STILL USE a 62 GB FAT32 partition. I use it both in Linux and Windows with no problems. Windows can mount a much larger FAT filesystem than it will create.

        This is not conjecture
    • by dougmc (70836)
      A bit of trivia for you ...

      I've found that Linux (at least 2.4.something) will have problems using a fat32 filesystem over 128 GB in size. Windows will work with it fine, but Linux will work mostly but writing to one file will eventually cause another file to get truncated to zero bytes ... nasty.

      I never really tracked down exactly what was going on, but it was easily reproducible on at least two different boxes just by creating a fat32 partition over 128 GB, using both mkdosfs and Partition Magic

  • ISO9660 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @02:52PM (#9306320)
    At my office we're very keen on standards compliance and basicly we wouldn't even run Windows until Windows 2000, because of the lack of certain critical standards supports (I'm not going to say the policy was that great, until 1997 we used the UCSD pSystem for everything. Have you ever seen a Pentium 166 running the pSystem? No? Exactly.) All documents are distributed in PDF and XML (was HTML) formats, email is strictly IMAP, etc. Internal programming has to be POSIX compliant and I've seen collegues dragged through the dirt for using mmap().

    What we did for file systems was standardize on ISO9660 throughout, though we are considering a move to UFS so we have support for larger files. Windows supports it, though you have to hack the registry to get write access enabled, and we ended up writing a custom "disk format" tool to actually get disks initialised because, needless to say, W2K doesn't actually allow you to format disks as ISO9660 by default.

    Well recommended. There are some neat features of ISO9660, like the VAX/VMS style "versions" for instance. Unfortunately, bog standard ISO9660 has crappy 32.3 style filenames (and for maximum compatability we're encouraged to just do 8.3), so it's not a perfect solution (another reason we want to switch to UFS.)

    Definitely recommended though. It's a little slow, but everything will read it.

    • Re:ISO9660 (Score:4, Informative)

      by mst76 (629405) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @03:28PM (#9306839)
      What we did for file systems was standardize on ISO9660 throughout, though we are considering a move to UFS so we have support for larger files.
      You're upgrading from iso9660 to UFS []? Are you sure you don't mean UDF []?
    • Can you go into more details about this registry hack? I'm in exactly the same position you're in. I suspect I'd rather use UDF than ISO9660, but I certainly don't want to use FAT. Can you put your primary Windows filesystem on a ISO9660 or UDF volume?
  • Oke... but FAT32 sucks.. its slow.. its propetary and MS just recommends everyone to upgrade to NTFS..
    • Re:Fat sucks (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      FAT32 is anything but slow. It's probably at or near the top of the list of fastest filesystems. It's so simple, how could it not be?

      It's limited though. Limited file sizes, limited partition sizes, limited file attributes, limited numbers of files in directories, no compression or anything like that. No journaling, etc. Those are reasons why people don't use it... performance is not one of them.
      • It's limited though. Limited file sizes, limited partition sizes, limited file attributes, limited numbers of files in directories, no compression or anything like that. No journaling, etc. Those are reasons why people don't use it... performance is not one of them.

        All file systems
      • Simplicity is not what makes a filesystem fast. The main way to improve performance is to reduce the number and average distance of seeks, by avoiding fragmentation and storing file metadata near file contents. FAT and all its descendants are terrible at both.
      • Re:Fat sucks (Score:3, Informative)

        by 0x0d0a (568518)
        FAT32 is anything but slow. It's probably at or near the top of the list of fastest filesystems. It's so simple, how could it not be?

        s/FAT32/bubble sort/

        I'm afraid that I can't agree with you.

        "Simplicity" doesn't mean much from a computer science standpoint (Does little code need to run? Few disk accesses required?)

        One reason why FAT32 is slow is that its space allocation data structure looks something like a linked list, whereas traditional *IX filesystems look like a tree. To seek to a random poin
    • Yeah, and the day I take a recomendation from Microsoft will be the day... well, actually, uhm... never.
    • They also recommend upgrading to XP over 2000, but I laugh at them from afar.

      Seriously, don't listen to Microsoft. They want you to upgrade for their own reasons, not necessarily because it's the best thing for you. NTFS has some serious advantages over FAT32, security, namely, but FAT32 was never intended to be a secured FS. In the case of the poster, it may be exactly what he wants.

    • Well NTFS also has it's "sucking" points as in "sucking performance". More than one disk read/write test (Sandra, and one used by Magix) has shown my NTFS partition on the same physical hard disk to be 1/4th (that's 25%) of the speed of my FAT32 partition.

      Both partitions were formatted using WinXP defaults, FAT32 at 16k segment size, and NTFS at a 1K segment size. NTFS has 86% free space, FAT32 has 38% free space. Both are defragmented and the results were duplicated on multiple hard disk drives, two at
      • NTFS may be more reliable, but on Win2000 and WinXP, I submit that unplanned shutdowns are less frequent and only rarely do I have to run a chkdsk on bootup because a FAT32 partition wasn't unmounted cleanly.

        NTFS is not just more reliable, but it also has security on the filesystem. Remember with FAT32, all you can do is file sharing permissions. If someone logs in locally they have full control over the entire file system. NTFS by default is the same way, but can be locked down.
        • Well NTFS also has it's "sucking" points as in "sucking performance". More than one disk read/write test (Sandra, and one used by Magix) has shown my NTFS partition on the same physical hard disk to be 1/4th (that's 25%) of the speed of my FAT32 partition.

        You may want to turn off "last access" timestamping. It's a registry setting [], and at least on NT 4.0 and Windows 2000, it is enabled by default; the equivalent option in Linux is the "noatime" mount option.

        Also, NTFS is sensitive to fragmentation. Pe

      • Re:Fat sucks (Score:3, Informative)

        by cookd (72933)
        Couple of things to check.

        First, it sounds like you have two different partitions on the same hard drive. That's a no-no for benchmarks. The first partition (the one at the outer edge of the disk) will always have much better performance than the second partition (the one closer to the middle). The disk spins at a constant RPM, but the outer cylinders have more tracks on them, so you get more data per revolution.

        Second, the 1k default "segment" size for NTFS (cluster, methinks) only kicks in for fairly
        • noatime and no 8.3 file name generation is off in reg for NTFS so it already has a benefit there. Originally the disk was a replacement disk (7200RPM laptop drive vs 5400). I was looking at perf figures before I installed it as a system disk with the FAT32 and NTFS fs's in the sam loc during after reformatting the same partition.

          I'm aware of the outer sectors reading slowly -- I see it painfully obviously where on a clean disk a "dd" (I have linux on the sys too, dual boot) will start at rate X and almos
      • Both partitions were formatted using WinXP defaults, FAT32 at 16k segment size, and NTFS at a 1K segment size.

        Just that difference in cluster size will make a massive difference, depending on what the benchmark does.

        • I just went with the defaults. You are right. Perhaps, MS doesn't know the best defaults for their fs's...wouldn't be surprising...

  • ext2 (Score:4, Informative)

    by nocomment (239368) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @02:54PM (#9306344) Homepage Journal hp?t=693
  • by I_am_Rambi (536614) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @02:59PM (#9306430) Homepage
    looks like it may be alittle old, but it may work

    Reiserfs under windows []
  • by x00101010x (631764) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @03:04PM (#9306509) Homepage
    I was actually thinking about this a few days ago. There's lots of work out there getting linux to run windows drivers, but I haven't seen much work on writing windows drivers for posix (*nix, whatever) stuff.

    A while ago I downloaded the Windows DDK from Microsoft for something, but I didn't end up using it, uninstalled it and now I can't find the download. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem avail. for free from Microsoft's site anymore either (Microsoft WHDC DDK page []). I have work to do, but this page seems like it might be of some help: []... maybe.

    Anyways, the idea still stands, why aren't there win32 branches of open source file system drivers? Of course, I know squat about writing drivers, especially filesystem drivers, so there may be a damn good reason why not. But figured I'd throw it out anywho.
    • Of course, in the time it took me to write this people posted some nice comments on ISO9660, UFS and a possible RieserFS driver for windows. Oh well, still be nice to see it as a more standard thing. Better to "infect" windows with opensource code than open source systems with MS code (the write access setup using ntfs.sys).
    • Why aren't there win32 branches of open source file system drivers?

      Oh, that's easy. It would improve Windows. We can't have open source code used to improve Windows. Why? Because that is just religiously wrong.

      Really you have something there, but on /. you won't hear anything postive about writing open source drivers to improve any MS product. You'll hear complaints that MS should do all that work to fix their OS for free.
    • The DDK is for hardware drivers and a few other things, but not for filesystem drivers. For that you need the IFS kit [], $899 + s/h. Last I heard it consists of a header file(ntifs.h) and an example driver.

      You can get a GPLed reimplementation of ntifs.h here [], it apparently works but i've never tried it myself. There's several example drivers there, and links to some attempts at Ext2 filesystem drivers for NT.
    • IIRC, the DDK is not freely available and redistributable (IMHO, a pretty awful thing for an OS vendor to do).

      Also, writing Windows device drivers is -- how do I put this -- not very much *fun*. It's *hard*, extremely labor-intensive, there is not equivalent to Linux's "merge into the mainstream kernel" which means that people avoid breaking your code with their own feature additions, since Microsoft isn't going to take your code.

      Finally, I can't think of all that many problems with NTFS. The main probl
      • Linux can both read and write NTFS. Read support has been stable for eternity now, write support was finally marked stable in the 2.6 kernel.

        I've been using NTFS write support for the past several versions.

        I don't know if people assume NTFS doesn't work on linux because distro's don't generally include it in their kernel builds or because the write support was horrid and corrupted filesystems once upon a time.
        • The write support is only partial and extremely limited. You can overwrite files, but not resize them using the modern driver. The old driver *did* let you enable write mode, but it would trash ACL stuff, corrupting the filesystem for Windows use.
          • In ancient times it did, as I said I've been using it for a couple years without any issues whatsoever.

            But apparently someone wants this hushed up because I've been modded troll in 3 places for comments which mention that *shrugs*.
            • Read /usr/src/linux/Documentation/filesystems/ntfs.txt.

              In 2.6.5:

              To mount an NTFS 1.2/3.x (Windows NT4/2000/XP/2003) volume, use the file
              system type 'ntfs'. The driver currently supports read-only mode (with no
              fault-tolerance, encryption or journalling) and very limited, but safe, write

              Also see the linux-ntfs website.
              • Yes I know what the site and documentation say. You are correct full support is not marked stable yet.

                In REALITY I've been using full blown NTFS write support for 2yrs without a single corruption.

                Now that is without doing anything particularly fancy, I wouldn't go trying to run your system on it. I generally treat it as FAT32 in terms of what I expect to work or even try.

                No symlinks, no attempting to do anything with permissions, and of course you wouldn't touch any NT system or operating files or folde
    • by petard (117521) * on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:00PM (#9309741) Homepage
      Many reasons:

      1. The officially-sanctioned IFS developer kit is separate from the DDK and costs ~$1000 last time I checked. That's steep for someone who's hacking on open source in their spare time. Even if you get it, AIUI, it's very underdocumented and you'll take quite a few lumps before producing anything useful. And the license looks to my (untrained) eye as if it specifically prohibits distributing source code for the file system drivers you develop.

      2. Windows filesystem drivers are hard. Developing and debugging is hairy and time consuming, and it's a good bit more work than writing an equivalent UNIX-like filesystem driver. For example, Windows expects the filesystem to handle globbing (wildcards), which is normally handled by the shell on UNIX.

      3. Kernel drivers require specialized knowledge to develop and maintain. The people who have acquired this knowledge about the popular Free/Open Source drivers are, naturally, UNIX experts. They are unlikely to have the same knowledge about developing Windows kernel drivers and very unlikely to enjoy working with Windows enough to gain this knowledge in their spare time, at their own expense.

      4. People who understand windows kernel driver (especially IFS) development don't, as a group, do open source. I have a few friends who do this, and they have actually mentioned that they view open source as a threat to their livelihoods and hope it goes away. One of them used the phrase "commie bullshit". I'm not joking.

      5. The free kits for Windows filesystem development appear primarily targeted at academic use, and are not robust enough (or maybe simply not well-enough understood) to produce a production-quality filesystem. Some development would most likely need to go into one of the kits before it could be used to port a non-trivial filesystem with all of the expected features.

      This all adds up to a serious lack of any "somebody" who can and is willing to write one, especially for free.

      That said, there are a couple of free ext2/3 implementations available for various versions of windows. I've tested them, and the one that was read/write didn't seem good enough for use with any important data.

      One company that I know of has developed a commercial implementation of ext2/3fs for Windows. It's not free, but for <$30 it may be inexpensive enough to be interesting [].
  • Waaaaaah (Score:1, Insightful)

    by delus10n0 (524126)
    but I don't like the idea of running Windows code on my Linux box. In fact, I don't want my data stored on a proprietary, closed filesystem.

    And this is why you will die very lonely.

    Seriously though, what does it matter? You want files over 4 gig in Windows? You pretty much have to use NTFS. Deal with it.
  • That's exactly what I've been pondering: a good cross platform filesystem. Not that fat32 isn't good, but the 2GB filelimit makes dumps a hassle.

    Currently ext2 might be an alternative. There are two open source drivers, both quite buggy. There is also a commercial solution, which produces strange things. It worked for a while, then writing under (2k) makes double double sized - so it becomes full pretty quickly, unless you switch back and forth to do an fsck (which will repair, I mean correct the size with

  • Don't use Windows (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sethadam1 (530629) * <> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @03:32PM (#9306897) Homepage
    In fact, I don't want my data stored on a proprietary, closed filesystem.

    Hmm, then maybe don't use Windows?! Seriously, why complain about the file system in particular when the entire OS is closed source. It's one thing to say "I only use OSS," but it's another to say "I don't mind closed source software, except for on this one part - there it's bad."

    Windows is optimized for NTFS now, and NTFS is good. If you don't want propritary stuff, don't use Windows, period.
    • He said he uses linux most of the time so I'm sure he uses windows when he needs to. He's probably got some application that he can't use in linux.

      If you're post was to mean "stop bitching and use NTFS" then I agree with you. This necessity for open source gets annoying sometimes when it comes to something like a file system. What actual limitations is he going to incure using NTFS that he wouldn't incure while using an open fs in windows using add-ons to support it? I think this guy's just being diffi
      • Re:Don't use Windows (Score:3, Informative)

        by shaitand (626655) *
        Just a brush with NTFS in linux.

        As far as speed... well I haven't benched it, but it's not particularly dog slow... I copy files of whatever size and don't get annoyed.

        Read support has been stable for ages, although NTFS support is not generally compiled into any main distro kernel by default.

        As for write support, at first it ate filesystems and completely corrupted them. Then they made a util to fix them... maybe. Then it got better. Then it got much better (in the meantime everyone has been ranting a
    • Use VMWare if possible. Then you can use SMB in your NAT'd LAN on your Linux host to store your data, and your Windows VM just mounts that share to read and write data. Relatively near native access times, realistically speaking. Of course, I don't work with 4GB+ video files, so YMMV, but I'm guessing your box[en] are more than fast enough to perform decently when you're forced to use Windows.

      This is what I do.

  • This doesn't replace the file system on your windows(proprietary generic term) box but it does allow you to browse ext2/3 file structures and may provide you a sufficient alternative.

    Explore ex2fs []

  • Reiser? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by atomic-penguin (100835) <.wolfe21. .at.> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @03:38PM (#9306960) Homepage Journal
    I'd love to have ReiserFS running on my XP box, for example.

    Reiser is not really appropriate here, because you want a filesystem for "large" files. Reiser's strength and efficiency is in large numbers of small files.
    • Mmm...I dunno if I'd go that far.

      Really, ext2, ext3, reiser, jfs, and xfs are all pretty much general-purpose filesystems. Yes, they all have particular areas in which they perform somewhat better than the others, but it's really not worth ripping your hair out over. I'd be more likely to choose something based on the few features that differentiate them (ext2 is forwards-compatible with ext3, or that reiser can optionally give up some speed to store small files more compactly).
  • No (Score:5, Informative)

    by Earlybird (56426) < minus city> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:09PM (#9307453) Homepage
    • Am I condemned to stay with NTFS?
    Yes, as long as you want stability and consistenty (as in error recovery, such as provided by metadata journaling), you are.

    Windows supports FAT32 and ISO9660 out of the box. FAT32 does not provide enough error recovery to be recommendable. People using ISO9660 as a hard-drive file system are crazy masochists -- enough said. There are seemingly abandoned ports of Ext2 and ReiserFS out there. None of them are in any sense stable for production use.

    Why aren't there more file systems available on Windows? The first clue is that Windows is not an open-source platform; open-source hackers tend to live on open-source platforms. The people who work on kernel-level development under Windows are likely to be pursuing commercial software from the outset.

    Furthermore, Windows kernel development is something of a black art; it is hard enough that you need to have some vested interest in the platform in order to stay; you would want to live and breathe Windows kernel APIs. (APIs, incidentally, that don't seem constructed for use by humans; for example, due to the limited size of the kernel addressing space, there are several different "kinds" of memory you must carefully allocate and manage yourself. Add to this the awkwardness involved in debugging this stuff, the poor kernel-level development tools offered by Microsoft, the limited documentation, the fact that much third-party information is non-gratis, and of course that the kernel sources themselves are closed, and you have one painful hobby.) In short, you would want to become a kernel specialist.

    These painfully-accrued skills are worth their weight in gold, and used to leverage careers as highly-paid consultants [] or highly-paid trainers [], or both []. And some, of course, are driver writers for hardware companies.

    There's a further reason: Linux file system drivers, in my experience, are designed to be, well, Linux file system drivers. Witness the amount of effort taken by IBM and SGI to port their proprietary journaling file systems to Linux -- and this was from one Unix-like kernel to another. Windows' internal file-system driver API is completely different from Linux'. Porting one file system not only requires a lot of knowledge about the different kernel APIs, but also about the file system itself, because most likely the file-system code is not cleanly separated from the kernel-specific code; you can't just sit down and write an adapter layer. (This is actually mostly speculation, but based on casual perusal of some existing driver code.)

    There will be viable, open-source file systems on Windows the day somebody takes the time and effort do implement (and maintain) one. As for myself, I bought the book [] and started; I gave up not because it was technically challenging, but because it was no fun, and there were more interesting knowledge out there that I wanted to store in my brain.

  • Probably not (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mattcelt (454751) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:24PM (#9307680)
    Really, the issue is getting Windows to mount a drive which is not FAT/FAT32/ISO9660/NTFS. In order for an OS to mount a filesystem, there must be logic coded into the OS which will allow it to parse the file allocation tables and other information (journaling, etc.) and read and write files from/to the disk in that format. To the best of my knowledge, Microsoft has never supported any FS other than its own for HDD usage.

    Fortunately for you, MS does have a filesystem-abstraction mechanism known as SMB, which several projects (most notably the SAMBA project) have implemented. These systems communicate with Windows via SMB, presenting information to the OS with parameters it understands. By proxy, then, the MS OS doesn't care a whit about what back end FS it's writing to - as far as it's concerned, it's just like any other MS OS via the network.

    So probably the best solution is to have a network-mounted drive connected via a high-speed link (gigabit ethernet, etc.) on a linux box running SMB. If you do it right, you should hopefully have enough bandwidth to do your video and have it hosted wherever you like.

    Good luck!
    • I think that's good advice.

      Does anyone know how or if it is even possible to hook up two computers (one Win2kserver, on linux (debian preferred)) with firewire800 via pci cards and have SMB shares on linux _and_ windows?

      Does anyone have any idea about the throughput of such solutions?
    • Re:Probably not (Score:5, Informative)

      by Foolhardy (664051) <> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:42PM (#9310097)
      Windows already has a local filesystem abstraction layer. File systems have drivers, like any device. NTFS (or any other fs) is not integrated in the kernel.
      cdfs.sys for CDFS
      fastfat.sys for FAT12/16/32
      mrxdav.sys for WebDav (access files over http using normal file ops)
      mrxsmb.sys for SMB
      msfs.sys for mailslots (the mailslot filesystem)
      mup.sys- the multiple UNC provider driver; to handle \\computername\share\path
      npfs.sys for named pipes (the named pipe filesystem)
      ntfs.sys for NTFS
      udfs.sys for UDFS
      Windows certainly supports third-party file system drivers. The problem is that the Microsoft IFS [] (installable filesystem) kit costs $899. There is a free/open alternative here [].
      However, in practice, there are no alternatives to MS filesystems. Your suggestion of a SMB server over a fast connection is a good one.
    • Hmm.. I guess it might be easier to write a userspace app which used *ix filesystem code to read the filesystem directly from Win32's idea of a block device and provide an SMB/NFS interface to it... Network filesystems (especially NFS, which is meant to be very simple on the server side) have always struck me as something you could use to provide a nice system neutral filesystem to just about anything; even CVS/SVN. Using the same idea to access a real filesystem.. that'd even be handy just on the *ix side
    • hey you got it! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mabhatter654 (561290)
      If you were to run the "windows" [Culinux?] version of Linux with a virtual network driver sort of another loopback to a mini-samba, you could use it to read/write to other linux partitions. It could even be added as a module in Cygwin. Windows simply won't see "non-windows" partitions so it shouldn't be a problem.

      You might have just hit it.

      The issue with wanting everthing OSS on windows is that it makes migration easier. Almost every company has 1 or 2 apps that have to be on the key is

  • I don't think it is available now, but I think it would be a very useful thing to have this option available, even as a horrible hack.

    On the side, I've been trying to round up information on what it takes to do this, but it sure has been a pain.

    I'm not really sure why Microsoft it so tight-lipped about the IfsKit and the DDK, but my best guess is that they don't want the kind of support issues that would come with too many different kinds of file systems. I suppose they're thinking that if they make the
  • How about a Samba share? On either the 'nix or the XP box - or even on a 3rd file server of some sort? Or you could use SCP or SFTP.

    Granted, I realize then you're copying stuff back and forth. But it seems to be the least buggy, most reliable solution.
    • What about Lin4win? could you run the Linux-on-windows and let That access the file shares...then have that show up as some kind of virtual network share/samba device?
      • Um ... you can do a samba share with NTFS. I am. No need for Lin4Win. And L4W would be a perf. hit anyway. It'd probably be better (if you couldn't do it with NTFS) to have a separate FAT32 partition and transfer stuff in and out. But that's inefficient.
        • But the question was to access the Linux partitions while running Windows. Ideally, he'd want to format the drive with EXT or Reiser and install windows on that. Of course that won't happen, so he wants to run windows when needed, but open/save files in the linux partitions...remember these are partitions on the same computer/ samba wouldn't work unless it was ported to windows...again, that's the kind of option he's looking for.

          I can see lots of reasons for this. from ISPs that distribute windo

  • Do what I do - NFS (Score:2, Informative)

    by metalslug02 (559857)
    I do exactly the same thing, and eventually I decided the smartest way would be to use a networked filesystem. I have my DV box with mirrored (essential in my mind) 120GB drives running Debian and sharing via NFS over a 100Mb network. You could use any operating system on that box and it wouldn't matter.

    I can rip DV footage to it with no lost frames and no problems. I also do a lot of audio recording, and can record at least 12 simultaneous tracks to it.

    I can access it from any computer, it's never down,
  • by GiMP (10923)
    UDF is the Universal Disk Format. Although generally used for DVD+-RW disks, it can be used for harddisks too. All the modern operating systems support it, including Microsoft Windows (apparently since win95b).

    Random Article [] link.
  • there's a commercial, and I believe, several free versions of "ext2fs for windows" you might wish to google for that. You would be able to share your ext2fs file system with your linux install. However, they aren't "install" options. Only fat32 fat16 and ntfs qualify as "install" options on windows operating systems, and I doubt there is a bare-metal recovery kit in existance that would allow you to "backup ntfs install", reformat to ext2fs, "restore from bare metal onto ext2fs" and voila, without blue s
  • by shaitand (626655) * on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @01:35AM (#9312074) Journal
    But write support is no longer marked experimental in the 2.6 kernel.

    For good reason I'd say, I've been using NTFS write support for the past several revisions without a single hiccup.

    First I was cautious and ginger in my handling of NTFS writes, and then more bold. Now I don't consider corruption anymore than I would with windows. I guess that comes from hundreds if not thousands of writes without a single issue *shrugs*.

    In any case, if the kernel maintainers think it's safe to take off the experimental tag, and I've used it without any problems. Maybe it'll go well for you too.

    NTFS write used to be horrid, and required external cleanup utils just to use. That's long long gone, if you've been afraid to touch it because of being burned in the past, seriously, it's time to try again.
    • by DutchSchultz (173926) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @05:42AM (#9312909)
      Quote (from Linux Kernel v.2.6.5 Configuration):


      This enables the partial, but safe, write support in the NTFS driver.

      The only supported operation is overwriting existing files, without
      changing the file length. No file or directory creation, deletion or
      renaming is possible. Note only non-resident files can be written to
      so you may find that some very small files (

      It is perfectly safe to say N here."
  • NFS? (Score:2, Informative)

    How about installing a NFS client on your windows workstation and make yourself a NFS file server with a linux 2.6.x kernel?

    Gigabit ethernet card are cheap these days and you can get yourself a nice SATA raid that will be able to handle your huge DV files.

  • Granted they won't allow you to just switch harddisks, but a fileserver is not that expensive (just a cheap pc, with a somewhat big powersupply, a few promise cards for extra ide and 8 or so 200 GB disks should be less than $2000)

    You can stream to that over a standard network with peak rates that approach line speed (100 mbit) and I get sustained 90 mbit rates every day (just don't overload those disks, as they are ide disks, not meant for constant use)

"The greatest warriors are the ones who fight for peace." -- Holly Near