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In order to use an NTFS drive as your home folder, there are 2 main parts. First, Making the drive automount on startup. Second, creating symlinks to the proper folders on the mounted drive from your home drive.

Doing this will make you system less reliable. There may be issues with permissions due to inherent differences between the NTFS and EXT or other non-MS filesystem types. Keep this in mind when debugging issues or asking questions.

This walkthrough will assume that the mountpoint is "/mnt/windows" and the Username on both systems is "username" for Linux and "Username" for Windows.

Part One:

In this part we will explore Automounting the drive.

To accomplish the automount, we need to edit the fstab file. This file is located in the /etc folder.

For the purposes of this walkthrough, we will be using nano to edit the file.

Step One: Open a Terminal

Step Two:

Navigate to the /etc folder.

Execute: $cd /etc

Step Three: Make a backup of fstab (just in case something goes wrong)

Execute: $sudo cp fstab fstab.bak

Step Four: Open fstab as root for editing. This is using Nano, but you can use gedit or any other graphical text editor you wish. Or Vi if you are that hardcore.

Execute: $sudo nano fstab

Step Five: Go to the bottom of fstab, this will be where you will add the new mountpoint.

Step Six: Add the device to fstab. It is simplest to use the /dev/sdX assignment, but if you add devices later on in front of any devices in current use, or mix up the drive chain, then this can become corrupt and need to be re-edited using a live CD. You can use other methods to tell what the disc is, but if you *really* want to do that, we will leave it to you.

/dev/sda2 /mnt/windows ntfs-3g defaults,locale=utf8 0 0
/dev/sda2 = My ntfs partition with Windows 7
/mnt/windows = Location to be mounted, go ahead and put whatever you want in place of "windows", we will create the directory later.
ntfs-3g = filesystem type  ( The -3g is NECESSARY )
defaults,locale=utf8  = options for mounting, if you know you are using a different locale, then change the utf8 option to whatever locale you use.  if unsure, leave as default.
0 = DUMP
0 = PASS
  I am unsure what the last 2 options do exactly, so if someone does know, please add it in.  In the mean time, 0 0 work for this tutorial.

Step Seven: Saving the new configuration. Type

Ctrl + X 

and then save the work with the default fstab name, overwriting is fine as well since that is what you are doing.

You should now be automatically taken back to the terminal.

Step Eight: Making the directory for mounting. Go to mnt

Execute:  $cd /mnt

Step Nine: Create the directory. In our case “ windows ”

Execute:  $sudo mkdir windows/

Step Ten: Test the mountpoint.

Execute:  $sudo mount -a 

If all goes well, you should see nothing show, just a new terminal line pop up. If something goes wrong, you will see some output. Assuming all goes well, Congratulations, you are done with Part 1. Go have a coffee break, or get some fresh air. Then come back for part 2.

Part Two:

In this part we are going to create the links between your home folder(s) and the user space on the NTFS drive.

Step One: Going back to the user's Home folder.

Execute:  $cd ~

Step Two: Removing the default folders.

THIS IS DESTRUCTIVE!  Backup ALL data before continuing.
Execute:  $rm -rf Documents

Please replace “Documents” in the command above for EACH folder you want to link to the NTFS drive for. This is supposed to remove the folder that it is told and all data within it.

Step Three: Creating the symbolic links to the NTFS drive. The NTFS drive must be mounted where it is going to be automounted ( in fstab ). If your command “$sudo mount -a” worked earlier, then continue, if not or if you never mounted, then either execute that now or reboot.

Also, keep in mind this structure is for a Windows 7 based drive. It may be different for other versions of Windows, and WILL be for Windows XP and earlier, so please check your filesystem and enter the proper source!

Execute: $ln -s /mnt/windows/User/Username/Documents/ /home/username/Documents

If you wish to do the same for pictures, videos, etc. Simply add the foldername in place of “Documents” in the commands above.

tutorials/linking_home_folders_to_another_drive.txt · Last modified: 2012/01/26 11:15 by garbee