Automount NTFS drives in Linux - Tutorial


Updated: November 20, 2008

If you are dual-booting or multi-booting Windows with one or more Linux distributions, you must have across the following situation: your Linux distribution can read and write to the Windows partitions (NTFS, most likely), but they are not mounted automatically when Linux boots. You must mount them manually, every time ...

But you would like to have the partitions mounted automatically.

Luckily, there is a number of very easy solutions for your situation:

This tutorial is about the second option. Here, we will demonstrate how you to install, configure and use the ntfs-config utility. We will demonstrate using Xubuntu, a Ubuntu distribution running the Xfce desktop.

Install ntfs-config

The utility is listed in the Ubuntu official repositories, so it is a matter of seconds of finding and installing it via Synaptic.

ntfs-config install

Run ntfs-config

After the application is installed, run it. Click System > NTFS Configuration Tool.

ntfs-config run

Once running, the application will display all existing NTFS partitions it can find.

ntfs-config partitions found

Mount partition

Select any which one you want to use and assign it a mount point. It is best if you use mount point names without spaces - something like, windows-c or alike.

Here, for example, we are mounting /dev/sda1. This is the first partition on the first SCSI-type hard drive. In most cases, Windows C: drive corresponds to this notation. Of course, to be able to understand the notation, you must be somewhat familiar with Linux hard drive and partition symbols. Please refer to my other articles for help, if required.

We will give it a name of Windows. Please notice that the mount point is /media/Windows. The prefix /media is automatically added. Remember this path, we'll need it later.

ntfs-config mount partition

Next, enable the relevant write support. Since this is an internal drive, we'll check the first option:

ntfs-config enable drive type

And that's it, our drive is mounted:

ntfs-config drive mounted

If you're wondering whether this is a trick and whether this really works, we'll do yet another exercise, using a less common name, so you'll be sure that drives are mounted on the fly, with full read and write support, as you see fit.

We'll mount yet another Windows partition and assign it a somewhat unconventional mount point name.

ntfs-config mount another

And here it is:

ntfs-config mounted another

Works like charm! Couldn't be simpler.

Command line

If you're wondering what this lovely application does, well, it translated your mouse clicks into a series of commands.

Here's the set of commands that would have made the same result, when mounting Windows:

sudo mkdir /media/Windows
sudo echo "/dev/sda1 /media/Windows ntfs-3g defaults,locale=utf8 0 0" >> /etc/fstab
sudo mount -a

This, more or less, fits the bill. There are other options available, but you get the same results.

For more, please see Highly useful Linux commands & configurations.

Conclusion

As you can see, mounting NTFS partitions in Linux can be a breeze. If you don't like or fear the command line, you can achieve a lot with just a few mouse clicks. Truth to be told, this is much simpler than mounting strange, new, unknown partitions in Windows.

Well, that's it. Happy Linuxing!

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