Linked by Christian Paratschek on Thu 10th Feb 2005 20:14 UTC
Linux Recently I stumbled across a very nice article, written by Torsten Scheck, published on pro-linux.de, a German Linux site. This article proved to be so helpful to me that I decided it would be worthwhile to translate it into English and republish it. Comments of the translator will be added in italics. I hope a lot of people will find this little gem as useful as I did...
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Windows Drivers for Other FS's?
by Nathan O. on Thu 10th Feb 2005 20:38 UTC

This article points out that vfat is a way for both Linux and Windows to use the same partition types. Would it be possible to just write Windows drivers for other FS types? I've heard of such projects allowing Windows to use ext2 partitions, but not much else. Is there a technical barrier?

Nice!
by Jacob on Thu 10th Feb 2005 20:40 UTC

Thanks for the translation, I found it useful. Although I'm not implementing it now, I'll surely use this article as a manual when I get my new HDD!

RE: Windows Drivers for Other FS's?
by Jacob on Thu 10th Feb 2005 20:43 UTC

I know about ReiserFS driver (http://p-nand-q.com/download/rfstool/download.html) and a nice GUI to it from http://yareg.akucom.de/ . Though no professional tools, they're still working good for me between reiserfs and ntfs. Wish there was one for Reiser4 too...

Thank you!
by Jan on Thu 10th Feb 2005 21:06 UTC

Very useful indeed.

Transferring data
by MattPie on Thu 10th Feb 2005 21:18 UTC

I find the easiest way to transfer data is to use a second machine as a server. Share the files out via samba and nfs, and keep all your data on the 'server'. 100baseTX is fast enough for most applications, and you don't have to back up files when you format and reinstall your workstation.

ext2/(3)
by Anonymous on Thu 10th Feb 2005 21:28 UTC

there are a number of tools for ext2 (that most work for ext3 as well, atleast for read-only)

explore2fs ( http://uranus.it.swin.edu.au/~jn/linux/explore2fs.htm )

and
ext2fsd ( http://ext2fsd.sourceforge.net/projects/projects.htm#ext2fsd )

@mattpie
by christian paratschek on Thu 10th Feb 2005 21:43 UTC

sharing the files via samba or nfs is fine for backup, but that's not really an alternative for me: i need my files "on the road", i have my usb disc and i have to plug it into a usb port of someone's windows machine often enough.

alo, ext2/3 drivers for windows are also not really an alternative (i know and also use them on my laptop, they are fine!). i wouldn't want to mess around with my costumers computers installing drivers just to be able to access my files on the usb drive. also, these drivers only allow read access. with my vfat partition, i can backup critical data from my costumers computers before doing critical stuff...

regards,
christian

RE: Windows Drivers for Other FS's?
by N.N. on Thu 10th Feb 2005 23:34 UTC

Unfortunatly they are not drivers, but just regular programs. What I would like is a real driver that enables you to mount ReiserFS partitions as regular drives.

I see that the author has separated the functions into a separate .dll file. I wish someone had used them together with the drivers for ext2 to do this.

RE: N.N.
by Thom Holwerda on Thu 10th Feb 2005 23:40 UTC

There are windows drivers for ext filesystems. Do a google search-- I've used them myself back in the day.

The best tool for mounting ext3 drives under Windows
by pixelmonkey on Fri 11th Feb 2005 00:22 UTC

Is produced by Paragon Software. They have a tool called "Mount Everything," but I think they are letting that tool fall by the wayside since its functionality has been integrated into Paragon Partition Manager 6.0.

I have had full success using this tool to mount and get READ/WRITE ACCESS to my ext3 drives from Windows.

RE: Transferring data
by A+ Tech on Fri 11th Feb 2005 00:27 UTC

"I find the easiest way to transfer data is to use a second machine as a server. Share the files out via samba and nfs, and keep all your data on the 'server'. 100baseTX is fast enough for most applications, and you don't have to back up files when you format and reinstall your workstation"

Thats so true.Thats my setup with my mandrake 10 file/print server.

re: vfat
by Mr Gooeee on Fri 11th Feb 2005 00:48 UTC

I saw no mention of my pet gripe with working with vfat from Linux:

touch testfile.txt
mv testfile.txt TESTFILE.TXT
mv: `testfile.txt' and `TESTFILE.TXT' are the same file

It may sound stupid but I find it significant in some circumstances. It may seem shortname=mixed may solve some of my problems but the above error is still happening. Unless anyone can suggest a way around this I will accept it as a vfat limitation.
Axel

re: re: vfat
by seratne on Fri 11th Feb 2005 01:14 UTC

vfat is not case sensitive. it's an old file system with it's limitations.

I also agree with the above statements, and have been longing for a file system that is truly cross platform. So that I can format once and have all flavors of windows, linux, and even BeOS use.

Unfortunately, this will probably never happen.

Windows drivers for other filesystems
by Anonymous on Fri 11th Feb 2005 08:17 UTC

I remember reading that the barrier to developing windows drivers for other filesystems is that the SDK for doing so is prohibitively expensive.

Re: Windows drivers for other filesystems
by Jacob on Fri 11th Feb 2005 12:08 UTC

Might be the reason, I think. Typcial MS behaviour. But, the question is if they wouldn't have won more on releasing the SDK under som kind of open source license. Think having a native Reiser4 driver and install your Windows on it... No more vfat or ntfs.. Uh.. You know what I mean?

Re: vfat
by Solar on Fri 11th Feb 2005 12:36 UTC

> vfat is not case sensitive. it's an old file
> system with it's limitations.

Some (including me) consider it a feature...

Re: Windows drivers for other filesystems
by Cholo on Fri 11th Feb 2005 14:14 UTC

Jacob, yah it would be great, but think of what it would mean to Microsoft. They would no longer be able to impose the abusive licence of their own privative file systems. They would no longer own your data. I don't think Microsoft would be anywhere near releasing their SDK in any way, not even lowering it's price.

related problem
by ac on Fri 11th Feb 2005 15:44 UTC

i wanted to buy an external hd to store my ripped music-collection. I was thinking to use fat32 as the FS because the drive must be accessible from within windows also. the problem im now facing though is that many of my ripped mp3s contains characters in the filename which are illegal on fat32 (eg ? ' ! . , ). So either i have to convert my filename or try to get NTFS (including write support) working properly on linux (i heard captive was getting there but is rather slow)

Re: Windows drivers for other filesystems
by Jacob on Fri 11th Feb 2005 23:13 UTC

Cholo, let us be dreamers at least ;) If you can't make the world better - cause it simply won't be good enough for everbody - you can still pretend; which is a step further from my dreamer stage. ;)

Wait a sec.. :)
by Jhernejj on Sat 12th Feb 2005 03:07 UTC

> Fat16 only supports file systems up to 2GB, fat32 allows for > up to 2TB (terabytes).

If this is true, then... does anyone know WHY the windows XP installer refuses to let you format a partition larger than 32GB with a FAT32 fs??

@Jhernejj
by quinn on Sat 12th Feb 2005 04:27 UTC

The restriction might be due to bugs, or it might be part of microsoft's efforts to encourage NTFS usage. (Understandable for drives that large, I think.)

Re: related problem
by dpi on Sat 12th Feb 2005 07:05 UTC

Try Ext2FS or Ext3FS. Open standard, widely documented, open source implementations. Drivers for e.g. Windows and the BSDs. IIRC even for BeOS. For a Windows driver do a search on Google or Freshmeat.

Re: Jhernejj (IP: ---.twcny.res.rr.com)
by drsmithy on Sun 13th Feb 2005 21:53 UTC

If this is true, then... does anyone know WHY the windows XP installer refuses to let you format a partition larger than 32GB with a FAT32 fs??

Firstly because FAT32 isn't particularly efficient at larger sizes (*huge* clusters) and secondly to encourage people to use NTFS.

re: vfat
by Yama on Mon 14th Feb 2005 07:24 UTC

I saw no mention of my pet gripe with working with vfat from Linux:

touch testfile.txt
mv testfile.txt TESTFILE.TXT
mv: `testfile.txt' and `TESTFILE.TXT' are the same file

It may sound stupid but I find it significant in some circumstances. It may seem shortname=mixed may solve some of my problems but the above error is still happening. Unless anyone can suggest a way around this I will accept it as a vfat limitation.


As an earlier poster has mentioned, vfat is not case sensitive. I haven't tried this, but there's a vfat mount option called posix, which the man page describes as "Allow two files with names that only differ in case."

On a slightly different note, does anybody know how to defrag a vfat partition from within GNU/Linux? The only decent solution I have found so far is to move all the files off the filesystem (thereby leaving it blank) and then move them back. This forces them to be rewritten so that they are less fragmented.

Timestamps
by Bruce on Mon 14th Feb 2005 11:19 UTC

I use a usb pen with a vfat parition to transfer files between work and home. The problem I have is that vfat does not seem to be able to preserve file timestamps when copying or syncronising files.
Any solutions out there?

time stamp
by devians on Mon 14th Feb 2005 11:25 UTC

I am also working in the same mixed condition, and I have a strange feature.

If I copy (as a normal user) a file to a vfat partition, the file looses its original time and gets the actual time.
If I do the same as root, the copied file keeps the original time information.

Has anybody idea how I can stop this ?