Using Windows D:\ drive for /home

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Using Windows D:\ drive for /home

Postby dollyp » Tue May 07, 2013 4:15 pm

I am dual booting Mint Cinnamon with Windows8 on a single disk (hoping to eventually get rid of Win). Win's C partition holds Win and programs and I have a separate partition D: that holds all my documents, photos, etc.

Ideally I would like Mint to use the D: partition in place of the /home partition. Can that be achieved by simply have Mint point its /home/documents etc directories at the D: partition? And how do I do this? I am also prepared to reinstall in order to mount /home to the D: partition, but I've read somewhere that doing this cleans the directory. What's the best way?


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Re: Using Windows D:\ drive for /home

Postby karlchen » Tue May 07, 2013 5:48 pm

Hello, David.

Sorry to say so, but from a technical point of view it is a bad idea to configure Linux Mint in such a way that it stores your home folder tree on a Windows partition:
  • Windows 8, by default, does not really shutdown completely. Instead it goes into an improved hibernation state.
    + The advantage is that Windows 8 seems to start up much faster than previous Windows versions.
    - The disadvantage is that when Windows 8 is in this hibernation state its disk partitions (drives) are not cleanly unmounted.
    - Therefore no other operating system must access the Windows disk partitions (drives) in read-write mode.
    - If you do you are guaranteed to cause damages to the Windows filesystem on the affected disk partitions (drives).
  • Therefore Linux Mint may not be able to mount the Windows disk partition (drive D:) in read-write mode and may mount it read-only instead.
    - This way there is a good chance that you will not be able to use your complete home folder tree thus even losing access to your personal Mint settings.
  • Windows uses NTFS filesystems, Mint uses EXT4 by default. From a technical point it is not a good idea to put Mint specific things like your home folder on an NTFS partition.
Provided you are prepared to configure Windows 8 in such a way that it
+ really shuts down and does not go to the new hibernation mode
+ does not use fast startup (which in fact is part of the new hibernation mode)
+ so that it will shutdown, cleanly unmount its filesystems and poweroff like previous Windows versions did,
under this condition you may configure Mint to mount the Windows partition which Windows calls drive D: automatically.
You may then use this additional disk partition and store the document files which you create / modify using Libre Office e.g. on that partition.

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Re: Using Windows D:\ drive for /home

Postby dollyp » Wed May 08, 2013 4:42 am

Hi Karl. May thanks for replying.

I realise from your reply that it would not be a good thing to mount the D: drive as /home and won't be going down that route. However, is there a way to create links so that e.g. downloads will automatically go to a directory under D: rather than into /home/downloads? Win uses 'symlinks'; do we have anything similar in Linux?


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Re: Using Windows D:\ drive for /home

Postby DataMan » Wed May 08, 2013 5:15 am


If you have the real estate on your hard drive, why not just create a separate ntfs partition. That way the data on it will make Windows happy and Linux is built-in versitile enough to deal with data on ntfs.

Just a thought.

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Re: Using Windows D:\ drive for /home

Postby passerby » Wed May 08, 2013 5:24 am

You can achieve that by using symlinks, if that's what you're comfortable with, by making the D drive (it'll end up having a name like /dev/sd##, where ## is a number and a letter) mount on boot, then creating a symlink to that partition.

eg. If your D drive wound up being /dev/sda2, you might:
-open a terminal
-run "sudo gedit /etc/fstab"
-add the line "/dev/sda2 /media/sda2 ntfs rw 0 0" on a new line
-save and close the file
-run "cd ~"
-rename your existing downloads directory (eg. "mv Downloads Downloads.old")
-create the symlink (eg. "ln -s /media/sda2/Downloads Downloads")

The above is just a general example. Your partition may be named differently, you may wish to have the downloads go elsewhere, etc.
In the example we tell a NTFS partition to mount on startup, rename the existing downloads directory, then create a symlink for /home/<User>/Downloads to point to /Downloads on the partition.

*If you don't know the drive letter and number of your D drive, you can run "sudo fdisk -l" to see check.
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Re: Using Windows D:\ drive for /home

Postby eanfrid » Wed May 08, 2013 9:08 am

BTW NTFS and FAT cannot store/manage Unix permissions that are mandatory for Linux. So these file systems cannot be used to host neither a /home partition nor a /home/{user} folder tree. The above symlink solution (or a "bind" mount) is indeed the better one.
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