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- sharing files among OS's
October 17, 2009, 8:22 am
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Re: sharing files among OS's
There are several file systems available for Windows. FAT32 doesn't
have permissions like NTFS does. FAT32 has a 4GB file size limitation,
so is not completely transparent to what a user is doing. So that is
a disadvantage of FAT32. That has been fixed somewhat, by Microsoft
releasing exFAT file system for usage on WinXP (as a successor to FAT32).
The downside of exFAT, is there won't be as much third party support
(like when you need to do file recovery). exFAT doesn't have the 4GB
max file size limit.
NTFS has permissions for files and folders. At one level of
granularity, you have "take ownership" as a way of clubbing the
permissions into shape. (And "clubbing" your file system, may not
always be the best answer.) But for finer control, the Access Control
List for each file, controls who does what. Presumably,
the commands associated with that, would be recursive, so
you might, say, issue one command for the whole disk, rather
than have to issue 158,000 separate commands.
If you look in "Help and Support", and search on "Take Ownership",
you can see a description there, if you need to move control from
one user account to another.
As an amateur, I don't know how two independent OSes, like you
propose, communicate their access control to one another. As
a start, if both OSes had accounts with the same user name
and password, the same (default) workgroup, that would be a start.
It would be a slightly different situation, if you owned three computers,
one ran WinXP, one ran Vista, and the third was a domain controller.
As then, the domain controller would contain information about
the trust relationship of the other two computers (from a user account
perspective). The OSes would need to be versions that support
domains, for that to make a difference.
I use a lot of FAT32 file systems on my computer, and only
an occasional NTFS one, so this doesn't tend to affect me that much.
(I'm more used to the Unix model of permissions, which is why I find
the nomenclature of Windows to be harder to understand. To avoid
more of the issues, and avoid having to learn anything, I lean
on FAT32 more than perhaps I should.)
With regard to formatting a FAT32 partition, WinXP cleverly
restricts you to about 32GB or so for partitions. If you try
to format a partition larger than 32GB, it may only offer NTFS
as an option. To get around this, there is this utility.
In Disk Management, you could try defining a partition, but
not assign a file system type or format it. So that
creates an empty container. The important part of this
step, is to assign a "drive letter" to the partition
that lacks a file system type. You need the drive letter to
use this command. (I could do this from Linux as well, so this is not
the only way to get the job done.) This utility will
quickly format to FAT32 (in a few seconds), so gets
the job done before you can go for coffee.
This is what I use for a Linux LiveCD. This allows you to
boot Linux, without installing anything on a hard drive.
I use version 5.3.1, as the interface will make a Windows
user less uncomfortable. The downside of the 5.3.1 version,
is it is a large download (>2GB). It only fits on a DVD.
I have since found a Japanese remaster of it, which fits
on a CD, and keeps the good bits.
With Knoppix, I can use their "fdisk" command, to edit
the partition table, and create new partitions. There
is also the GParted utility, which is a graphical front
end for some tools that allow resizing partitions (I don't
use that myself). Once I define a partition in Linux fdisk,
I can format it with mkfs.vfat .
Contrary to the following article, there is a mkfs for NTFS,
and I have prepared NTFS partitions in Linux and they seem to work fine. (I've
used it to put NTFS on my 8GB flash stick.)
I don't use Linux for office work, but for maintenance, it
is a great tool to have sitting next to you. For example, if
you turn your Windows registry into "luncheon meat"
by accident, the Linux LiveCD can be used to follow
the procedure for copying back a backup copy. That might
allow Windows to boot again. Granted, the Recovery Console
in Windows can do some of that stuff. And the Recovery
Console has some utilities (fixboot, fixmbr) that
Linux doesn't have. But Linux for maintenance, still
has a place. It is especially comforting, if you've destroyed
your OS by accident, and want to continue on with
life. Since most of the Linux distros include a web browser,
you have a way to contact the outside world, and search
on whatever cryptic error message you're dealing with.
The Windows Recovery Console has no web browser, so
any attempt to make progress, may involve a lot of
faffing about. Or the usage of a second computer.