Converting from Windows to Linux: Hard drives NTFS to Ext3

KeyWords: windows, linux, ntfs, ext, ext2, ext3, installing, converting, convert, ubuntu, hard drive, hdd, mount, guide

Converting from Windows to Linux Tips and Tricks
by FrosT

Recently I undertaken the task to convert over to the Linux Operating System. After searching the Internet and reading through many tutorials it became clear that the NTFS File-System is not compatible with Linux other than being Read from. At least not with Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Release. There in created another task for me, converting all of my hard drives from Windows NTFS to Linux Ext3. Here is how it all came out.

Programs Required
There are a few programs that are required in order to convert from an NTFS file system to a Ext3. The first is Partition Magic 8.0. Very handy program for any task. Remember if you are using 64 Bit Windows, Partition Magic 8.0 may not work. So do a Google search to locate a program that will work.
The next program needed is Ext2IFS, click here to get Ext2IFS. Ext2IFS allows you to mount an Ext3 or Ext2 partition in Windows and be able to write files to that partition/hard drive. Once you have a partitioning program and Ext2IFS we are ready to get started with converting your Windows formatted NTFS hard drives to Linux formatted Ext2/3 hard drive.

Converting NTFS to Ext3
The logic behind switching from NTFS to Ext2/3 is not really complex, but requires a few items, such as free space and multiple hard drives. Starting out lets realize that one way or the other you have to copy all files that you want to keep off the hard drive and store them on a separate hard drive, or else they will get lost. There is no way to do a straight convert and save all your files from NTFS to Ext3. For me this was not too challenging of a task. I currently have 2 Western Digital Hard drives. One is a 120 gig hard drive and the other is a 160 gig hard drive. I also have a Maxtor 500 gig external hard drive and an 80 gig internal hard drive. All the drives were NTFS formated. What I did, since my 500 gig Maxtor is my static drive was copied all files I would not need to manipulate to that drive, such as music, videos and applications. Now I still had files that I needed to modify, I stored those on the main partition with Windows XP installed. As I know I will not convert that hard drive as I will use that same drive for my main Linux drive.

After copying the files from my 120 gig to either my 160 gig or my 500 gig hard drive depending on the files I started up the Partitioning program. I deleted the current partition on the 120 gig hard drive and created a new Linux Logical Ext3 partition. The next step was to hit "Apply" to make the changes. After a reboot the changes were made and I could no longer see my 120 gig hard drive in Windows. Now here is where the Ext2IFS comes into play. After installing Ext2IFS I loaded the program and mounted my 120 gig hard drive to an un-used drive letter. Now running Windows Explorer I can magically see my 120 gig ext3 hard drive and I can copy files from my 160 gig hard drive to the newly created 120 gig ext 3 hard drive. I repeated the process for creating the 160 gig to an Ext3 Linux hard drive. Make sure you copy the files that you need from your main drive to a Linux one, before moving onto the installation of Linux, or else you will lose the files.

Ending Notes
After the process above has been complete it is now time to locate a Linux distribution that is correct for you. The next tutorial will be available within the next week for installing Ubuntu Edgy 6.10 with a few tips and tricks to help making the transition from Windows to Linux a fairly easy switch.

I take no responsibility for lost data. Remember to always backup data especially when trying to switch operating system as unknown obstacles can appear. Data lost as a result to following this guide is not my fault, use this guide at your own discretion, as I will not take blame for anything that you do to screw up yours or someone else's computer.

Posted by frost on Jan 21st, 2007 22:25 - Subscribe Bookmark and Share

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Posted by frost on January 22nd, 2007

I tried Mepis but for some reason the Live CD would not boot, thus I went back to Ubuntu.

The reason I did not use QTParted is that I needed to transfer data from an NTFS device to a Ext3. This cannot be done in Linux as the NTFS drivers are very buggy.


Posted by anonymous on July 14th, 2007

the matrix

Posted by anonymous on November 05th, 2008

Linux Mint and Vista work great with the ext2ifs no problems since linux mint is ubuntu /Deb based. So I think this is great version of ubuntu comes with gnome /kde4 or fluxbox but anyways I have no problems with MS Vista or Linuxmint working together and using ext2ifs and other windows stuff.

Posted by anonymous on December 30th, 2008

im sort of doing the same but i want to partition one half of my 750gb ext the other ntfs one for my win pcs other for my linux pcs

Posted by anonymous on January 20th, 2009

i am Mongolia
help me
language Mongolia

Posted by anonymous on July 07th, 2009


Posted by anonymous on August 15th, 2009

ext3 uses inode=256. ext2ifs uses only inode=128. Therefore you cannot use ext2ifs for ext3. use ext2fsd




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