Access Windows FAT filesystems in SUSE and Fedora

Q I have an old but dependable Compaq Deskpro EN (733MHz, 488MB of RAM) which I've set up with a 10GB hard drive with Windows XP. I also have the My Documents directory including all my music files, and my SUSE Linux 9.2 installation, on a 40GB hard drive. This allows me to completely max-blast Windows when I want to start again without affecting my documents or Linux. My problem is that SUSE cannot see either of my Windows directories - when I look under storage devices it shows only the Linux filesystem.

I've tried Mandriva and Fedora, but the same thing happens. I really want to be able to listen to my music in Linux (and Windows) without changing my windows/documents partition to FAT32. Any ideas?

A If you installed SUSE after Windows, the installer should have picked up your Windows directories and added them to /etc/fstab, so they would be mounted on boot. If this is not the case, you need to add them to /etc/fstab manually.

This has to be done as root, so open a terminal, type sux - to log in as root and give your password. Use whatever editor you prefer to change the file, for example:

sux -

<enter root password>

kwrite /etc/fstab

You need to add two lines to the end of this file. This example assumes your Windows NTFS partitions are the first primary partition on each drive. Otherwise, change the device names accordingly.

/dev/hda1     /windows/C    ntfs   ro,users,gid=users,umask=0002,nls=utf8     00
/dev/hdb1     /windows/D    ntfs   ro,users,gid=users,umask=0002,nls=utf8     00

Save the edited file, then create

the mount points. Mount the partitions and check that they are mounted.

mkdir -p /windows/{C,D}
mount -a
df -h

Provided the mount command gave no errors and df showed the partitions, you should have full read access to them. Write support for NTFS is very limited in Linux, so Windows partitions are usually mounted read-only. If the mount command gave an error along the lines of 'wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock...', double-check the options you typed into /etc/fstab. NB

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