Linux can't read files on Vista partition

Q After problems with Vista, a friend has asked me to put Linux on their PC. My PC is running Fedora, and I've set up a shared drive in Vista so I can pull off the files that my friend needs saved. But I need help getting the files off. I can access the shared drive but when I go to open up the folders to get the files, Linux comes up with a message that it can't read the folders on the Vista PC. Can you access a shared drive in Vista and pull files off it with Linux? I have no problems accessing a shared drive on XP, 2000 or 98 from Linux.

A You can admit to owning a Vista PC yourself - we'll still try to help so there's no need to blame it on a 'friend'... The best way to do this is to use the shell to mount the drive, then you should see clear errors when it fails. Do this as root:

mkdir -p /mnt/windows
mount //PCNAME//C /mnt/windows -o user=USERNAME

replacing PCNAME with the network name of the Windows computer and USERNAME with the name of the admin user on that computer. After giving the user's password, the C drive should be mounted (assuming that's the drive you're trying to share). Do not try turning off password-protected sharing in the Windows control panel, it actually makes things more difficult, not easier as you might expect. You also need to turn on Public Folder Sharing in the Network And Sharing section of the Windows control panel. Even with these settings, you'll still be unable to enter and copy some directories. Vista has protected directories inside the user directories, such as USERNAME\PrintHood. However, you should have no difficulties copying your friend's documents and other data files now.

Because you've mounted his shared drive, you can use any file manager you like to do the copying. You haven't said whether you're trying to do this with a direct cable link or over the internet. It should work the same, apart from the speed, but bear in mind that the data won't be encrypted in transit. You may also need to open port 139 in his firewall or router to make a connection over the internet. This also allows anyone else to attempt a connection, so use a good password and close the port as soon as the job is done. If possible, take your computer to his house (or his to yours) and use a local ethernet connection. Alternatively, you could use the Windows backup program to back up the data to a file or DVD and copy that over to your Fedora system. Windows backup files are zip archives that an be unpacked with the Linux unzip command, which is installed on Fedora.

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