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.
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.