Linux-Windows file access

By Richard Sharpe, |  Networking, Linux

Anyone who uses both Linux and Windows knows the problem. You need a couple of files that are on the Windows partition, but you forgot to copy them to a floppy or to the server before rebooting to Linux. Wouldn't it be great if you could just access those files from Linux, you think, as you prepare yourself for two more reboots.

As it turns out, there are a number of ways to solve that problem. You can mount your Windows partitions under Linux and you can access your ext2 filesystems under Windows. You can also access Linux (and Unix) servers from Windows via Samba and you can even mount Windows filesystems under Linux using smbmount. We will look at each of these methods below.

But there are more solutions on the horizon. The folks at Caldera have funded me to write a Samba client library. Please see the Resources section for more details. That library allows Linux and Unix systems to access Windows resources from within programs. Parts of the library already are available in the Samba CVS tree, and once the library becomes more generally used, programs like Midnight Commander and others should be able to browse the Windows systems on your network.

Accessing Windows files from Linux

There are plenty of Windows filesystems to worry about. There is the plain old DOS system with its 8,3 filenames. There is the long filename support introduced with Windows 95. There is the FAT32 file system introduced with the latter versions of Windows 95 and Windows 98 (known as VFAT filesystems). Finally, there is the NT filesystem, or NTFS.

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