If you are a dual user, bouncing from Linux to Windows and back, or are cooperating with Windows users and need access to the same files, it is best to have a common partition in NTFS format, since it is accessible by both OSes.
Linux proves its versatility by supporting all storage formats supported by Windows. Out of all three, FAT32 would be too restricted for modern use with its main limitation being a 4GB maximum file limit. ExFAT wouldn’t be much better since it’s more of a “middle ground” between FAT32 and NTFS.
This makes NTFS the best option, and, thankfully, it’s easy to format your hard disk in NTFS format in Linux. There are many ways to do this, but one of the easiest is using GParted.
Creating NTFS Partition with GParted
GParted is the most popular application of its kind in the Open Source world, so it may already be installed in your distribution. If not, find it in its software center/app store, or install it through the terminal with:
sudo apt install gparted
Run GParted and choose the hard drive you want to format to NTFS from the drop-down list on the top right of the program’s window.
Double-check that you’re selecting the correct hard drive. You don’t want to nuke your personal photos.
Create a New Partition
We had an entirely blank disk connected, so GParted presented its space as unallocated. If yours already has one or more volumes on it, and you’re sure they don’t contain data you need, right-click on them and delete them one by one.
Right-click in the unallocated space and select “New” from the menu that appears.
Click on the drop-down menu next to “File System” and change its type to “ntfs.”
We suggest you don’t change the rest of the settings. As they are, they should use your whole HDD’s space for a primary NTFS partition that both Linux and Windows would recognize.
Do provide, though, a name for it in “Label” to make it easily recognizable. If you don’t, your distro will usually mount it by using its not-so-human-friendly UUID.
Check and apply
GParted, by default, adds each operation to a batch but doesn’t do anything to your hard drive. Every change is virtual until you make it permanent.
Click “Apply” to start the procedure. GParted will ask you if you’re sure you want to proceed – remember, choosing the wrong hard drive can lead to data loss. Click “Apply” here as well, and GParted will start working its magic on your disk.
If you wish to check extra information for each step, you can expand the list in the “Details” part of the “Applying pending operations” window.
When done, click “Close” and enjoy your new NTFS partition.
As a final note, if your distribution uses Gnome as its desktop environment, it’s highly probable you also have Gnome Disk Utility installed. You can usually find it as “Disks” through the distribution’s main menu, and it, too, allows you to format any drive to NTFS.
To do this, run it, select the disk you want to format to NTFS from the left pane, click on the icon with the two gears under its graphical representation and choose “Format Partition…” Set the format type to NTFS and proceed with the format.
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