How to mount Windows 8 or 10 system drive on Linux

How to mount Windows 8 or 10 system drive on Linux without running into a problem or let’s say error. And by error we mean this message: “The NTFS partition is hibernated”. This actual error will prevent you from accessing its files.

If you are not expecting this message, you will surely be confused.

By shutting down Windows normally, Linux will claim that it is currently hibernating. And now comes the confusing part for you, because you didn’t hibernate it. The explanation is that the Windows system actually hibernates whenever you perform a normal shut down.

The Windows system does not fully shut down by default, but instead it hibernates, and when you boot it again, it just reloads the initial state of the system. By doing so, the start-up process is sped up, but it has the above mention downside if you use Linux.

There is a way around this problem, but the Windows system will boot a bit slower (let’s say Windows 7 boot speed). What you need to do is to disable the “hybrid boot”.

Unlike exFAT file systems that require additional software, Linux distributions like Ubuntu include NTFS-3g, and can mount NTFS file systems normally.

By restarting your PC, Windows won’t use the “hybrid boot”, so if there is an operating system problem, the restart procedure will fully erase that initial system state and generate a new one.

So, when you are dual-booting Linux, make sure that you restart Windows instead of shutting it down, when you want to switch to Linux.

You can also force the Windows system to do a full shut down by pressing the Shift key while clicking the “Shut down” button.

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Whatever option you choose, you can then boot back into Linux and mount the Windows system partition. You can access its files by clicking on Linux’s desktop file manager or in Nautilus.

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To make things even easier, you can disable the “hybrid boot” entirely. But keep in mind that by doing so the Windows system will boot a bit slower. Once disabled, you will be able to mount its partition.

To disable the “hybrid boot” you will need to boot into the Windows system, launch Control Panel and click on the “Hardware and Sound” button. Then, under the Power Options, click “Change what the power buttons do”. A new window will appear, where at the top you will see “Change settings that are currently unavailable”. Click this button to. Then scroll down and uncheck the “Turn on fast start-up (recommended) option. After you do so, click the “Save Changes” button.

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Windows will now perform a full shut down, just like Windows 7 did, every time you shut it down.

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If you’re dual-booting and want full read-write access to your NTFS partition, this is necessary.

If you only want to access and view the files in the Windows partition, you can mount the Windows system partition in read-only mode. By choosing this option you need to know that you won’t be able to change or write anything on this partition. And also know that, Linux can mount Windows system drives in read-only mode even if they are hibernated.

How to boot from a USB Drive in VirtualBox

How to boot from a USB Drive in VirtualBox on Windows may come in handy if you don’t have a CD or a disk image. VirtualBox can be a lifesaver for anyone willing to experiment with different OS.

 

For starters to boot from a USB Drive in VirtualBox you’ll evidently need a bootable USB drive. The second thing you need is to be able to use command prompt, but no need to worry because it only involves a couple of steps:

  1. Open the Start Menu and search for Disk Management. Once found, launch it. Then find the disk number of you USB Drive (for example if it says “Disk 2” the number you are looking for is 2).
  2. Open the Start Menu again and search for Command Prompt. Choose “Run as administrator” by right clicking the icon.
  3. Navigate to the VirtualBox installation directory by running: cd %programfiles%\Oracle\VirtualBox
  1. Enter this command to create a .vmdk file in your C drive, which will point to the USB drive:

VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename C:\extdisk.vmdk -rawdisk \\.\PhysicalDrive#

You’ll need to replace # with the disk number found in step 1.

  1. Open the Start Menu again and search for VirtualBox. Right-click the icon and select “Run as administrator” so you can run the program with administrative rights.
  2. In the window labelled “Hard Drive”, select “Use an existing hard drive file”, and select the .vmdk file you just created as your new virtual hard drive.
  3. Finally select the new virtual machine that will appear, and VirtualBox will boot the operating system found on the USB Drive.

Make sure that you keep the .vmdk file so you don’t have to repeat all the steps every time.

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The steps presented above are specifically for Windows. For other OS’s the steps might differ.