How To Mount A Windows NTFS Disk In Linux

The New Technology File System (NTFS) is a proprietary file system created by Microsoft and is used extensively in Microsoft’s Windows operating systems.

By default most Linux distributions are not able to mount NTFS, however it is possible to install a driver that allows us to do this so that we can read and write data to an NTFS disk.

In this example I have attached the VMDK file from a Windows based virtual machine to a CentOS 7 Linux virtual machine.

When we run ‘fdisk -l’ we can see that the disk is recognized (after a system reboot), however it is not yet mounted for us to access the data. We can see the primary disk for the Linux system /dev/sda, while /dev/sdb is our 1GB NTFS disk which has the /dev/sdb1 NTFS partition.

[[email protected] ~]# fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 21.5 GB, 21474836480 bytes, 41943040 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk label type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x0004c930

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *        2048      616447      307200   83  Linux
/dev/sda2          616448     4810751     2097152   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda3         4810752    41943039    18566144   83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdb: 1073 MB, 1073741824 bytes, 2097152 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk label type: dos
Disk identifier: 0xfc757b2a

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1             128     2091135     1045504    7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT

By default when I try to mount the NTFS disk, we get the below error.

[[email protected] ~]# mkdir /windows
[[email protected] ~]# mount /dev/sdb1 /windows/
mount: unknown filesystem type 'ntfs'

Install Required Packages

In order to perform the mount, we need to install the ntfs-3g package, which is a Linux NTFS userspace driver. This package comes from EPEL if you’re using CentOS/RHEL, so if you have not yet configured your system to use the EPEL repository, run the following command.

[[email protected] ~]# yum install epel-release -y

Now we should be able to install the ntfs-3g package from the EPEL repository.

[[email protected] ~]# yum install ntfs-3g -y

Otherwise if you’re using Ubuntu/Debian, you should just be able to run ‘apt-get install ntfs-3g’ straight away. In my Debian 8 installation it was already available so I was able to mount NTFS without any problems.

Mount The NTFS Disk

We can now successfully perform the mount without any errors.

[[email protected] ~]# mount /dev/sdb1 /windows/

[[email protected] ~]# blkid /dev/sdb1
/dev/sdb1: LABEL="NTFS" UUID="CA4A1FD94A1FC0DD" TYPE="ntfs"

We can confirm that the NTFS disk is now seen as mounted by the operating system.

[[email protected] ~]# df -h /windows/
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sdb1      1021M   11M 1011M   2% /windows

At this point you should be able to read and write data on the mounted NTFS disk.

Automatically Mount NTFS

We can create an entry in the /etc/fstab file so that our NTFS disk will automatically mount on system boot. Below is an example of the entry that I have placed into my fstab file. This will mount the disk to the /ntfs directory.

/dev/sdb1       /windows        ntfs-3g defaults        0 0

Once this configuration has been added, the NTFS disk should mount automatically on system boot. Before performing a reboot, it is recommended to first run the ‘mount -a’ command and confirm that the disk mounts without errors. If there are errors that happen during boot, you may be left with a system that does not properly boot so it’s important to test first.


We have seen that it is possible to easily mount an NTFS disk in CentOS 7 Linux once the ntfs-3g package has been installed which provides us with the necessary drivers.

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