How to Easily make ‘NTFS’ Partitions read-only in Ubuntu 12.10?

The NTFS file system is a lot more complex than the FAT (16/32) file systems. Plus, Microsoft does not reveal all of its technical details (documents), thus, the GNU/Linux developers took their time while enabling the ‘write’ support for NTFS.

These days, almost all GNU/Linux distributions (including Ubuntu) use a lower level software tool called ‘ntfs-3g‘ (a Kernel module), as it is the most reliable one from the bunch (there are others too). I have been using it from the beginning (including the days where we had to install it manually) and over the years it has matured a lot too.

However, I still don’t feel comfortable using it, with read-write enabled, because once accessed my Windows 7 partitions with it, even in recent versions of Ubuntu (such as the 12.04) where it contains up-to-date ntfs-3g drivers, has been a bit troublesome for me.

For example, it has happened more than once that, when I save images into a NTFS partition in Ubuntu, I cannot open them later in Windows 7. And interestingly, under the file size it says ‘zero’, but if I boot back into Ubuntu, then I can view them without any issues whatsoever.

And one or two times (recently), when running the disk check tool, Windows 7 had to fix the file system and I lost some data in the process as well. So usually, as soon as I install Ubuntu, I manually set the NTFS access to read-only as a safety precaution.

There are many way that you can do this in Ubuntu, if you do not like to use the command-line and edit the ‘fstab’ file (a configuration file that holds various information about how to mount file systems in GNU/Linux), then you can use the ‘ntfs-config’ utility.

However, if you are using Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal, then you can use a built in tool called ‘Disks’ for easily changing NTFS access permissions, without having to install a software utility manually.

If interested, then please follow the below procedure for that.

Step 1:

First, click on the ‘Dash’ icon and search for the following term.

disks

Then as shown below, click on its icon to open the program.

Step 2:

Once opened, on its main window, ‘Disks’ graphically shows you your current partition layout.

Gnome-Shells-new-Disks-tool

Now simply choose the NTFS partition that you want to change the permission of, then click on the small gears icon slightly below it, then from the menu choose: ‘Edit Mount Options…’

Step 3:

1. From the next window that you get, move the button to the left, under the option ‘Automatic Mount Options’, to get access to the settings.

2. Now, remove the check-mark under the option ‘Mount at startup’.

You can let it stay enabled too, but I prefer to let Nautilus (file manager) mount the NTFS partitions, after the desktop is loaded, to speed up the boot-up process.

3. Then, as shown in the below screenshot, you will see a field that says ‘nosuid,nodev,nofail,x-gvfs-show’.

Now all you have to do is, simply copy and paste the below code, and add (paste) it to the end of that text line (without a space).

,ro

Step 4:

Once done, click on the ‘OK’ button at the bottom, when asked enter your administrative password, and now you are done!.

If you have more than one NTFS partition, then follow the same steps for setting up the permission to each one individually.

Now try opening a NTFS partition in Nautilus (or any utility) and you will notice that you no longer can ‘Cut’ or ‘Delete’ files inside it, as it is mounted with read-only permissions.

How to disable it?

If later, you wanted to re-enable the read-write support, then simply remove that manually added ‘,ro’ code (or, you can also move that top button to the right side, until you see the option ‘ON), and save your changes. That’s it!.

Note: Please remember this works in Ubuntu 12.10 and later versions only.

17 thoughts on “How to Easily make ‘NTFS’ Partitions read-only in Ubuntu 12.10?”

  1. Just what I needed! Installed 12.10 today and I love it! Hate to keep Windows 7 for occasional needs. And I don’t want to see its partitions when in Ubuntu.

    Reply
  2. Uncheck “Show in user interface” to hide the partition from view in Nautilus. Uninstalling Windows 7 soon again, after having done some few tasks with testing some hardware stuff.

    Reply
  3. I had an extreme problem when I found out it was impossible to add Ubuntu 12.10 as a third boot, after installing Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8 Pro. So now my computer runs only Ubuntu 12.10 and I want to know if it is possible to create a partition to install Windows 8 as a dual boot option. Can you please help me.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      If you have a partition where you can install Windows 8, then it is extremely easy (make sure your computer have internet access). If you don’t have a partition to install Windows 8, say Ubuntu 12.10 is occupying the whole HDD, then read my other comment below.

      Note: First make sure to backup your data on Ubuntu partition to a different location, just in case.

      1. First boot using Windows 8 installer and install Windows 8 to that free partition.

      2. While installing Windows 8, it will remove your existing Ubuntu 12.10 boot menu (GRUB menu). Anyway, once you are finished installing Windows 8, again reboot your computer.

      3. This time, use Ubuntu 12.10 Live CD/USB media and boot into the Ubuntu live desktop session. Then open the terminal and enter the below commands.

      sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair && sudo apt-get update

      sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && boot-repair

      Then search for ‘boot-repair’ on Ubuntu’s ‘Dash’, and open that program.

      4. Once this program is opened, from its main window choose ‘Recommended repair (repairs most frequent problems)’, it should be the first option.

      Once that is chosen, it will do the rest automatically. Once it is finished (without errors), restart your PC and you should now have a boot entry for Windows 8 and Ubuntu 12.10. That’s it!.

      Reply
  4. @ ‘f10M4N31’,

    If you don’t have a partition to install Windows 8, then follow the below procedure.

    Note: The most easiest is to do here is to backup your personal data on Ubuntu 12.10, then use Windows 8 installer and re-partition your HDD (make sure to create a partition for Ubuntu as well, and install Win 8 first and then installing Ubuntu on another partition. If you don’t wanna do that, then you can follow the below method as well.

    1. You will have to resize the partition that Ubuntu is on, and that process will give you a new partition.

    2. Then you can install Windows 8 into that partition.

    3. But as soon as Windows 8 gets installed, it will remove your GRUB entry (Ubuntu’s boot menu launcher), and thus you will not be able to boot into Ubuntu 12.10 anymore. So after that happens, you have to boot using your Ubuntu 12.10 live CD/USB … and then install a program called ‘boot-repair’, and then re-install the GRUB.

    While installing, this time, GRUB should add two entries, one for Windows 8 and one for Ubuntu 12.10. Then you can reboot, remove your Live CD/USB and use both Ubuntu and Windows 8.

    Though the process sounds simple (well it is), it is a bit risky. So first backup your data on your Ubuntu 12.10 to different media, though this might not be necessary as the above mentioned partition resize won’t delete your data, you never know. So better to take precautions :).

    Here are the steps.

    Note: Mate, please remember that, if you feel uncomfortable with the whole partition resizing thing, then I strongly recommend that you get the help of someone who has the necessary knowledge.

    1. Boot into Ubuntu 12.10 desktop using your Ubuntu Live CD/USB.

    2. Then click on the below article link, once it is opened, scroll-down and find ‘Using ‘Gparted’ in Ubuntu to resize a Windows partition …’ section.

    https://www.hecticgeek.com/2012/10/how-to-setup-encrypted-ubuntu-installation/

    Now in this article, I have shown how to resize a Windows NTFS partition using a tool called ‘Gparted’ (open-source partition editor) using Ubuntu. But the same instructions should work for resizing the Ubuntu 12.10 partition as well.

    Find the partition where Ubuntu 12.10 is installed (it should be marked as ‘Ext4’, under ‘File Systems’) and resize it. Make sure the partition that will be created after resizing will have enough space to install Windows 8.

    Then apply the changes. Once it is finished, reboot your PC.

    3. Then boot into Windows 8 installer and install Windows 8 into that new partition.

    4. When finished installing Windows 8 completely, again reboot the computer and this time, boot again using the Ubuntu 12.10 Live CD/USB.

    5. Then open your Terminal and enter the below commands.

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair && sudo apt-get update

    sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && boot-repair

    Then search for ‘boot-repair’ on Ubuntu’s ‘Dash’, and open it.

    6. Once this program is opened, from its main window choose ‘Recommended repair (repairs most frequent problems)’, it should be the first option.

    Once that is chosen, it will do the rest automatically.

    Once it is finished (without errors), restart your PC and you should now have a boot entry for Windows 8 and Ubuntu 12.10. That’s it!.

    Reply
  5. Gayan,
    Thank you!
    You have presented with remarkable clarity a most obscure subject.

    CurrentIy running Windows 8.!, I want to create a dual-boot system installing Linux mint using your methods. Please advise (anyone?) if the method should be modified to account for any differences between Ubuntu 12.1 and Linux Mint.

    Aitch

    Reply

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