How to Share Files Between Linux and Windows Dual Boot [3 Methods]

Sharing files between Linux and Windows dual boot setup is a basic requisite if you are using both operating systems installed on your PC. Generally, Windows employs a FAT32 or NTFS file system whereas Linux utilizes Ext4. As both operating systems support different file systems, there are several methods to facilitate the file sharing between these two. In this guide, I am going to provide you some easy and effective approaches to share files between Linux and Windows dual boot.

Key Takeaways

  • Learning about dual booting.
  • Understanding the fact of sharing files between Linux and Windows dual boot.

Requirements

  • You must have a proper Windows setup.
  • You must have Ubuntu installed on your PC.

Process Flow Chart

[Distro & Windows Used Throughout the Tutorial: Ubuntu 22.04.2 LTS & Windows 10]

Flowchart-sharing files between Linux and Windows dual boot

3 Methods to Share Files Between Linux and Windows Dual Boot

To share files between Linux and Windows in a dual boot setup conveniently you can follow up several methods. In the following section, I have described three obvious methods to share files between dual-boot PCs without risking any files.

You can read the Comparative Analysis of Methods to know about the advantages and disadvantages of these three methods.

Method 01: Using Separate Partitions to Share Files Between Linux and Windows Dual Boot

Suppose, you are using your existing Windows partition and for some reason, you want to delete the partition later. Now, you cannot isolate the important files inside the partition which you want to keep. It seems risky, right? Actually, in this case, it’s better to create a new shared partition. Before starting make sure to backup your critical files. The step-by-step procedure to share files between Linux and Windows dual boot using separate partition is given below:

A. Resizing Partition

There are several tools for partitioning drives on Windows. But the easiest way is to use the Windows Disk Management tool. Using this tool you can resize the partitions which support only FAT32 or NTFS file systems in Windows. So, if you are running out of space and want to resize your partition, then follow the steps below:

Steps to Follow >

❶ Press WIN+X, and click on Disk Management from the left panel.Selecting disk management❷ Now, you will see a list of partitions. The upper half section in the image below indicates the partitions/volumes and the lower half section indicates the partitions of each drive in a detailed format.Checking inside the disk management ❸ Select a large partition from all drives and right click on it and click ‘Shrink Volume’. Generally in Windows, the large partition is on Windows C: drive.Shrinking volume❹ There prompts a window after a while asking to enter the amount of storage you want to clear like the following image.Entering amount to shrinkEnter an amount according to your needs in megabytes and click ‘Shrink’. Here, I have inserted 2000 MB.

B. Creating A New Partition

Once you have created the necessary space on your hard drive, you can move on to creating a new partition. To create a new shared drive partition go through the steps below:

Steps to Follow >

❶ Look for ‘Unallocated’ which specifies the available space. Right-click on it and select ‘New Simple Volume’.Checking unallocated space

Creating new simple volumeClick ‘Next’ when the new window prompts like the following image.Starting simple volume wizard❷ Specify the new drive’s size in megabytes and click ‘Next’. The volume size used for my new drive is 1800 MB.Specifying volume size❸ Assign a drive letter for your new drive.Assigning drive letterIn the snapshot above, I have assigned my new partition to drive N.

❹ Now, make sure to select NTFS as the file system. Also, name the new partition as you want in the ‘Volume label’ option and click ‘Next’.Selecting file system and volume label❺ Finally, click ‘Finish’ to end the process.Finishing volume wizardThen, the new drive partition will be created and listed in the Disk Management window.Created new drive partitionFrom the above image, you can see that my new N drive partition has been added to the list.

C. Formatting New Partition

Follow the steps below to format the new partition:

Steps to Follow >

Right click on New Volume (N:) and click Format.Formatting new drive❷ Now, name the volume label of your choice, select NTFS as the file system, and click OK.Naming volume label and setting file system during drive formattingHere, I have named my volume label as ‘shared disk’.

❸ To continue click OK.Clicking on 'OK' for formattingYour volume is now formatted & all data is erased now.

D. Accessing Shared Drive

Once created and formatted the new partition, you can access the contents of it from Windows file explorer like the image below.

Also, you can access it from the Linux system. Recent Ubuntu versions can easily read partitions with the NTFS file system. To access the partition from Linux follow the steps below:Opening new partition

Steps to Follow >

❶ Go to Files > Other Locations and you will find the desired partition created before. 

❷ Click on the partition to access it.New partition of windows in linuxNow, you can see all the files and folders inside the partition like the image below.Accessing the file inside the partition from LinuxThus, shared partitions can be used to share files between Linux and Windows dual boot safely.

Method 02: Using External Storage to Share Files Between Linux and Windows Dual Boot

Another way to share files between Linux and Windows is to use an external drive or USB drive. Here’s how to use it:

Steps to Follow >

❶ Plug in your external storage or USB drive.

❷ Format the drive if it is not formatted yet.

❸ While running one operating system, copy the desired files onto the USB drive.

❹ Switch to another operating system and access the contents from the drive.

Note: For Windows, access the drive from File Explorer & for Linux, access it from the terminal by navigating to the mount point or searching through the file manager.

Read More: How to Share Files between Linux and Windows

Method 03: Using Cloud Storage to Share Files Between Linux and Windows Dual Boot

Accessing files from both Linux and Windows operating systems using cloud storage is a very convenient solution. You can share and access files seamlessly using cloud services like Google drive, One drive, Dropbox etc. Here, I will show you how to share files using google drive.

Steps to Follow >

❶ First, in Windows, open any browser and log in to your google drive account. You can see the existing files in google drive like the image below.Going to google drive from Windows and adding new fileClick on ‘+ New’ to upload a desired file on google driveNew file added on google driveYou can see that the new file has been shared like the above image.

❷ Now, go to your Linux system, open any browser on Ubuntu, and log in to your google drive. You will find the desired file which you wanted to share.Opening google drive in Linux and accessing the desired fileThus, you can share files using cloud storage between Linux and Windows dual boot.

Comparative Analysis of Methods

Let’s explore the comparative analysis among the discussed three methods of sharing files between Linux and Windows dual boot:

Methods Pros Cons
Method 1
  • Simple.
  • Allows direct access.
  • Limited portability.
  • Limited flexibility.
Method 2
  • Portability.
  • Easy connectivity.
  • Limited storage.
  • Less compatibility.
Method 3 
  • Storage scalability.
  • Device independence.
  • Synchronization.
  • No offline access.
  • Storage limitations.
  • Subscription costs.

Select any of these methods that satisfy all your preferences while sharing files between Linux and Windows dual boot environments.

Conclusion

Sharing files between Linux and Windows in a dual boot environment improvises interoperability and data management. This guide, with some convenient methods, will be helpful for you while sharing files between Linux and Windows dual boot setups. Just make sure to back up important things before dual booting.

People Also Ask

Why is dual-boot not recommended?
Dual boot is not recommended because it can cause overwriting issues in your existing data or operating system.
Will I lose data due to dual boot?
Dual boot is safe to use. But it reduces disk storage.
Will dual booting split RAM?
No, dual booting will not divide RAM.
Can I remove dual boot?
Yes, you can remove one OS using the ‘msconfig’ utility tool.
Dual boot or virtual machine-which is better?
Virtual machines are better than dual boot as these offer more than one operating system to run at the same time.
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Nadiba Rahman

Hello, This is Nadiba Rahman, currently working as a Linux Content Developer Executive at SOFTEKO. I have completed my graduation with a bachelor’s degree in Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering from Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology (RUET).I am quite passionate about crafting. I really adore exploring and learning new things which always helps me to think transparently. And this curiosity led me to pursue knowledge about Linux. My goal is to portray Linux-based practical problems and share them with you. Read Full Bio

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