Linux NTFS support

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For a long time, only reading a NTFS partition was available in Linux. It is a limitation for NAS devices as it means that a plugged USB drive that is in NTFS format will not be able in the network to store/modify data on this drive ! But there are, now, some solutions to gain write access to NTFS partitions. We will list the available solutions and benchmark them ...

Available solutions

Stock kernel's NTFS support (MIPS & PPC & ARM9)

The NTFS support that is in the Linux kernel is only allowing read operations on NTFS disk.


This solution is the easiest to install, and is available for MIPS, PPC & ARM devices !

You need to compile the fuse support in your kernel and to compile Fuse and NTFS-3G.

Mounting a partition can be done using this command :

mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/'device' mountpoint

Paragon Software NTFS for Linux (ARM9 only)

This solution have been developed by Paragon Software.

The ARM version is not publicly available and I had to sign a NDA to receive the module for benchmarking. The source code is not available but the driver have been compiled for a Marvell CPU close to the one used in our ARM9 devices. The point in testing that is to show if this solution is fast enought to be embedeed in a NAS device like the Linkstation Pro (and other NAS using the same Marvell's SoC).

It's have been compiled for a 2.6.12-arm1 kernel (same as the Linkstation stock kernel) but require some modules that are not in the stock Linkstation Pro system.

I'm still working on compiling a kernel to use this driver. Results will be available as soon as I succeed !

Benchmarking results

A Kurobox Pro and Bonnie++ v1.03a benchmarking tool have been used to benchmark the filesystems.

  • EXT3 benchmarking have been done using a 2.6.24-rc3 (Orion) kernel
  • FUSE + NTFS-3G benchmarking have been done using a 2.6.24-rc3 (Orion) kernel + FUSE v2.7.1 + NTFS-3G v1.1120
  • Paragon Software NTFS for Linux is still under review

Sequential Output Sequential Input Random Sequential Create Random Create
Per Chr Block Rewrite Per Chr Block Seeks Create Read Delete Create Read Delete
Size K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP /sec %CP Files /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP
EXT3 / internal disk 300M 1893 97 21213 75 17732 59 1688 99 47158 91 227.7 7 16 3578 98 XXXXX XXX 6147 99 3654 98 XXXXX XXX 6139 98
Kernel's NTFS support / internal disk 300M XXXXX XXX XXXXX XXX XXXXX XXX ????? ??? ????? ??? ????? ??? 16 XXXXX XXX XXXXX XXX XXXXX XXX XXXXX XXX XXXXX XXX XXXXX XXX
FUSE + NTFS-3G / internal disk 300M 911 48 1708 9 1853 14 1554 99 12707 11 137.5 3 16 167 8 566 12 188 7 182 9 590 12 183 6
Paragon's NTFS driver / internal disk 300M ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? 16 ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???


To complete this article, I need to :

  • Benchmark the Paragon's driver
  • Benchmark reading performances of the Linux -read only- NTFS support


Fuse + NTFS-3G give some slow performances on a Linkstation Pro/Kurobox Pro (and it should be worst on PPC based devices). In real usage configuration (ie : using an USB drive in NTFS format), performances will even be slower because of the USB driver taking CPU time ...

We still have to wait for Paragon's driver benchmarking results ...