As I have mentioned before, Archer was my first Linux installation wherein I was able to get NTFS writing right from the get go. That means that I no longer have a FAT32 partition in my desktop harddisk as everything is already in NTFS. This helps in downloading those Linux DVD ISO images since I no longer have to think about freeing enough space on my NTFS drive if I want to be able to continue the download on whatever OS is booted up.

Lately Windows has been ruling the desktop since I need some Windows-specific apps for work. I was transferring some files from the desktop hard drive into the portable hard disk (backups are not paranoia). I was moving some stuff so I don’t leave outdated rubbish files in the desktop HDD then suddenly Windows gave an error that the file was in use so the move operation is being denied access and the delete operation cannot continue. I can’t track the process holding it as only Windows Explorer is touching the file so I scheduled a checkdisk execution at the next boot and then rebooted the machine. During startup, Windows checkdisk found and fixed the entries from some file which I assume is the file I was moving. Upon completion of the checkdisk execution I logged again in Windows and tried doing the move. The same thing happened. I just shrugged my shoulders and rebooted to Archer. It was about time to get the latest package updates from the repository anyway.

I boot all of my Linux systems into run level 3 (console mode). I would like to say it has something to do with the speed to get between when the BIOS screen and the login prompt but I think this has just been my force of habit as my desktop has enough processing power that I am in the prompt in less than 1 minute, and another 10 seconds to enter XFCE. This time booting in a console mode a good thing because I saw that mounting the NTFS drives were encountering errors since they are tagged as in use. I am presented with the following messages for each NTFS partition:

Failed to mount ‘/dev/sda7’: Operation not supported
Mount is denied because NTFS is marked to be in use. Choose one action:

Choice 1: If you have Windows then disconnect the external devices by clicking on the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ icon in the Windows taskbar then shutdown Windows cleanly.

Choice 2: If you don’t have Windows then you can use the ‘force’ option for your own responsibility. For example type on the command line:

mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda7 /windows/d -o force

Or add the option to the relevant row in the /etc/fstab file:

/dev/sda7 /windows/d ntfs-3g defaults,force 0 0

Being a firm believer in Murphy’s laws, I opted to be on the safe side and just let them be and tried to mount them manually. The mount message provided an additional clue that I might be able to leverage in fixing the problem: the NTFS drive log file says it was not cleanly unmounted!

I tried searching for the answer on how to clear the partition log from Windows but I came up with nothing. Constantly rebooting Windows does not help either. The log is still being marked as in use whenever I try mounting them in Linux. After two nights I was already exasperated so I went for the force route. I mounted the partitions manually as root and specified the -o force option. The forced mount directive did the trick and cleared the NTFS partition log. I haven’t found any data loss YET but I have a nagging feeling that I might and at the worst possible time (again, Murphy’s law).

I am still at a loss on who messed up the partitions. The partitions were being utilized exclusively by Windows for the past few days but I know that there were times that I used Archer and started utorrent in wine so the partition was also being used even for only a while. I am getting frustrated with Windows since it should have been able to clear the dirty markings on the partition logs since it was able to complete its shutdown sequence properly. If I am going to defend Windows I will say Linux messed up the log which prevents it from marking it correctly after a clean shutdown. But that is hogwash since I should have been notified that something is wrong after the initial bootup, or even before it enters the shutdown sequence.

I think my finger knows which OS is the culprit but until I get more information on this problem (and how to clear the log from within Windows), I am going to be on the fence on who is really at fault. I am just crossing my fingers that I haven’t damaged any data since there are some stuff in the hard disk that I am not putting in my portable HDD and I still haven’t gotten around to putting them in DVD.