The scenario: You have just installed a freshly brewed Linux image alongside with your Windows OS, everything works fine but then you realise you are not able to mount/access your Windows’ partitions.
So why is this happening? If you have Windows 8 or later version then you might face this problem because of the fast-startup (aka fast-boot) feature, which must be turned off, what it does is it allows your computer to go in a partial sleep state or hibernation state which helps Windows to boot up quickly, in technical terms Windows’ kernel still possess the control of your hardware even if you shutdown/restart your computer and boot into a different OS.
What should you do then?: I will tell you 3 ways to fix this, quick steps no fuss! FYI, little over with more experimentation with bootloader and MBR records displayed in the BIOS settings, I was able to find a new way to easily make Windows files accessible, so now there are 4 ways!
Let’s check them out, but before actually going with one of the methods make sure to read all the steps and choose the one according to your situation you are in.
Useful Link: Here is a list of PC brands with their corresponding hot-keys for accessing Boot Menu or BIOS settings.
1. Using Terminal (Use this when you are currently logged in Ubuntu):
1.1 Quickly open the terminal or press Ctrl + Alt + T
1.2 First you need to find out the partition’s name which you want to access, run the following command:
sudo fdisk -l
1.3 Then run this command in your terminal, to access your drive in read/write mode.
mount -t ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/sda1 /media/<YOUR-Partition-name>
Run this command (if the previous didn’t work)
sudo ntfsfix /dev/<YOUR-Partition-name>
It only repairs some fundamental NTFS inconsistencies and resets the NTFS journal file, it’s a very quick way to access your drives if you need them urgently BUT it schedules an NTFS consistency check for the first boot into Windows.
2. Disabling Fast Startup (Permanent fix but at the cost of increased bootup time):
2.1 Navigate to Control Panel then Power Options of your Windows OS.
2.2 Click “Choose what the power buttons do.”
2.3 Then Click “Change settings that are currently unavailable” to make the Fast Startup option available for configuration.
2.4 Look for “Turn on fast-startup(recommended)” option and uncheck this box.
Reboot your computer into Ubuntu, you should be able to access your drives now.
NOTE: Remember, doing such a permanent method could hamper some of your Windows bootup time, you might not consider this method if you use Windows frequently.
3. (Re)boot Way (Use this when you are about to Power up your system):
Nothing technical, the easiest way but might take some time, depending on your machine configuration and bootup timings. Just sit back, relax and watch your computer booting up (meanwhile check your phone or try recollecting what you will be doing after the bootup or clean the dust off your laptop, (first world problems, I know right) so let’s dive in,
3.1 Restart/Turn on your computer and boot up Windows OS first (with GRUB or any other bootloader you use to switch OS ), till login screen.
3.2 Don’t enter your credentials to login, just don’t login, instead restart again.
3.3 Now this time boot up into Ubuntu, login and check if you can access your drives or not. (if not select method 2 or 3)
4. Reboot Shutdown Reboot (RSR, a quick way, requires Ninja Skills):
According to me this seems a more efficient way (less time consuming) to make the Windows’ files system accessible but there is a catch, here you cannot just sit back and watch your computer booting up (like in Method 3), you need to be swift and quick in using your hot-keys to trigger boot menu or BIOS.
4.1 Start/Restart your computer to boot menu.
4.2 Don’t make any selection and just press the power button to turn off your computer.
4.3 Boot again to boot menu and select Ubuntu, you should be able to access your Windows’ file system.
Choose any method depending on your needs, follow method 2, if you use Ubuntu more frequently (or your primary OS is Ubuntu) it’s a permanent solution. Use method 1 or 3 which are temporary solutions if you use Windows equally. Try method 4 if you need to something in between permanent and temporary.
Comment below if you know another method or didn’t understand any of the methods above.
Thanks for reading.