Ubuntu – Unable to mount Windows (NTFS) filesystem due to hibernation


Whenever I boot Ubuntu, I get a message that it cannot mount my windows partition, and I can choose to either wait, skip or manually mount.

When I try to enter my Windows partition through Nautilus I get a message saying that this partition is hibernated and that I need to enter the file system and properly close it, something I have done with no problem so I don't know why this happens.

Here's my partition table, if any more data is needed please let me know.

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1            2048    20000767     9999360   83  Linux
/dev/sda2        20002814   478001151   228999169    5  Extended
/dev/sda3   *   478001152   622532607    72265728    7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda4       622532608   625141759     1304576   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda5        20002816   478001151   228999168   83  Linux

Best Answer

A bug has been filed about the Nautilus dialog you are seeing as it recommends a potentially dangerous option that could result in data loss. Please do not run the command in this dialog unless you want to delete your saved Windows session and potentially lose unsaved work.

Explanation: Why Linux can't open hibernated Windows partitions:

You are seeing this error because you hibernated Windows instead of turning it off the normal way (in newer versions of Windows, hibernate might be the default option).

  • Hibernating saves the current state information to the hard disk and then powers down the computer.
  • Shutting down the computer closes all programs and ends all running processes before powering down the computer.

When you turn off Windows by hibernating it, you are essentially pausing the system and saving all of that information (into a big file called hiberfil.sys) This way when you resume from hibernation all of your applications and files will be exactly how you left them. It also sets a flag in hiberfil.sys to let other Operating Systems know that Windows is hibernated.

Making changes to your Windows (ntfs) partition while it is hibernated could be dangerous--it could cause Windows to not resume from hibernation or to crash after resuming. Because of this, the tool (ntfs-3g) that mounts (opens) the partition will not mount it in read-write mode if it sees a hibernation flag. As such, Nautilus, the default file browser, will not be able to automatically open this partition--hence the error message that you see--because it is trying to open it in read-write mode.

Workaround for all versions of Windows:

There are three ways to mount a hibernated Windows partition:

  1. Boot into Windows and power down the system by shutting it down completely. You may then boot back into Ubuntu and the partition will mount in read-write mode automatically when you open it in Nautilus. Note that the "Shut Down" option may not be the one displayed in your start menu by default. You may need to click the button next to it to see further options.

  2. Manually mount the filesystem in read only mode.

    • Check to see if you have a mount point (folder for mounting your partition in) for your Windows partition in the folder /media using this command:

      ls /media

    • If you don't see a folder for your Windows partition, you should create one with the following command:

      sudo mkdir /media/windows

    • Next, mount the partition in read-only mode onto this folder with this command:

      mount -t ntfs-3g -o ro /dev/sda3 /media/windows

      Note that you should change /media/windows if your mountpoint is called something else.

    • Now you will be able to view/open files on your Windows partition using any program in Ubuntu. However you will not be able to write to the partition or modify any files as it is in read only mode.
  3. If you need to mount the partition in read-write mode and are not able to or willing to boot into Windows and shut it down completely there is a third option. However, it is not included here because it completely deletes hiberfil.sys and will cause you to lose all unsaved information in the hibernated Windows programs. The following is a quotation from man ntfs-3g about the option that would be used to do this.

                  Unlike in case of  read-only  mount,  the  read-write  mount  is
                  denied  if  the  NTFS  volume is hibernated. One needs either to
                  resume Windows and shutdown it  properly,  or  use  this  option
                  which  will  remove  the  Windows hibernation file. Please note,
                  this means that the saved Windows  session  will  be  completely
                  lost. Use this option under your own responsibility.

Solution (only for Windows 8 and 10):

There is a new feature in Windows 8 called Fast Startup. If this feature is enabled (which it is by default), Windows 8 does not actually completely shutdown when you choose shutdown. Instead, it does a "hybrid shutdown". This is something like hibernating; it makes booting Windows 8 back up faster. So, you need to disable this feature to be able to shut it down properly, and be able to mount the Windows partitions. To do this, boot into your Windows 8 and:

Note: disabling Fast Startup will most likely make your Windows 8 take a longer time to boot. There are no "exact" numbers, but let's say that if it took you 10 seconds to boot into Windows 8, it will now take you 50 seconds after disabling this feature.

  1. Open Control Panel in the small icons view and click on Power Options. (see screenshot 1)
  2. Click on Choose what the power buttons do. (see screenshot 2)
  3. Click on Change settings that are currently unavailable. (see screenshot 3)
  4. Uncheck Turn on fast startup (recommended). (see screenshot 4)

Click on Save changes. Now, shutdown Windows 8 and boot back into Ubuntu.

If you still aren't able to mount without getting errors, you may need to turn off hibernation completely. Open an elevated Command Prompt (right click on the shortcut, click on “Run as Administrator”), and input:

powercfg /h off

Source: Fast Startup - Turn On or Off in Windows 8.