[HOW-TO] Force mount unclean shutdowned Windows NTFS or FAT32 drive in Linux



I am writing this article, because recently a friend of mine brought me his Windows laptop to backup some of his files and reinstall the O.S. I was having trouble because he had a Blue Screen of Death that wouldn’t let me boot into Windows, so to backup the files, I decided to use an Ubuntu Live CD and look for them in there. In Ubuntu I found out that the hard drive wasn’t being mounted, and figured out it was because the computer was turned off the hard way (power button pressed for a few seconds, or AC power cord disconnected).

To mount it I found out that running a very simple command in the terminal would force Ubuntu to mount it, or if you have access to the Windows O.S., simply restart your computer the correct way, and it you won’t need to force mount it.


Difficulty level: Easy

1. We first need to know what’s the path of the HDD we want to mount. To do this we need to execute this command in the terminal as root user:

sudo fdisk -l

We will get something like this:

Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000f1a4e

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *           1       12749   102400000    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2           12750       24906    97651102+  83  Linux
/dev/sda3 25150 60802 286374912 7 HPFS/NTFS

2. Let’s say our not-mounted HDD is /dev/sda3, we see it’s a NTFS drive, which most Windows drives are. To mount it, we simply type this command in the terminal as root user too:

mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda3 /media/mymounteddrive -o force

ntfs-3g <- Specifies the drive is NTFS

/dev/sda3 <- The drive we want to mount

/media/mymounteddrive <- Where it will be mounted

force <- We are forcing it to mount

3. That’s it, you can now access your hard drive.


If your drive is FAT32, instead of typing ntfs-3g in the -t (type) parameter, we will type vfat, and also in the -o (option) parameter, we will add umask=000. It will look something like this:

mount -t vfat /dev/sda3 /media/mymounteddrive -o force,umask=000


That’s pretty much all to successfully force mount your Windows drive in Linux if it was incorrectly shutdowned. Any questions, comments, problems, etc, please do not hesitate to comment or contact me.


Best Regards,


Owner of www.Juapo2Services.com

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3 Comments on [HOW-TO] Force mount unclean shutdowned Windows NTFS or FAT32 drive in Linux

  1. Patrick says:

    I followed the process. I am using Ubuntu 12.04 and this is the error that came

    sudo mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda3 /media/Data -o force
    mount: unknown filesystem type ‘ntfs-3g’

  2. Ciro says:

    Very good, you save my life 🙂

  3. beppe9000 says:

    I tried “mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda4 /media/win_data -o force” but i got this error:

    The disk contains an unclean file system (0, 0).
    Metadata kept in Windows cache, refused to mount.
    Failed to mount ‘/dev/sda4’: Operation not permitted
    The NTFS partition is in an unsafe state. Please resume and shutdown
    Windows fully (no hibernation or fast restarting), or mount the volume
    read-only with the ‘ro’ mount option.

    I don’t understand: I am forcing the mounting, but the volume won’t mount. Looks like it is not being forced.

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