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Ubuntu and Associated Distributions/Give Linux users limited access to Windows partition


QUESTION: My computer is dual booting a flavor of Ubuntu 14.04 and Windows 7. Each partition has one administrator and two standard users. (I'm the admin.) I would like to give the Ubuntu standard users permanent access to their Windows 7 User file folders *without* giving them access to the whole Windows partition, nor giving them the Ubuntu administrator password which they'd have to use every time they try to access the Windows partition.  Ideally they'd have a desktop shortcut to their Windows folders.

Is there a way to do that?

ANSWER: A partition can be a piece of a hard drive -- or all of it.  A partition doesn't have an administrator nor does it have users.  They're characteristics of an OS.

Why are users accessing their Windows 7 data from Ubuntu?  There isn't anything mentioned about a reason for leaving Windows on it.  Is this one machine with multiple users who are learning Ubuntu at the same time?  Do they need access to both OSes?  

An Ubuntu desktop may have clickable icons that open a folder.  You'd need to read documentation about using the file manager in order to learn the syntax for invoking it and opening the particular folder you want open.  Then you'd use whichever tool they provide, to add a new icon to the desktop.  In the part where you'd enter the command you'd put in the command syntax.

Can you re-phrase the question? Perhaps I'll understand the question better.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: What I mean by the administrator/user comment is that both Ubuntu 14.04 and Windows 7 operating systems are on this computer, which are installed onto separate partitions of a single drive. I am the administrator for both the Windows and Ubuntu installations, and each OS has two standard users.

I don't know why "a reason for leaving Windows on it" matters, but there are at least two:
1. Windows users learning/potentially transitioning to Linux.
2. Certain programs we currently need to use only work in Windows or Mac OSX.

I would like users to be able to access their data on the partition Windows is on while using Ubuntu instead of having to restart, boot into Windows, edit data, restart, boot into Ubuntu, etc.  That way there would only be one copy of a given data file rather than two copies, one in a folder on the partition where Windows is and one in a folder on the partition where Ubuntu is, with potentially different data. If/when we transition to Linux-only the files will be migrated over.

The problem is finding a way for Ubuntu User A to access Windows User A's files without giving Ubuntu User A unlimited access to the entire partition where Windows is - including Windows User B's data files, Admin files and program files. Likewise, Ubuntu User B should have access to Windows User B files without being able to access Windows User A's, Admin's, or program files.  

As of now the closest I can get is mounting the whole partition where Windows is in a given user's Ubuntu profile. When the computer is shut down or restarted, it is unmounted and must be remounted using the administrator password.

When the entire partition where Windows is gets mounted, desktop shortcuts to the partition or any specific folder or file on it can easily be created. When the computer is shut down or restarted the partition is unmounted and the desktop shortcut becomes broken. If the partition is remounted, the desktop shortcut remains broken until the user logs out and logs back in again.

In a nutshell, my question is how can I set it so that Ubuntu User A has *permanant* access to Windows User A's files *without* giving Ubuntu User A access to any other folders on the partition which has Windows on it?

This isn't the sort of work that's done easily on-the-fly.  Implementing access from either OS and controlling who can access what, is complex.

The security domain is "Access Control".  In a military/government systems this entails data classifications.  Windows internals available via NTFS are extremely granular.  

Without knowledge of the complete requirements the best solution i can think of is putting the files on a server that can be accessed from other machines (whether they're Windows, Linux, or Mac boxes).  Network access is controlled via network login and file access is determined by accounts on the Windows machine.  Samba will interface with Windows and respect the NTFS file perms.

Hope this helps.  But the task at hand isn't trivial unless you've been through it several times.

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John Crout


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