Windows Subsystem for Linux: File System

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One of the key goals for the Windows Subsystem for Linux is to allow users to work with their files as they would on Linux, while giving full interoperability with files the user already has on their Windows machine. Unlike a virtual machine, where you have to use network shares or other solutions to share files between the host and guest OS, WSL has direct access to all your Windows drives to allow for easy interop. Windows file systems differ substantially from Linux file systems,. In this video I had the pleasure of talking to Sven Groot who discusses how WSL bridges those two worlds. Overall I have been thoroughly impressed with the sheer engineering prowess it took to get this working. I hope you enjoy the discussion as much as I have.





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    The Discussion

    • User profile image

      Will the Linux Subsystem abstraction of the Linux file system be limited to the same path length and hard link restrictions as NTFS?

    • User profile image
      Sven Groot

      @David: WSL is restricted by NTFS and NT limitations, which is basically the limitations you get when you use a \\?\ UNC prefix from Win32. This limit is (approximately) 32,768 characters, which is longer than Linux's 4,096 character path limit (which we also enforce).

      WSL is not subject to the MAX_PATH (256 characters) limit that Win32 has for regular (non-UNC) paths.

    • User profile image
      Sven Groot

      Here's the accompanying blog post for this video:

    • User profile image

      Path to the files of Windows Subsystem for Linux is "C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\lxss". Maximum path length is 260 characters but it is necessary to subtract above path. Finally the maximum path length in Windows Subsystem for Linux is approximately 220.
      From that it is necessary to subtract "/home/username" then the maximum path length is approximately 200 characters ...

    • User profile image
      Sven Groot

      @Jedrek: This is not true, because as I said above WSL is not limited by MAX_PATH. As long as your paths are less than 32,768 characters, you'll be fine.

    • User profile image

      How about the ISO images and other kind of file system we found on linux?

      For example, can we mount a brtfs from a raw partition?

    • User profile image
      Sven Groot

      @DennisCheung: That is currently not supported, but feel free to leave your feedback on our UserVoice. We use feedback from there to prioritize new features, and we appreciate all the engagement we're getting from the community!

    • User profile image

      I tried Long Path Tool and it helps me a lot.

    • User profile image

      Why not put the lxss file system inside a VHD?

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