There are two problems related to the Linux / Ubuntu Drive partitions :
- Windows Does Not Read Linux / Ubuntu Drive Partitions which are EXT2 or EXT3 Partitions
- Pen Drives Formatted On Linux As EXT Are Not Readable By Windows
There problems are not because of the limitation of Linux or Windows operating system, these problems arise because Windows and Linux work on different file systems. One advantage that Linux has is that it can read windows drive partitions as it recognizes the Windows File Systems, but vice-e-versa is not true. Windows OS does not have the feature or in-built support to read Linux partitions.
I this article I will share some methods to read Linux partitions from Inside Windows OS. These methods allow you to access, read and write files to and from EXT2 and EXT3 Partitions from inside Windows Operating System.
There are two type of solutions to help you read EXT2 / EXT3 file system which is used by Linux / Ubuntu. First type are the File system drivers which are installed in Windows and allows it to read Linux / Ubuntu partitions just like windows partitions. Second type are the tools which allow to read and write EXT2 / EXT3 partitions from within windows as stand-alone explorer type utilities.
I tested four tools, two of them are Windows File System drivers to enable EXT2 / EXT3 File Read Write and other two are standalone utilities. I will review them one by one with features, merits and demerits.
EXT2 Installable File System Windows Drivers
EXT2 IFS Drivers are free for download and support reading and writing of EXT2 Partitions inside windows and are compatible with up to Windows Vista as of now. You can simply download and install the drivers in Windows, restart your computer and it will start reading Linux Ubuntu Partitions in Windows Explorer.
Some of the useful features include:
- Supports all operations you would expect: Reading and writing files, listing directories, creating, renaming, moving and deleting files or directories, querying and modifying the volume’s label.
- UTF-8 encoding.
- Files larger than 2 GBytes. (Please read the FAQ section, too.)
- Supports hash indexed (htree) directories (utilizes the so-called dir_index feature of Ext3).
- Full plug-n-play functionality. When a drive is removed, the corresponding drive letter is deleted.
- Supports use of the Windows mountvol utility to create or delete drive letters for Ext2 volumes (except on Windows NT 4.0). This is useful for scripts. (Please read the FAQ section, too.)
- A global read-only option is provided.
- File names that start with a dot "." character are treated as hidden.
The only demerit i find in these drivers is that it does not support Windows 7 as of now. Hope they will soon come up with Windows 7 compatible version of Drivers.
EXT2 FSD Windows Drivers
EXT2 FSD are essentially similar as the EXT2 IFS with added support for EXT3 partition along with EXT2 partitions support. Features of EXT2 FSD are :
- ext2/ext3 volume reading and writing
- ext3 journal replay when mounting
- various codepage: utf8, cp936, cp950
- mount point automatic assignment
- large inode size: 128, 256,
- large file size bigger than 4G
- Compatible OS: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows server 2008 (i386/amd64)
Again the limitation I find is missing support for Windows 7, you can download and install this driver from the link below.
Virtual Volumes Tool For EXT Partitions
Virtual Volumes tool is tool which will detect, read and write the EXT partitions within Windows. This tool works with Windows 7 as well. So if you have Windows 7 Installed and can’t use the above drivers, you can use this tool.
DiskInternals Linux Reader For Windows
This is another freeware tool by DiskInternals which works properly with Windows 7 and it can read and write files on EXT2 and EXT3 partitions within Windows OS.
The futures of this tool include:
- Easy explorer look like interface.
- Works under Microsoft® Windows® 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, 2003 Server, Vista.
- Supported file systems: Ext2, Ext3.
- Supported files of any size.
- Recovered files can be saved on any (including network) disks visible to the host operating system.