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How To Access Your Linux Partitions From Windows

By gerardmcgarry on 16th February 2007, filed in Linux. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed. Tags: , , ,

Since I’ve been mucking around with Kubuntu, it’s been bugging me that I can’t get at Kubuntu files from Windows XP (I’m dual booting, BTW).

I decided to take the bull by the horns, and this evening decided to do a little digging around the subject. As with all things Open Source, there’s more than one way to skin this particular cat, and a quick search reveals a number of utilities claiming to be of use accessing Linux partitions from various versions of Windows.

After looking at a few different utils, I decided to settle on Ext2 IFS for Windows, which is a small but nifty tool that allows you read and write access to your Linux drives. A lot of tools only offer read access, which is great but a bit limiting if you need to edit a file stored on Linux.

It also allows you to assign a drive letter to the Linux partition so that you can easily identify the partition, access it through Windows Explorer and all your standard Windows programs:

It installs a pure kernel mode file system driver Ext2fs.sys, which actually extends the Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 operating system to include the Ext2 file system. Since it is executed on the same software layer at the Windows NT operating system core like all of the native file system drivers of Windows (for instance NTFS, FASTFAT, or CDFS for Joliet/ISO CD-ROMs), all applications can access directly to Ext2 volumes. Ext2 volumes get drive letters (for instance G:). Files, and directories of an Ext2 volume appear in file dialogs of all applications. There is no need to copy files from or to Ext2 volumes in order to work with them.

The best bit of this utility? It doesn’t even require a reboot!

The beauty of this is that I can now access my Windows network from within Kubuntu and I can also access my Linux directories from Windows, which means the cost and risk of running Kubuntu is reduced further. If you’re teetering on the edge of running Linux, give this a go.

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