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How to read ext4 and btrfs partitions in Windows?

It's pretty easy to access all my Windows files in Ubuntu,
but now i wan't to do the opposite thing: i wan't to access my Ubuntu files from Windows.

I can't seem to find a way to do this easily, are there 'things' out there that can do this?

I'm using Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10.


The reason you can't do this natively with tools built in to Windows is because if you installed the default options of Ubuntu then your partition is formatted in the EXT4 format. Windows can't read EXT4, but there are tools which can.

Ext2Read is a pretty good tool to use. It has helped me grab files off a non-bootable linux partition in the past. http://sourceforge.net/projects/ext2read/

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  • Thanks for also explaining why Windows can't read the files on the partition used by Ubuntu – Aerus Jan 23 '11 at 10:47

This is probably the simplest most comprehensive guide you're going to get: http://lifehacker.com/5702815/the-complete-guide-to-sharing-your-data-across-multiple-operating-systems

In short:

There is a relatively pain-free Ext2/Ext3 driver for Windows called Ext2Fsd. Just download it and install it like a normal Windows program. When you get to the "Select Additional Tasks" stage, check all the necessary boxes for your setup (I chose to check all three). Once you're done, however, you'll get an error message.
To fix it, navigate to Ext2Fsd's install location (C:\Program Files\Ext2Fsd by default), right click on Ext2Mgr.exe, hit Properties, and check the "Run as Administrator" box under Compatibility. Then, double click on it to set up your drive. Double click on your Ext3 drive, click the Mount Points button, hit Add, and select a drive letter for your drive. I chose to create a permanent mount point for the drive so it's always mounted. You can choose whatever you want at this stage. Once you're done, you should be able to browse your Linux drive from Windows Explorer just as you would any other drive.

Hope that helps!

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Since, presumably you wish to access data files, another way to do this is to use an NTFS partition exclusively for data. As you note, Ubuntu natively accesses such a partition. Similarly, Windows has no trouble accessing the files either. [grin] I have used this method for some time on a dual-boot system, and use precisely the same data files with both Ubuntu and Windows.

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  • Hmm, that's interesting. If i ever plan on reconfiguring my system, i'll have to take a look at this, thanks! – Aerus Jan 23 '11 at 10:48

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