I have two questions on ext4:
- Is there currently a way to mount an ext4 partition in Windows (XP/Vista/7) to get basic read support?
- If not, are there any plans to support this someday?
There was a utility called ext2read to browse Ext partitions in Windows (including Ext4 partitions) which may not work anymore as mentioned in the comment below by @heynnema and could corrupt your partitions.
The project isn't updated since 2012
ext4 has some support through the older ext2* projects. btrfs has no current Windows support. New filesystems are always going to have a period where there's no support on another operating system and, frankly, that's going to suck.
It should also be mentioned that projects that try to read the filesystem into another system are always going to give you an increased risk of noshing up your partition.
So with that in mind, there is one solution that would take perhaps 30 minutes to an hour to set up that would give you near-native speed, any Linux partition support and would be just as safe (or very close to) as mounting it from Linux: Virtualise!
Yeah I'm suggesting you give up 300megs of RAM and a gig of disk space to run Ubuntu Server from within Windows. Most modern virtualisation systems like Virtualbox and VMWare allow you to pass the VM an entire disk or partition so that's what you'd do. Mount it from within virtual-ubuntu, install samba, share the ubuntu-mounted disks and mount the shares from within Windows.
It sounds like a lot of overhead but Ubuntu server is pretty slick and it won't need much in the way of resources. Once installed, you could probably get away with 150megs of RAM for it.
If you're talking about a dual-boot system, Windows cannot natively read Linux-formated partitions. Therefore, you have two options.
Create a NTFS partition that will hold the files that you wish to be accessible from both Windows and Ubuntu, and store your files there.
This is the recommended, safe solution.
Software is available for Windows that allows you to read and write to Linux partitions, to some extent.
One example of such software is Ext2Fsd. Ext2Fsd has limited EXT4 support. By default, it will load the filesystems in read-only mode, but you can enable read-write mode if you really want to. This is, however, not recommended.
Note that these features of the fourth extended filesystem are unsuported:
Extended Attributes: ACL support
Note: an error may be displayed after installing Ext2Fsd; the application still works.
After installation, restart your computer and open Ext2 Volume Manager from the Start menu.
This is where you assign or change the drive letters for your Linux partitions, mount and unmount them, or perform other operations.
If you want to enable write support for an EXT4 filesystem, select
Ext2 Management, uncheck the
Mount volume in readonly mode box and then click Apply.
You can also select if you want your Linux partition to be automatically mounted on startup (you shouldn't use this option for USB drives and removable media).
Note: this solution is far from perfect and data corruption may occur on your Linux partition. Use this at your own risk!
To read ext4 you can use Ext2Fsd. It's a driver for Windows. The name suggest that it only work with ext2 and the site say that it work with ext2 and ext3 but last versions support ext4 too.
An alternative is to install CoLinux on the windows machine and set it up with a minimal system (enough to mount the filesystem in question) and Samba. Then just mount your FS, and share it to windows. Not exactly elegant, but works nicely and doesn't risk filesystem corruption due to faulty drivers.
If a CoLinux install from scratch is too much hassle, try AndLinux, which is CoLinux with an OS already good to go out of the box. Installs in twenty minutes. You'll still need to set up the mounting, but the filesystem shares should already be good to go.
You can install Linux in a virtual machine then bind the physical drives or partitions directly to it. Then set up the machine to be accessible over Samba/CIFS and map the shares to drive letters in Windows Explorer.
There is a guide for doing this in VirtualBox.
That's probably the simplest way and should work transparently after setup correctly. It should work with any filesystem that Linux supports and not have to much around with horribly out of date (and possibly unstable) 3rd party utils.
With some work you might even be able to make your entire main Linux distro bootable from within Windows.
You can use ex2explore for accessing ubuntu file from windows
Via a network or locally? If it is from other computers on the network, then you will probably want to configure Samba on your Ubuntu computer.
If you are dual booting the computer and want to access Ubuntu from Windows, you could try ext2read. I haven't tested it, but it apparently supports most standard Linux file systems.
The other option is to boot off a live CD / USB stick. Then you will be able to copy the files off to another location. Maybe another USB device or network location.