Linux and Windows operating systems have different architecture and their file system structure is different. Linux supports a variety of file systems i.e HFS, EXT, BRTFS, etc. It can also read NTFS partitions.
Most Linux distros can read and mount NTFS partitions but they don’t provide an option to select an NTFS partition for the home and root directory during the installation process.
Windows OS doesn’t support Linux partitions nor it has a built-in functionality to mount Linux partitions. It supports FAT and NT file systems only.
How to access Linux partitions in Windows?
There are several tools that allow you to mount EXT partitions in Windows OS. Tools that I find reliable and worth installing are Disk Internals Linux Reader and Ext2Fsd.
Ext2Fsd is is a free tool from Beijing based firm NormalSoft. It is available for download on SourceForge. Once you install this program, the program will ask you to restart the PC.
Ext2Fsd program’s interface is simple and intuitive. It displays the list of partitions and their size, volume, type, etc in a table. To mount the partition, the user must click on the volume label from the click on the “Mount” button.
Ext2FSD enables you to change the Drive volume label. It has the option to flush Cache to disk and remove dead drive letters.
You can configure Ext2Fsd to start when Windows OS starts. Ext2Fsd lets you move files from Win to Linux operating systems.
DiskInternal Linux Reader
I’ve tried the Ext2Fsd program before installing Disk Reader. The tool recognized EXT3, EXT4, and EXT2 partitions but it failed to mount them.
Did I run Ext2Fsd as an administrator?
Yes, I did. I also restarted the PC after installing Ext2Fsd
Disk Reader is a free program that offers a graphical user interface for managing files on Linux partitions from the Windows OS. DiskInternals is easy to use. When you install and run it, DiskInternals Linux Reader will run a quick operation to find EXT, FAT or NTFS drives on the storage hardware. Once it identifies the partitions, Linux Reader will open its main interface.
The interface boasts a list of drives, a beautiful menu bar, and a toolbar. To open a partition, double-click on its icon/name. That’s it!
Linux Reader’s main interface flaunts a preview window that lets you see the contents of a file. It allows you to batch move files from the Linux distro to Windows. The program provides a drag and drop interface for the same.
Linux Reader comes with a search utility. If you’re unable to find the file, you can use this feature of LR to locate the file.
LR has helped me transfer 4+ GB files from the Ext4 partition to NTFS. The program works like a charm. It is fast and powerful.
Why I’ve recommended just 2 programs?
I was planning to suggest three programs. The tool which I didn’t mention in this article crashed the operating system. I had to reset the OS to get it working once again. Although Ext2Fsd didn’t mount EXT partitions on my PC, it is a widely used program. Linux Reader is the best alternative to Ext2Fsd.