How to Read & Write Ext2 & Ext3 Files From Windows Vista

Written by andrea helaine
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How to Read & Write Ext2 & Ext3 Files From Windows Vista
Each operating system type, Windows, OSX and Linux use different methods to organise information on the hard drive. (hard drive interior image by Curtis Sorrentino from

EXT2 and EXT3 are two Linux file systems, which is the system used by the Linux operating system to organise files on the hard drive. Windows Vista uses the proprietary NTFS file system and cannot natively access EXT2 and 3 files systems. In order to have access to Linux files systems, you will have to install drivers in Vista to allow Windows to see them.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Windows Vista computer
  • Connected Linux hard drive

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  1. 1

    Go to and click the blue "Ext2fsd" link.

  2. 2

    Click on the 0.48 on the top of the page as of late 2010; your version number may be different.

  3. 3

    Click on "ExtFsd-X.XX.exe" (where X.XX is the version number) and save the file on your desktop.

  4. 4

    Double click on the file you just downloaded to start the installation process.

  5. 5

    Click "Next" twice in the Ext2Fsd install window.

  6. 6

    Select "Make Ext2Fsd automatically start when system boots" if you want the driver to load when the operating system starts.

  7. 7

    Select "Enable write support for Ext2 partitions" if you want to be able to write in the Linux partition. You can always read the partition with the option chosen here.

  8. 8

    Select "Enable force writing Ext 3 partitions" if you want to be able to write on Ext3 partitions.

  9. 9

    Click "Next" to finish the installation process.

  10. 10

    Reboot the computer when prompted.

  11. 11

    Go to the "Start" menu and select "All Programs," then "Ext2Fsd" and then "Ext2Fsd Volume Manager." Your Linux partitions will be visible with their Ext2 or Ext3 labels.

  12. 12

    Double click on the partition you want to mount and assign it a letter to be able to access it from Windows.

  13. 13

    Go to "Start" and click on "Computer" to have access to the Ext2 or 3 partition(s).

Tips and warnings

  • You can choose any free letter you want.
  • Writing on Linux partitions can be dangerous as the driver does not update the journal entry of the partition. After writing on a Ext3 partition you might be required to let the Linux operating system check the partition next time you access the drive from Linux.
  • When you have several hard drives with Ext partitions, do not use the same letter to mount them even if you do not mount them at the same time. Choosing the same letter could confuse Windows and produce writing errors on the drive.

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