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I checked the couple other questions on this topic, but the solutions provided are not working in my setup.

EDIT

  • Just found out tonight the partition I thought was ext3 is actually ReiserFS
  • The ext3 tools are probably wonderful - but this is a different issue

/EDIT

Configuration:

  • Windows 7 x64 laptop with an i5 and 4GB RAM
  • 500GB hard drive formatted ext3 attached via USB

Current "solution":

  • VMware Workstation running Ubuntu 10.10
  • pass-through USB connection to VM
  • transfer files from the ext3 partition to a FAT thumb drive (also on pass-through USB connection)

Problems:

  • it's NUTTY slow (iostat shows MB r/w per second under 1, often under .5)
  • the thumb drive is only 32GB, so multiple passes are needed to move/copy data

Tools tried:

Solution hoped-for:

  • some tool (free or inexpensive being the best!) to mount the USB-housed harddrive with the ext3 partition on it natively in Windows 7

Alternative not yet tried:

  • setting-up Samba on the VM and network-sharing the pass-through-connected drive back to Windows (seems the kludgiest)

What might I be missing?

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I am using Ext2FSD which is freeware. Works great for both reading and writing.

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I use Total Commander with ext2fs plugin (it works with ext3, yes).

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I tried this and the Ext2FSD solution suggested by another answer and found this solution to be slightly better, because it does not require the installation of a driver and also no reboots. Otherwise, both solutions worked well for me on Win7 64bit. – Thomas Apr 19 '13 at 20:06
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The solution I've adopted (because I realized it's not ext3 - it's reiserfs):

Using WinSCP to copy from the VM with the pass-through USB drive.

Once I get this drive cleaned-off, it'll be getting a nice reformat :)

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