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My Linux machine crashed, but all the files are backed up on a USB-based external drive. Problem is, it's an ext2 file system, so my other machine, which is a Windows XP machine, cannot read it (it says that it's unformatted).

After reading How to read external USB hard drive formatted ext3 from Windows 7? , I tried Ext2 IFS, but it didn't work because:

C:\download>mountdiag.exe E:
The volume has an Ext2/Ext3 file system, but the Ext2 IFS 1.11 software did not
mount it because there is at least one incompat feature flag set. The Ext2
IFS software does not implement:
* needs_recovery *
Here we have an Ext3 file system which has transactions left in its journal. A
pure Ext2 driver must not access such a volume which is in that state (to
prevent data loss!).
You may solve it by mounting it on Linux (which has a kernel with Ext3
support). Be sure that you cleanly dismount it, before you shutdown Linux.
After that the Ext2 IFS software should be able to access the volume.
The volume has an Ext2/Ext3 file system, but the Ext2 IFS 1.11 software did not
mount it because the file system has an inode size unequal to 128 bytes (inode
size: 256 bytes).
The only way to solve it is to back up the volume's files and format the file
system: give the mkfs.ext3 utility the -I 128 switch. Finally, restore all
backed-up files.
After that, the Ext2 IFS software should be able to access the volume.

Of course I don't want to format my backup drive.

I installed coLinux, and it runs, but I have no idea how to access the external drive from it.

Any other options?

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Boot from a Linux Live CD (e.g. Knoppix or Ubuntu) on your Windows machine, and attach the external drive. Most of those Live systems (Knoppix for sure out-of-the-box) can deal with Ext2FS (naturally) and NTFS read/write. So you can copy the data to your NTFS partition from the running live system.

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Use a linux live cd and mount both hard drives, and copy them across. A rescue disk or one of the operating systems would do... small download for SystemRescueCD or Parted Magic...

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