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I have an external USB drive that has two partitions - one FAT32, the other ext4. My machine runs Fedora 17, and I run Windows 7 as a guest under VirtualBox.

If I just plug in the external drive, it is recognized by Fedora and both partitions are mounted.

However, if I want to access the drive via the Windows guest, I can only select the drive from the VirtualBox->Devices->USB menu, and while the FAT32 partitions is then available to Windows, the ext4 partition is still unmounted from the host.

Is it possible to have the ext4 stay mounted on the host system?

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you can do this using shared folder , on Fedora the USB will be accessible as any device, and on your Windows 7 , it will be accessed as a shared folder. Check this for more infos : Making a shared folder between host and guest on VirtualBox

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