Basically the same asHow to read ext4 partitions on Windows ?.
As I wanted to enjoy btrfs features such as transparent compression or auto defragmentation, I installed my Linux system on a btrfs subvolume.
I tried ᴜꜰꜱ explorer, but it is unable to read most of my files.

So how to retrieve my Linux music files without having to reboot ?

I only want read access, not writing any bytes on the filesystem (my Linux system being currently suspended on disk).
A better option would being able to export directories as a tar archive in order to keep permission and attributes.

  • VirtualBox with a linux liveCD, share the drives via samba? Or maybe DiskInternals LinuxReader might support btrfs by now (diskinternals.com/linux-reader) – Toby Jun 7 '16 at 12:26
  • @Toby :DiskInternals LinuxReadercan’t access btrfs subvolumes. And Virtualbox can’t be used to access physical drives on Windows. – user2284570 Jun 7 '16 at 12:28
  • Ah hmmm, just a quick thought! – Toby Jun 7 '16 at 12:35
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    @Toby : you can still upvote it. – user2284570 Jun 7 '16 at 12:41


Just because this thread comes up in Google, I would like to echo noctrex's answer in recommending WinBtrfs (GitHub), an experimental Windows Btrfs driver. Among its other features, it supports:

  • Reading and writing of Btrfs filesystems
  • Basic RAID: RAID0, RAID1, and RAID10
  • Advanced RAID: RAID5 and RAID6
  • Getting and setting of Access Control Lists (ACLs), using the xattr security.NTACL
  • Hard links
  • Sparse files
  • zlib compression
  • LZO compression

You can choose to mount it read-only after installation by modifying the registry entries in HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\btrfs, and I've found it to be very stable (if a bit slow) even with six mounted Btrfs partitions and very frequent reads from one of them.

It does support writes to the disk, but as the software is still in development (and comes with the important disclaimer that "YOU USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK. I take NO RESPONSIBILITY for any damage it may do to your filesystem. DO NOT USE THIS DRIVER UNLESS YOU HAVE FULL AND UP-TO-DATE BACKUPS OF ALL YOUR DATA"), it's probably inadvisable to not mount it read-only. (Unfortunately, by default it mounts with writes enabled, so you do have to go into the registry and change that. You should definitely have backups, in any case.)

Unfortunately, as the program is currently an unsigned driver, installation also requires enabling test signing by running "bcdedit -set TESTSIGNING ON" in the command prompt (followed by rebooting, right clicking on btrfs.inf from the WinBtrfs download, and clicking install). The GitHub page has full installation instructions.

  • 3
    I don't want to be pesimistic, but BEWARE, I was testing winBTRFS, and some minutes updating some games on Steam and on Battle.net led when I finished playing and back to linux to a severe corruption state: Corrupted leafs, slow performance and finally even it could not be mounted. Seems that some heavy disk usage makes corruption. (Had a backup!). no subvolumes, no raid, no compression, just default values for both linux and windows. Seems read only is safe but caution on writes. – StormByte Aug 18 '19 at 2:18

In VBOX you can create a virtual disk device pointing to the raw disk device. You can also do this with VMWARE with an online vm creator or workstation trial then use vmware free player and of course you can do this in HyperV for free.


It will be interesting to see if driver support comes to Linux on Windows...


  • 1
    I said in Windows, not on a Linux machine. – user2284570 Dec 21 '16 at 20:08
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    Well from your post it seemed like you needed access to something important on a btrfs system. Although using linus in a vm, technically you are running that vm on windows and would not have to reboot so techically it is still a viable option. You should edit your post to state that you want a "Transparent btrfs system driver" in which case I would contact Paragon Software. They have hfs+ ext3 ext4 drivers for windows and ntfs ext3 ext4 drivers for mac. If anyone is working on a driver it would be them. – Dan Shiskin Dec 21 '16 at 20:16
  • In fact, I already have a Linux system, my aim is getting those files on my Windows desktop. The alternative would be a read only application. I don’t need to mount the filesystem. – user2284570 Dec 21 '16 at 22:23

Maybe try the following:


  • 4
    Please read How do I recommend software for some tips as to how you should go about recommending software. You should provide at least a link, some additional information about the software itself, and how it can be used to solve the problem in the question. – DavidPostill Jul 7 '17 at 12:53

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