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Is there a way to read ext4 partitions from Windows? If so, what can I do?

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    Try Linux Reader by Diskinternals, it's the best tool I have found that really works well. Unlike Ext2Fsd, Ext2Read or Ext4Explorer which don't even give you basic information like how many files you have when you open up a folder. – Samir May 24 '13 at 17:24
83

Ext2Read works well. It can also open & read disk images ( eg: Wubi disk images)

Ext2Read is an explorer like utility to explore ext2/ext3/ext4 files. It now supports LVM2 and EXT4 extents. It can be used to view and copy files and folders. It can recursively copy entire folders. It can also be used to view and copy disk and file

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    There are several reviews on the site of users complaining about virus infection. Ad-Aware reported it as infected to me. I'll do some more testing on my side and report this to project's mailing list. As for the report, it seems that Anubis is down at the moment. The PDF version of the report is here. It clearly shows where the virus is poking. – AndrejaKo Sep 13 '10 at 17:47
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    Here are results of VirusTotal and Anubis (from a clean system). To me it looks like it's poking around in registry where is shouldn't be poking around. – AndrejaKo Sep 13 '10 at 18:11
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    On the other hand here are VirusTotal results for previous version and Anubis results for previous version. The poking around the registry could come form the crash. I'm still not sure what to make of it. – AndrejaKo Sep 13 '10 at 22:47
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    It doesn't support removable devices. Try putting a SD card with an Ext4 partition on it inside a SD card reader and try reading it with this software. It won't work. It only supports internal HDD devices. For external and removable, get Linux Reader by Diskinternals. – Samir May 24 '13 at 16:35
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    Newest release of ext2read/ext2explore is also infected so be careful while downloading this software. Take a look at this VirusTotal report – JNLK Dec 15 '16 at 12:33
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DiskInternals Linux Reader

This program plays the role of a bridge between your Windows and Ext2/Ext3/Ext4, HFS and ReiserFS file systems.

Linux Reader Website

Features

  1. Integrated with Windows Explorer
  2. Reader for Ext2/3/4, ReiserFS, Reiser4, HFS, HFS+, FAT, exFAT, NTFS, ReFS, UFS2
  3. Can create and open disk images
  4. Freeware

enter image description here

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    This does work to browse even large partitions of 500GB on an MBR partitioned disk, including ext4. However it's only a recovery (copy to another partition) tool, with preview of files but no way to open them. – RichVel Apr 30 '15 at 6:13
  • Looks like we can only read files this way. We can not copy new files to ext4 drive thi way – Jeegar Patel Mar 19 '18 at 19:10
  • Didn't work for me for a SD-card, ext2read did though. – Lennart Apr 14 '18 at 17:16
40

EXT2FSD works for reading ext4 filesystems, though not all of ext4's capabilities are supported.

After installing set a letter to each Linux drive (see screen-shot) and then restart the application. After that Windows Explorer will show the Linux partitions as any other partition.

setting a letter to a Linux drive

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    I wanted to recommend the same app, but I was put off by the comments. If it worked for you, edit your response to let the OP know it works. Positive feedback on an app is important. – alex Sep 8 '09 at 6:15
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    It apparently works if the ext4 was created without the extent option. See soluvas.com/… – harrymc Nov 15 '09 at 8:37
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    I just tried the Ext2Fsd 0.52 release on Win8.1 and it was easy to setup (run installer with default options), I can read my files with Windows Explorer and other existing applications (no special app required), and it reads my external USB disk (that has ext4 and NTFS). I am using it for read-only use (there's an option in the installer to enable writing and force writing). – idbrii Aug 4 '14 at 17:49
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    In Windows 7: I see no features missing in ext4. All options available in the Windows Explorer. -- what ext4 capabilities are you referring to? – user162573 Mar 8 '16 at 20:17
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    Tried on Windows 10: Easy to install (avoiding the hindrances-warnings of windows). I could easily mount ext3 and ext4 partitions of Ubuntu 14.04 to both read and write. Just smooth. Great job. – loved.by.Jesus Sep 4 '16 at 17:13
27

There is now another solution: Paragon ExtFS for Windows, which acts as a file system driver and so you don't need to use a specialized program to access your files.

From the website:

  • Fast and easy read/write access to Ext2 / Ext3 / Ext4 under Windows
  • The only solution with Ext4 read - write support!
  • Easy-to-install and supports Windows 8 / 7 / Vista / XP

edit 2015-04-06 you might want to stick to read files off Linux - there have been anecdotal reports of file system corruptions when writing files to ext4 partitions using Paragon

  • I had never seen it before, but seems solid. I'm testing it now. – Paulo Coghi Jun 12 '14 at 13:53
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    Or so I thought before getting my partition corrupted. Apparently I'm not the only one. hecticgeek.com/2014/02/extfs-windows-corrupts-ext4-windows-8 – Alicia Apr 1 '15 at 18:32
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    Note that this software is for personal use only. – starbeamrainbowlabs Sep 24 '15 at 18:46
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    Just used it, I did set to "read-only", but still got the disk corruption. Going back to ext2fs, take extreme care when using this. – Adversus Nov 4 '16 at 8:50
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    @Adversus knows whats up. Do not use this. I too suffered disk corruption and trying to help them out by providing logs and such yielded one of the worst support conversations I have ever had. – Ian Schoonover Mar 26 '17 at 20:28
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Well not really a solution, but I use VirtualBox, use it as a bridge.

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    In windows add a raw disk, install a linux guest OS, add a shared folder, then you can read/write ext4 in virtualBox. – Kaizoku Dec 24 '09 at 14:10
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    how would one add a raw disk? – Babu May 17 '10 at 5:33
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    elaboration of the answer would help – Anwar Dec 9 '14 at 13:08
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    @Anwar Lifehacker has a tutorial on this, see lifehacker.com/how-to-dual-boot-and-virtualize-the-same-partition-on-y-493223329 – Ragnar123 Jul 21 '15 at 11:49
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    VirtualBox's documentation on raw disks: virtualbox.org/manual/ch09.html#rawdisk – user29225 Oct 13 '15 at 7:53
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ext4explorer

Ext4Explore is a program that allows Linux partitions to be browsed from Microsoft Windows. It has a GUI which will be familiar to users of Windows Explorer.

Ext4Explore Web Site

Features

  1. Displays Windows Icons
  2. Symbolic Links Displayed with 'Shortcut' Overlay
  3. Follows Symbolic Links and Displays Correct File Information
  4. Copy Files and Directories
  5. Configurable Edit Context Menu Option

enter image description here

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    It doesn't support EFI partitions! – user2284570 Sep 9 '14 at 20:38
  • I tried the latest version with Windows 10 and a USB with a ext4 formatted partition. The program only reported "No linux partitions found." I guess Windows 10 is a at present. – will Oct 2 '18 at 2:42
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If you want to dual boot Ubuntu (or any Linux-based OS) with Windows and read ext3/ext4 filesystem, you can use Ext2FSD. Although you may need to take special steps as explained below.

I’ve successfully used Ext2fsd on Windows 7 to read my ext4 (!) filesystem this way.

For those interested, more detailed how-to is here: Read ext3/ext4 Partition from Windows 7:

Originally Posted by berm0o0da on August 29, 2010 :

The newest version of Ext2Read open source software can read normal Ext4 filesystems from Windows, even with ‘extents’ feature bit enabled! Please share your experience with this software in the comments.

enter image description here

If you use Windows 7 and want to dual-boot Ubuntu (or another Linux-based operating system), you’ll want to be able to read Ubuntu files from Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

From Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10 ext4 filesystem uses by default, and previous versions use ext3 and ext2 filesystems. There are several good options to read and write ext2 filesystems from Windows systems, but ext3 or ext4 support is an entirely different scenario.

enter image description here

I tried three different software to read my ext4 partition: Ext2fsd, Ext2IFS, andDiskInternal Linux Reader. Ext2IFS fails to mount my ext4 partition due to unknown feature bit AND because my partition has inode size of 256 (Ext2IFS only supports inode size 128). DiskInternal Linux Reader apparently tries to scan my harddisk forever.

With Ext2fsd, I’ve successfully accessed my ext4 filesystem from Windows 7. Here I’ll show you the steps to make it happen:

  1. When creating/formatting the ext4 filesystem, make sure to add -O ^extent which means disabling the “extent” feature bit. The following steps will not work if your ext4 filesystem still has “extent” feature enabled. ext2 and ext3 partitions should be fine.
  2. Download ext2fsd here.

  3. Right-click the downloaded file and click Properties. Set the compatibility mode to “Windows Vista Service Pack 2″ and check “Run as administrator”.

  4. Run the ext2fsd installer. During install, I recommend you uncheck the “enable write access” feature to safeguard against losing data in your Linux partitions.
  5. Restart Windows 7.
  6. Run the Ext2 Volume Manager from Start Menu.

Now you should be able to mount your Linux ext2/ext3/ext4 partitions from Windows 7 and read the files without any trouble.

These steps should also work on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP, only that you will not need to enable compatibility mode (step 3).

note : You should run this program as an administrator. Use it and enjoy 😉

Hope this helps!

  • 7
    Not found! a 404 error – Anwar Dec 9 '14 at 13:10
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    Everything is fixed now. I added the explanation from the downed weblog so even if the archived version goes away, everything stays on SO! – Breeze Jan 19 at 8:24

protected by Jeff Atwood Jul 15 '10 at 21:36

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