Access Linux HDD from Windows!

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Access Linux HDD from Windows!

Postby mmesantos1 on Sat Oct 11, 2008 1:21 pm

Hey all, I have found a way to access a Linux HDD from windows.
It provides Windows NT4.0/2000/XP/2003/Vista with full access to Linux Ext2 & Ext3 volumes (read access and write access). This may be useful if you have installed both Windows and Linux as a dual boot environment on your computer. This is for users who may not be aware of this. I have found it to be very usefule. I am includeing the website link for those of you who wanted this functionality but did not know how to obtain it. Here are some FAQs on Ext3 access:
The Ext3 file system is the Ext2 file system which has been extended by journaling. Ext3 is backward-compatible to Ext2 - an Ext3 volume can be mounted and used as an Ext2 volume. Just as older Linux Kernels which do not know the Ext3 file system can mount Ext3 volumes (as Ext2 volumes), the Ext2 file system driver ext2fs.sys for Windows incorporated in this software package can do it without any problems, too. Of course you do not take advantage of the journaling of the Ext3 file system if you mount it as an Ext2 file system.

If you mount an Ext3 file system as an Ext2 file system and the file system is not cleanly dismounted, (e.g. due to a system crash), you have to run the e2fsck tool. (Linux does it automatically.) Running e2fsck can take several hours on large volumes. You do not benefit from journaling the Ext3 file system, because you have to run e2fsck.

If you mount an Ext3 file system as an Ext3 file system (journaling) and the file system is not cleanly dismounted due to a system crash, things are much better: When the volume is mounted next time as an Ext3 file system, a replay of the journal will be done, after which the file system will be consistent. You need not run e2fsck. (If you run e2fsck nevertheless, it won't find any errors of the Ext3 file system, because there will not be any errors after replaying the journal.)

If a volume is mounted as Ext3 file system, any new data is first completely written into the journal, and then into the file system. This is also called a transaction. Finally, the data is removed from the journal. So a journal only contains data when you are writing to the file system. After a clean dismount of the Ext3 file system, the journal is empty.

When the Linux kernel mounts an Ext3 file system, it first checks whether the journal contains complete transactions (not written yet due to a prior crash). If there are any, it does the already mentioned replay of the journal, which means that all data of the journal is written to the file system, and any data will be removed from it. So a replay always repairs any damage caused by a prior crash.

With the described way of writing the journal and the file system's data and with a replay of the journal after a crash, consistency of the file system is always achieved. Thus, e2fsck will not find any error.

The Ext2 file system driver of the Ext2 IFS software will refuse mounting an Ext3 file system which contains data in its journal, just like older Linux kernels which have no Ext3 support. In this way data loss and damaging the file system is avoided when the journal is subsequently replayed. So you can access only those Ext3 volumes with the Ext2 IFS software which have been cleanly dismounted beforehand.

Hers is the Web Link: http://www.fs-driver.org/download.html

Here is also a link for troubleshooting: http://www.fs-driver.org/troubleshoot.html
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mmesantos1
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Re: Access Linux HDD from Windows!

Postby msuggs on Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:36 pm

I've used these drivers in Windows in the past but in the end I decided that anything that forces me to boot back into Linux quicker is a good thing :) As well I never felt entirely comfortable with Windows maintaining the integrity of my Linux data.
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Re: Access Linux HDD from Windows!

Postby mmesantos1 on Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:00 pm

omns wrote:I've used these drivers in Windows in the past but in the end I decided that anything that forces me to boot back into Linux quicker is a good thing :) As well I never felt entirely comfortable with Windows maintaining the integrity of my Linux data.


I agree booting into Linux is a good thing :D , I spend the majority of time in Linux which is why when I am in windows and there is something I downloaded or can use in Windows when I am in it is helpful to be able to copy it to Windows to quickly use. I would not be making any major changes to the Linux HDD from Windows so for me it would not be any concern. But it is good to see we agree on booting to Linux and useing it the majority of the time. :)
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Re: Access Linux HDD from Windows!

Postby pavel on Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:51 pm

i have tried it and it works fine
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