Sunday, October 23, 2005

Accessing Ext2/Ext3 Filesystems on Windows

If you understand the title, then you should read on:)

Just found a program, Ext2fsd, that can read/write ext2/ext3 on Windows. Seems pretty stable. I tried playing a video file in Windows from the ext3 drive (USB2.0 external drive lagi) and there's no major issues, now copying 4G worth of files from the drive to another Windows machine. Seems ok as well. After you've installed the software, you wont get any GUI to do the dirty job though. You need to whip out a command prompt (if you're still reading, this probably didnt scare you anyway).

Before we talk about mounting, you gotta know the drive/partition convention this program uses, which ala grub style. Drives starts counting from 0 and partitions start from 1. Hence drive 1 partion 2 will be "0 2"

To mount a drive, type:

mount DriveNumber PartitionNumber VolumeLetter:

for example, drive 2, partition 2 to be mounted as E drive:

mount 1 2 e:

To unmount:
mount /unmount e:

The cool thing is you can also use this command on Windows drives (which i accidentally did while finding out which was my Linux partitions. Hahaha)

Now, why is this useful? Well if you have an external drive that you wanna access via Linux/Windows and by access, I mean reading/writing, your options are a lot. Worse if you have an OBD (obscenely big drive). I found this out through the tough way. The most straight forward FS would be Fat32 but Fat32 partitions has size limitation of 32G and I had a 120G drive. I wanted to use this drive to archive stuff from Linux/Windows system. Of course, if you have a Mac, apparently taht's not an issue as you can use your Mac to format it in Fat32 with no size limitation. Unfortunately, there was a slight problem with the drive I formatted, the directories created in a Mac-created Fat32 partition is not case-sensitive, which is a big no-no for archiving stuff from Linux systems. So, in a moment of desparation, I just formatted the OBD as ext3 and left the Windows Part till later. I started adding lots of files on it and was too lazy to reformat the partition anymore. So, ext2fsd saved my life. So I could spend more time watching Desperate Housewives:P

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