We have all worked with Windows at some time . It is the operating system par excellence of computers. However, the passage of the years has been in favor of free developments, as is the case with Linux. Although its followers number in the tens of thousands, Windows is still the leader. Despite the incompatibilities with the rest of the systems, since we cannot read the EXT format in Windows.
In terms of storage, Windows is also very present. Its NTFS and even FAT32 formats are the order of the day. However, there are many that use other operating systems, with which Microsoft’s is not usually compatible. The most direct case is that of Mac, whose storage units are not in harmony.
But not only those of Apple are far from being according to Windows, but hard drives with Linux format cannot be read in Windows either. The distributions of this free operating system have formats such as EXT2, EXT3 or ETX4, among others. From less to more, these options have been improved to add better records or increase the storage limit.
But again, the problem lies in compatibility. If we want to use these Linux hard drives in Windows, we cannot do it just by connecting them to our computer. And that Linux is one of the safest and most up-to-date operating systems.
We must use the perfect software for this, so we have to know the best programs to take advantage of EXT drives in Windows. If we work with Windows and Linux together, these programs are a great solution.
How to read and write EXT drives in Windows
First of all, the most important thing is to know if our Linux unit has an EXT2, EXT3 or EXT4 format . If checking it in the properties of this, from a computer, reaffirms this configuration, we can use one of the following programs to read it in Windows.
Our first selected tool is free and one of the most interesting. We do not define it as a program, since it is not as such. Rather, it is a component that is installed on our computer and that allows us to read and write to drives with EXT2, EXT3 and EXT4 format almost natively.
Its latest version, 0.69, added support for the recent EXT4 drives , so that virtually all Linux drives will be compatible with Windows thanks to this feature. Thus, it is possible to read and write all the data on these types of storage devices and even start them from the Windows computer as soon as they are connected, as if they were Microsoft’s own formats.
We can download the tool from the developer’s official website .
With this program, its creator just wanted to make it easier to read and download the data from our Linux drives in Windows. It is a free source code tool and its developer has allowed an important advantage over the rest: it is portable .
To start it, we only need to download the code files and the executable. The latter must be in the same folder as the rest of the files. We must start the program with administrator permissions and, once we have done so, the system will recognize all EXT units connected to Windows.
We can download the program from the developer’s official blog .
Linux File Systems for Windows
Paragon’s development as a solution to storage compatibility issues is always up to the task. In this case, its tool is the best on the list, with very intuitive and powerful features that will allow us to read Linux EXT drives in our Windows.
The process is, as always, very simple. We just have to install the program and, by connecting any drive with EXT2, EXT3 or EXT4 format (even Btrfs or XFS, two other Linux formats), we will be able to read or write all the data in them that we want.
The only downside is that it has a 10-day free trial that, when finished, will reduce the reading and writing speed drastically. This can be saved by purchasing a license, but it is not essential.
It is available on the official Paragon website .
The last tool we analyze is that of DiskInternals. With Linux Reader we can work not only with Linux drives on Windows, but it also supports ReiserFS, Reiser4, HFS, HFS +, FAT, exFAT, NTFS, ReFS and UFS2.
The main problem is that it is a solution for read only and data export. That is, we can read the content of a unit with these formats and even save what we want on our computer. But it is not possible to write new data about it.
We can download the free version from here . It also has a paid version with better features.
To speak of UFSExplorer is to make it of a very complete tool. It not only works with EXT2, EXT3 and EXT4 to read them on Windows, but also supports Mac storage formats and more.
However, it is a program that only allows us to access the Linux drive in Windows and export its files, without write permissions.
It has a free version and a paid version and we can download it from here .
We are now talking about a program very similar to what Windows File Explorer can be, with the peculiarity that it is capable of reading hard disk partitions and file systems that are in EXT2 AND EXT3, so it will be especially useful if we have a dual boot system with Linux and Windows. It can be run on all versions of Microsoft’s operating system, and it also has the ability to read ReiserS alongside other file systems. We must also bear in mind that the program is limited exclusively to reading files, not being possible to write on them, but we can execute files, copy them and export them. In addition, it has large disk and file support and is available in English only.
We can download Explore2fs from this link .
Ext2 for Windows
This tool will provide us with full access to Linux Ext2 volumes on which we can read and write, so it can be useful if we have Windows and Linux installed within a dual boot environment on our PC. What it does is install a kernel-mode file system driver called Ext2fs.sys, which takes care of spreading through the operating system to include the Ext2 file system. Since it runs within the same software layer in Windows as in all system controllers (NTFS, FASTFAT, CDFS, etc.) it allows direct access to volumes with Ext2.
Ext2 for Windows can be downloaded from here .
Is it safe to open Linux disks in Windows?
Of course, the support for EXT units in Windows is not official, it is achieved based on drivers created by other users, or by companies, for that purpose. And when the data on our hard drives is at stake, we must always be very careful.
Unlike the opposite case (that is, when opening NTFS from Linux), accessing the Linux EXT 2, EXT3 and EXT4 drives from Windows does not usually give problems. Neither in reading nor in writing. Therefore, the data is not usually at risk. However, we can be even more sure if instead of writing to the disk (that is, saving data), we only read the information that is stored on it. Where there are usually more problems is in the scriptures, so, in this way, there will be no problems.