How to access EXT file systems of Linux on a Windows 10/8/7 computer

If you are a geek, you might already know there are different file systems available to store files and you should choose the one for you depending upon the operating system you are using and your specific requirements. However most Windows users already know about the NTFS file system, as they often come across it, and it is Microsoft’s proprietary journaling file system which has significant improvements over the FAT32 file system, which is the generic file system supported by almost every device. Talking about the Linux-based systems, NTFS isn’t the default file system, EXT2, EXT3, EXT4, XFS file systems that are generally used.

I am not discussing the advantages of the EXT file system over the NTFS file system and vice versa, but EXT file format is not supported on Windows natively. However, there are a number of ways you can access EXT files system on your Windows computer instead of going through the hassles of installing a Linux distro on your computer or find a Linux computer to see the contents of a drive in a drive based on EXT file format. There are different ways you can access an EXT file system on Windows, and I will discuss the most convenient one here.

So without any further delay, let’s get started with the different ways you can access EXT formatted drives on Windows.

The steps for using Ext2Fsd

Getting access to the files right from the Windows 10/8/7 Explorer is the most convenient thing ever. With Ext2Fsd, you can do just that. Ext2Fsd is a free program and the installation process is not difficult, as well. So let’s find out how you can use Ext2Fsd to access files on an EXT file system using the program.

Download and install Ext2Fsd on your Windows computer, just the same way you install other programs. 

At the time of installing Ext2Fsd, just make sure that you configure the program to run on startup and enable writing permissions on EXT file systems.


Besides that, make sure that you are allowing Ext2Fsd to assign letters to drives formatted in the EXT file system.

EXT partitions on Windows 10/8/7 EXT on Windows 2

Once the installation is complete, insert the drive formatted in EXT file format, if not already inserted and open ‘Ext2 Volume Manager’, from the start menu.

Ext2 Volume Manager

Now, you will find a list of all the drives connected to your system including those that are formatted in other natively supported file systems like NTFS, FAT32, etc.

list of all the drives connected ext file system

Just right click on the appropriate this format in the next file format comma and click on the option that says ‘Assign Drive Letter’.

ext file system on Windows Assign Drive Letter’

Once a drive letter is assigned, you should find it in the Window Explorer.

EXT on Window Explorer

Just in case, it doesn’t appear in your Windows Explorer, right-click on the EXT volume in Ext2Fsd, and click on ‘Service Management’.

right-click on the EXT volume in Ext2Fsd

Just make sure, the service is started, else click on ‘Start’ to start the service. You can even change the settings as per your requirements to be able to write to EXT file systems and many more.

Access EXT file systems on Windows 10/8/7

The following should work on all Windows computers no matter which version of Windows you are using. However, writing to EXT file systems from a Windows computer is not recommended unless you have no other option, as it might lead to errors and might break the stability of your Linux System if it is used to boot a computer. You can simply copy or move the files to your hard drive or flash drive, as an alternative.

Besides this, you can even use DiskInternals Linux Reader and Ext2explore. You can even use them, but I will not recommend them as they are not as convenient as Ext2Fsd. You can open the files on EXT volumes using those programs, but there is no way to write files to Linux file systems using DiskInternals Linux Reader or Ext2explore. Besides that, DiskInternals Linux Reader isn’t free as well. It comes to the limited time trial after which you will have to get a license. 

So that was all about how you can access EXT based Linux file Systems on your Windows computer. Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment on the same below.

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  1. Arlo Camera Offline August 20, 2019

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