How do I Read ext2 or ext3 filesystems under Windows 2000 or XP Desktop?

by on November 24, 2005 · 10 comments· LAST UPDATED December 19, 2007

in , ,

Asked by Payal K.

Q. I would like to know - can I access Linux ext3 partitions from windows 2000 server (dual boot) or windows XP desktop, as I have tons of MP3 and video files downloaded under Linux.

A. It is true that you can easily access your Windows partitions from Linux. However with small free utility called Explore2fs you can easily access Linux ext3 or ext2 partitions too without any problem.

Does ext3 work with windows?

Short answer - Yes.

You can always get your favorite MP3/video or PDF file stored inside Linux ext3 file system. This utility works on

  • Windows 95
  • Windows 98
  • Windows ME
  • Windows NT 4.0
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Server 2003

However please note that I don't recommend to install this utility on a production Linux serer (if you have one) as it does not enforce security permission from windows operating system.One more thing before using this utility make sure you have a backup of all important data.

Download Explore2fs

=> You can download Explore2fs, the WIN32 explorer for Linux ext2fs partitions here.

Read and Write access to Linux file system from Windows

As pointed out by Anonymous user you can use Ext2 Installable File System For Windows, which provide Complete reading and writing access to files and directories of volumes with the Ext2 or Ext3 file system. You can download the software here.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous November 24, 2005 at 10:35 pm

you can even install a driver for windoze:
“Ext2 Installable File System For Windows”

with this piece of soft one can map a drive letter to a ext2/3 partition.


2 LinuxTitli November 25, 2005 at 5:33 pm

Thanks I have updated the post :)


3 Payal November 25, 2005 at 6:02 pm

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the help.

–Payal K.


4 Anonymous July 7, 2006 at 3:11 pm

The installation software from is great for win2000/winxp. I have checked the site numerous times and have found that it does not support win2003.

I am in the process of searching sites that may give me information as to whether this software will work on win2003.

If not, I will probably switch directly back to linux :)

Otherwise, I hope your statement is correct as some sites have users pointed out that win2003 server cannot install it. I will try it soon when I get around to that.


5 nixcraft July 7, 2006 at 6:20 pm

Naa it does not work with Windows 2003 :( At least last time I tried out it did not worked out for me.


6 nixcraft July 7, 2006 at 6:21 pm

Only explore2fs works with windows 2003.
See url below:

Good luck


7 oscarlive July 26, 2006 at 2:41 pm

Thanks a zillion man…

You save a BIGGG project with your suggestionss….

Keep up the good work…


8 suresh February 7, 2009 at 5:49 am

i need to mount ntfs files in red hat linux 5 can u suggest any body


9 Dado April 2, 2009 at 10:45 am

Nixcraft, I suppose your problem is that FS-driver does not support ext3 filesystems.
Explorer2FS instead works fine.


10 brovius May 5, 2009 at 5:31 pm

@ Dado: Why wouldn’t it support ext3? Ext3 is just ext2 but with journaling.
@ suresh: Try searching for the ntfs-3g project.


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