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

last updated in Categories File system, Linux, Windows, Windows server

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.


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

10 comment

  1. 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.

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

  3. Thanks a zillion man…

    You save a BIGGG project with your suggestionss….

    Keep up the good work…

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

  5. @ 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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