Open linux partitions on windows

How to Access Linux Partitions in Windows

For those who need access to both operating systems

If you have a Linux distribution sitting alongside Windows on your PC, you’ll have no problem accessing your Windows drive. NTFS, the default Windows file system, is well supported, and most Linux distros will be able to mount NTFS drives with ease.

The same can’t be said for Windows users, however. Common Linux file systems like Ext4 aren’t supported. If you want to access Linux partitions in Windows, you’ll need to install some additional software to do the job.

Choosing The Right Software for Linux Partitions

There are several software options for Windows users looking to access their files on Linux. For many years, Ext2Fsd has been the go-to option, allowing you to read and write to your Linux file systems within Windows itself.

Unfortunately, Ext2Fsd hasn’t been updated since 2017, and the penultimate release, 0.68, had a “critical bug” that could corrupt your data on Ext4 drives with 64-bit mode enabled. The site for Ext2Fsd has gone down, and it’s unclear whether Ext2Fsd 0.69 fixed this bug.

It’s still an option if you need write access to your Linux drive, but given the risks, it isn’t our main recommendation if you have a 64-bit Ext4 Linux partition. Make sure you back up any critical data first and use only the most recent, 0.69 release of Ext2Fsd.

As an alternative, we recommend DiskInternals Linux Reader. It lets you access files from the most common Linux file systems. Unlike Ext2fs, it doesn’t do this through Windows Explorer, but through its own file manager. It’s also free for you to use.

It won’t let you write files to your Linux drive directly, but you can save any files you need to edit to your Windows drive. A similar, open-source alternative, Ext2read, is also available for you to use, with many of the same features. You don’t need to install Ext2read, as it comes as a portable .exe file.

Using DiskInternals Linux Reader

DiskInternals Linux Reader is freeware, so you don’t have to pay to download and use it.

To begin, you’ll need to download the Linux Reader installer. Open the installer, accept the terms, confirm your installation location and click Install.

Once the installation is complete, make sure the Run DiskInternals Linux Reader checkbox is checked, and then click Finish.

The Linux Reader client is well designed and has some similarities in design to the Windows File Explorer. You’ll see a list of your drives, including any removable storage like USB flash drives or SD cards.

Find your Linux partition, under either Hard Disk Drives or Drives with Removable Storage.

You can either double-click to view your files, or right-click and select Open Partition from the drop-down menu instead.

You’ll see a split-screen, with the top half showing files and folders on your Linux drive. As we’ve mentioned already, you can’t make any changes to the drive directly. You’ll need to copy the files to your Windows drive, or to another Windows-suitable partition.

To do this, select the files and folders you want to copy. Right-click the selected files and click Save.

In the Export Wizard, you’ll see the option to save files is already selected.

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Click Next.

Choose the location to save your files and folders. You can type the location yourself, or click Browse to find a suitable output folder before clicking Next.

You’ll see a final list of your chosen files and folders. If you want to remove any files or folders before the copying process begins, uncheck the checkbox next to any items.

Click Next to proceed.

Once completed, you’ll see a final confirmation, confirming the number of files and folders copied, as well as the save location. Click Finish to close the Export Wizard.

While DiskInternals Linux Reader doesn’t allow you to modify files or folders directly, you can use it to quickly access any essential Linux files. You can then transfer these back to your Linux drive when you’re running Linux or, if you’re willing to take the risk, you can use Ext2Fsd instead.

Read & Write Access With Ext2Fsd

Ext2Fsd, as we mentioned previously, is the only option for users who need to make changes to files or folders on their Linux drive directly from within Windows. Once it’s installed, you can access your drive from within Windows File Explorer as normal. Ext2Fsd 0.69 is recommended, especially for users with Ext4 64-bit Linux partitions.

To start, download the Ext2Fsd installer file and begin the installation. Accept the terms and installation location, and make sure that under Select Additional Tasks, all the checkboxes are checked.

Once the installer is completed, you’ll be asked to restart your PC. Safely close any essential programs and click Finish to reboot.

Once you’ve rebooted, see if you spot your drive in File Explorer and double-click to open it. If you don’t see it, open the Ext2 Volume Manager, right-click your drive, and click Assign Drive Letter.

As soon as a drive letter is assigned to your drive, you should be able to see it in File Explorer. You’ll be able to create, copy, move, or delete files as you would any other drive, but given the risks, don’t use this for critical data unless you’re certain you have a backup available.

Safely Accessing Your Linux Files On Windows

The safest method for accessing Linux files or folders is to use a read-only option like DiskInternals Linux Reader. With software like this, the chances of corrupting your files are zero.

If you absolutely need to edit files or folders on your Linux drive, Ext2Fsd will allow you to do it, but take care to avoid risks by using the most recent version, and only on a drive with non-critical files.

If you want to avoid this problem in the future, consider having a “pooled” Linux partition drive (formatted as NTFS) to share your files across both systems, or sync your files to Google Drive instead.

Ben Stockton is a freelance technology writer based in the United Kingdom. In a past life, Ben was a college lecturer in the UK, training teens and adults. Since leaving the classroom, Ben has taken his teaching experience and applied it to writing tech how-to guides and tutorials, specialising in Linux, Windows, and Android. He has a degree in History and a postgraduate qualification in Computing. Read Ben’s Full Bio


How to access Linux Ext4/Ext3/Ext2 partition from Windows 10/8/7?

This guide shows how to access Linux Ext2/Ext3/Ext4 partition from Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP via Windows partition manager. If you dual boot your computer with Windows and Linux, you’ll be able to access NTFS or FAT partition under Linux, but you cannot access Linux partition under Windows. If you need to mount Linux partition under Windows without booting into Linux, here is the tutorial that can help you.

Overview on accessing Linux partition from Windows
Windows & Linux file system
Linux reader for Windows
How to mount Linux Ext4/Ext3/Ext2 partition in Windows?
How to read files in Linux partition under Windows?
How to write data in Linux Ext4/Ext3/Ext2 partition from Windows?
Case 1: Copy files to this Linux partition
Case 2: Permanently delete files from Linux partition
Case 3: Rename a file or folder

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Overview on accessing Linux partition from Windows

«My computer is in a dual-boot environment with Windows 10 and Ubuntu. They are installed on one hard drive which is divided into two partitions C and D. Sometimes I want to grab files from Linux partition while computer has booted into Windows 10. It’s way too trouble to restart into Linux and copy files to FAT partition and reboot back into Windows. Anyone here knows how to access Ext4 partition from Windows 10?»

If your computer is dual-booting with Windows and Linux, you must have trouble in accessing files and folder stored in Linux partition while Windows is running. The default file system type used on Windows and Linux are different, Windows users NTFS and FAT, while Linux employs ext2, ext3 and ext4 file systems. Besides, Linux has support for NTFS and FAT file system, which enables users to access files on Windows partitions. However, on the other hand Windows does not have inbuilt support for Linux partition.

Therefore, you may come across such a situation if you are using Windows and Linux together on a computer. You may need to use some files you downloaded in Linux, and you are logged into Windows OS already. Since you cannot access Linux partition directly, you’ll have to restart computer and boot to Linux, copy these files to a NTFS or FAT partition and then reboot computer to Windows. Wouldn’t it be better if you can access Linux partition from Windows?

Nowadays, many users would like to dual boot Linux and Windows on one PC, and they often need to transfer data between two systems. Since Windows does not provide built-in tool to mount Linux partition, we need to use third-party software to read & write data in Linux partition. This article will introduce an effective tool to solve the problem. Keep reading the guide, you’ll be able to know how to mount and access files in Linux partition under Windows.

Windows & Linux file system

Some readers may wonder what a file system is. A file system is a system method to control, store, retrieve and organize files on a storage device. Why are there so many file system types? Different operating systems use and support specific types of file system, for they target different users. For instance, Windows NT targets enterprise users and uses NTFS file system which enhanced security greatly; Windows 9X targets ordinary users and uses FAT file system which has less security but more performance.

As we all know Windows and Linux uses different file system: Windows uses NTFS, FAT, FAT32 file system, whereas Linux uses Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4. Thus, users cannot copy a file from Linux to Windows. It is quite complicated for an OS to add support of a particular file system, especially adding support for proprietary file system. For example, the structure of data on dis, encryption algorithm and so on of NTFS file system are not known to the public, and it is very challenging to fully support NTFS in Linux.

Windows does not have native support for Linux file system like Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4. However, some tools have been created to solve this issue. Such software supports Linux file system and allows users to access Linux partition under Windows. The follow section will introduce a Windows partition manager that can mount and access Linux partition from Windows.

Linux reader for Windows

If you have Windows and Linux on same PC and want to access data of Linux partition under Windows, then you need to use third-party software to read & write ext partition. Here we recommend Eassos DiskGenius Pro to help you solve the problem. Eassos DiskGenius Pro is advanced Windows partition manager and data recovery software. It can handle partitions formatted as NTFS, FAT32, FAT12, Fat16, exFAT, Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4 file system from Windows.

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With this tool you can do following operations:

  • Full access (write & read) to Ext2 / Ext3 / Ext4 Linux partition under Windows
  • Create and format Ext2 / Ext3 / Ext4 Linux partition under Windows 10/8/7
  • Resize, shrink, extend and split Ext2 / Ext3 / Ext4 Linux partition without data loss
  • Partition recovery — recover lost or deleted Linux partitions from Windows
  • File recovery – recover deleted or lost files from Linux partition under Windows
  • Clone & image Ext2 / Ext3 / Ext4 Linux partition
  • Edit hex data in Ext2 / Ext3 / Ext4 Linux partition
  • Check and repair disk bad sectors

How to mount Linux Ext4/Ext3/Ext2 partition in Windows?

Mounting Linux partition in Windows is the first step before we can read & write data in the volume. Now we can use Eassos Partition to mount Linux partition.

Step 1 Connect the hard drive that contains Linux partition to your computer and boot your PC into Windows.

Step 2 Download and install Eassos DiskGenius on your PC and then launch it.

Step 3 Once the Windows partition manager is launched, you can view all disks and partitions attached to this machine. Select the Linux partition and you can browse files and folders in it.

Step 4 Select the Linux partition and click Files tab, and you can see data in the root directory. Then you can double click folders to open it and view files in it.

How to read files in Linux partition under Windows?

Once the Linux partition is mounted by Eassos DiskGenius, you can read & write files in the partition via the software.

File path and directory is listed in the left pane like Windows Explorer and you can click path here and view files on the right pane.

You can double-click a file to open it and view file content in its original size. This tool supports preview photos, audio, video, documents (pdf, word, excel, ppt, etc.), text files.

How to write data in Linux Ext4/Ext3/Ext2 partition from Windows?

With this tool, you can create new folder in the partition, copy files to this volume, rename files and folder, delete files, copy files to other partition or disk, etc. Here are some examples:

Case 1: Copy files to this Linux partition

Step 1 Open the folder that you want to add data and right-click empty space on the right pane to choose «Copy Files To Current Partition«

Step 2 Select files from other partition or hard drive from your computer and Open. Wait for a while, and files will be copied to this Linux partition.

This software also allows users to copy files in Linux partition to other Windows partition on this computer: Select files you want to copy -> right-click files and select «Copy To»

Case 2: Permanently delete files from Linux partition

This feature is able to delete files permanently and make deleted files unrecoverable. If you just want to delete files, you can use Delete Files Directly

Step 1 Select files you want to delete and select «Delete Files Permanently» option from context menu.

Step 2 Click Permanently Delete button on the popup window.

Case 3: Rename a file or folder

You can rename a file or folder in the software as follows:

Step 1 Right-click on a file or folder you want to change name and select Rename.

Step 2 Put in the desired name and click OK button.


Eassos DiskGenius is a handy and versatile Linux reader for Windows and you can access your Linux partition from Windows. It supports full access to Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4 partition, as well as manages Linux partitions to get best use of disk space. If you are the dual-boot user, DiskGenius will be your best assistance.


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