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Do you dual-boot Windows and Linux? If you do, then you’re probably familiar with the different file systems that the two operating systems use and the difficulty in transferring files between the two. While most modern Linux operating systems can read and write to Windows file systems (NTFS and FAT/FAT32), Windows can’t read or write to Linux file systems (Ext2 and Ext3).

Sure, if you need to access your files from both operating systems you could just save everything to a Windows-readable partition. But even when I tried doing that, I found there would be the occasional file I quickly saved to the desktop and forgot to transfer. Whatever the reason, there’s always some time when you may need files on your Linux file system, but don’t want to take the time to reboot into Linux just to get to the file.

So, How You Can Access and Work on Linux Partitions In Windows

Ext2 IFS solves that problem. Unlike other programs which merely create their own Explorer-type interface to work with Linux partitions, this program seamlessly integrates your Linux drives, making them behave like any native Windows file system type which any program can access. It adds an additional driver for mounting Ext2 file systems (and Ext3 since it’s backwards compatible, although it won’t take advantage of Ext3’s journaling ability).

Ext2 IFS screenshot

From the Ext2 IFS homepage,

It installs a pure kernel mode file system driver Ext2fs.sys, which actually extends the Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista operating system to include the Ext2 file system. Since it is executed on the same software layer at the Windows NT operating system core like all of the native file system drivers of Windows (for instance NTFS, FASTFAT, or CDFS for Joliet/ISO CD-ROMs), all applications can access directly to Ext2 volumes. Ext2 volumes get drive letters (for instance O:). Files, and directories of an Ext2 volume appear in file dialogs of all applications. There is no need to copy files from or to Ext2 volumes in order to work with them.

What do you think of this program? Do you use something similar (or better)? Share it in the comments.


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