How to access ext2 FS from WinXP and Leopard

Here’s the scenario:   I’m trying to get data together from several old hard drives that are laying around.  Some of them are dual boot Linux ext2 and a variety of Win’s all the way back to 2000.  Then I have a fairly large drive that is pure ext2.  I don’t want to haul the weight of all those drives to Australia so I got one huge drive: one drive to contain them all. So my plan was:

  • Use a USB housing that I have to hook up the biggest PATA with some space on it to the Win XP box.  That ends up being the pure ext2 drive.
  • Transfer some stuff to the ext2 drive from the internal HD on the laptop.  (I don’t have an external housing for laptop hard drives and I don’t much care for taking laptops apart to be honest.)
  • Hook up the intermediate drive to the Mac.  Also hook up the monster.  Transfer all the non linux system stuff from the ext2 drive to the monster.  Leave the ext2 drive here as a backup of several linux systems which I will start using again when I get back.  No need to take the linux stuff to Oz, because if I create a linux partition on my Mac I will just do a clean install.
  • Remove the ext2 drive from the housing replace with all the other drives and repeat.

Well, WinXP didn’t want to read the ext2 drive, and Leopard could see it but not mount it.   For Windows XP I found this article:  Three Ways To Access Linux Partitions (ext2/ext3) From Windows On Dual-Boot Systems. The third way was what I wanted, as it allowed read/write access to the ext2 drive.   It is called the ext2 installable file system for windows.  I gotta say, it worked like a champ, and it allowed me to copy several folders to the ext drive.

My next problem was to make the Mac recognize the drive.  After seeing somebody answer on Yahoo answers that you just can’t do this, I thought how wrong you are buddy.  And so I found the ext2 filesystem for Mac and installed it.  After that the Mac could see the filesystem on the drive.  I’m not sure this one is write, but that is OK, because all I want to do is copy FROM the ext2 drive TO the big monster.  Boom, now I can do what I want.

Gotta say, it’s great when you just find free tools to do what you want and they just work.  Especially after my hassle with Magento.  (Of course it would be better if common file system compatibility was built-in but hey.  Next decade. )  I’m 2 for 2  sippin’ a beer and waiting for nightfall on this hot fourth of July, and in a couple more days I’m heading to Australia where it’s winter.

7 comments to How to access ext2 FS from WinXP and Leopard

  • The exact same thing happened to me, a while back now!.. good tips though for those who don’t know how.

  • Thanks for the tips, I don’t know about this solution.

  • Thank You for giving these tips.
    If ever I encounter this, then it would be
    a very great help… This is a guide for me.

  • Now with the internet everything’s so simple. Imagine then years ago: you’d think you lost the data forever and would give up.

  • I have an external FW800 drive connected to my mac running leopard 10.5.2. I am sharing this ext. drive under the sharing options in preference/sharing. when i go to my pc running xp pro and map network drive i am able to locate the shared ext. drive and connect to it with no issue. when i click on any quicktime movie i get an error -43 no movie found. i’ve checked all my quicktimes on this ext. drive and they are all fine. from my pc when i connect to an internal drive on my mac i can play any quicktime just fine. has anyone else had an issue with accessing quicktimes on a shared external hard drive from their pc through a mac running leopard? when i had tiger installed with this same exact setup it was flawless, no issues. i’d hate to go back to tiger but i had no issues with just accessing quicktimes??

    i tried different permissions settings, etc. not sure what’s going on. it seems like a pretty common task to be able to access quicktimes from a pc through a shared external drive on a mac running leopard.

  • These kinds of backups do not need to be a pain. A thoughtful backup cron will go forever.




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