[kwlug-disc] ext3 on Windows

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Sun Jul 4 18:54:29 EDT 2010

Bob Jonkman wrote, On 07/04/2010 3:56 PM:
>> All tests were performed under the Windows 7 that came with the
>> 1201n, writing to the ext3 partition.
> Wait, what?  ext3 on Win7 ?
>> Source file is on a Windows XP machine (Pentium D, 2.80 GHz,
>> dual-core), reading from an ext3 partition.
> What again?  What manner of Windows drivers are you using?  The
> only ext drivers I know of only understand ext2 at best...


The partitions may well be only ext2, lacking ext3 journaling, etc., 
but I don't remember for sure. i.e. Could be ext3, I don't believe 

On Win XP, I have been using ext2ifs / ifs drives
(http://www.fs-driver.org/), for myself for years, with little 
complaint. It works for me / I've been happy.

Initially I wanted larger file sizes than FAT32, and away from NTFS.
And the possibility of just popping the drive/partition into a Linux
system and just getting on with my day.

Having said that, there are a couple of caveats, in my experience:
- it *occasionally* gets a little bit of corruption. So you pop into
Linux (dual-boot?), or fire up a LiveCD, the standard ext fs checks
happen, and you go back. Never lost a file - it's usually an 'inode 
problem', e.g. power failure.
- hitting things really hard, repeatedly, will cause you grief over
time. As a home / data file repository, it's just fine and I've never
looked back. When I use it as a backup destination, with GBs of lots
of (little?) files, it tends to ultimately fall over. I believe these
to be windows bugs, and it feels like they occur when the driver is
   - this has been irritating, but survivable. Since these are backup 
sources or repositories, when it's really fallen apart I've 
reformatted the partition NTFS, restored from source or destination 
(each being on different machines), and gotten on with my day.

Windows does have the concept of an installable file system. So such
ext drivers as this sit on top of that, in Windows, and this heavy
activity, going through two non-native file systems, appears to evince
a heavy traffic load bug, eventually. (Going to a native file system 
seems to avoid the problem, but also loses the advantages of ext in 
the process.) Again, I've only ever seen the problem on the 
write-heavy destination, not the source.

So, great for the source of the backups, perhaps not as the
destination. (So put the destination on a real Linux / ext machine.)

Windows 7, or, more likely Vista, but I never did Vista to know,
introduces problems and aggravations with system startup services. The
software above will not load early enough to be happy. I forget for
sure, but this is more than just a UAC (User Access Controls), or 
signed driver software issue.

For Win 7 I found http://www.ext2fsd.com/ |

So, on my netbook, I have at least 3 partitions, and dual-boot. OS
(win7), OS (kubuntu 10.04 lts), and data (Ext). Under either boot, the
same DATA files and partition are used. Further, I can vm boot linux 
under Windows, using raw drives (for the OS). data is still accessible 
to the vm, as a shared (through the vm software) drive. I can also vm 
boot windows under Linux, but not with raw drives - the hardware 
changes cause significant ickiness (you need hardware profiles, and so 
on and so forth.) [The ultimate idea being able to live in Kubuntu, 
and occasionally fire up the win 7 vm - because some people insist on 
using MS Office.]

So, yes, ext under Windows.

(1) Pre-Vista: http://www.fs-driver.org/
(2)     Win 7: http://www.ext2fsd.com/

YMMV. For me, it all just works. I have used (1) far longer, and so
have more faith in it, than (2), but Win 7 leaves little choice. (1)
is a little more fire and forget, (2) has to run an additional icon
beside the time in the lower right - essentially, the icon program
satisfies the win 7 introduced startup ickiness.

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