Ext2 / Ext3 file system drivers for Windows!!
techAdmin
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Finally, I found something that's actually useful for the windows forum!

These are the Windows 2000/XP ext2 file system drivers I use and recommend. Others who seem to know what they are talking about also recomend this one: ext2-IFS:

You can download genuine ext2 filesystem drivers for your Windows 2000/XP windows installation.

What does this mean? It means you can change over all those annoying NTFS/Fat32 partitions you keep your data on to ext 3 file system.

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What features are supported?
* Complete reading and writing access to files and directories of volumes with the Ext2 or Ext3 file system.
* Supports features which are specific to the I/O-system of Windows: Byte Range Locks, Directory Notfication (so the Explorer updates the view of a directory on changes within that directory), Oplocks (so SMB clients are able to cache the content of files).
* Allows Windows to run with paging files on Ext2 volumes.

So this means you can have your partitions with ext3, that's for the linux side of things, and you can have windows treat them as ext2 for read write purposes.

I didn't realize this, but ext3 is basically ext3 plus journaling support. But ext2 drivers can handle ext3 fine, they just don't use the journaling support.

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The Ext3 file system is the Ext2 file system which has been extended by journaling. Ext3 is backward-compatible to Ext2 - an Ext3 volume can be mounted and used as an Ext2 volume. Just as older Linux Kernels which do not know the Ext3 file system can mount Ext3 volumes (as Ext2 volumes), the Ext2 file system driver ext2fs.sys for Windows incorporated in this software package can do it without any problems, too. Of course you do not take advantage of the journaling of the Ext3 file system if you mount it as an Ext2 file system.

Journaling keeps the file system of a volume consistent, even though the volume has not been cleanly dismounted in the past (for instance because the computer has crashed): There is no need for running e2fsck (the "chkdsk" of the Ext2/Ext3 file system on Linux).

Of course, now this makes me think: hey, if MS wants to patent Fat32, why doent' the world raise their collective middle finger at them and just switch to ext2 instead on all those memory sticks etc?

Food for thought.

Anyway, this is the real thing, it's a genuine filesystem, not a virtual thing. I'll be testing this as soon as I have time, I'm sick of the read only ntfs garbage, as they say in more poetic circles: scr#w microsoft and their proprietary garbage. We don't need it.

I'll be switching all my shared data partitions over to ext3 now that I can write to it natively in windows. For those rare times I need to use windows, of course.

Why install the ext2 file system instead of Fat32 or NTFS?
Two reasons: first of all, those jerks at MS are right in the middle of a long standing battle to patent fat32. It's going back and forth, it's a nonsense claim, but they have a lot of money for lawyers.

Second:
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Linux kernels version higher than 2.2 allow storing files larger than 4 GBytes on Ext2 volumes: They set a feature bit
EXT2_FEATURE_RO_COMPAT_LARGE_FILE
the first time such a large file is stored.ext2 driver faqs

That's right kids, you can now have the best of both worlds: fully read write safe partitions AND file sizes greater than 4 gigabytes.

How can life get so good? It's fun watching MS start circling around the proverbial toilet, piece by piece their efforts to create a totally proprietary data set, on the web, or on your local machine, are crumbling at the hands of a rag tag collection of geeks and some large corps who failed to see how MS controlling every part of the data they deal with would do them any good at all.

But install ext3, that gives you journaling support too when you're in linux, which you may find starts being most of the time, LOL...

Alternate ext2 windows drivers
This is a popular ext2 file system driver for windows, ext2fsd. I haven't tested that one though, although I've heard one or two bug reports on it.
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vkaryl
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Okay.....

So what does this REALLY mean?

Does this mean that the linux install will be able to "share" the files etc. on the windows install?
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techAdmin
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Normally if you're dual [or more] booting, you need to use fat32 for any shared data partitions. Linux can read NTFS fine, but can't safely write to it.

So if you didn't use this, and wanted linux and windows to read and write to a partition, it needed to be fat32.

One example of the potential benefits, which I've had to deal with too:

say you have an external hard drive. It's for backups, which will be very large, much more than 4 gigabytes. The only way to get backups onto it with linux, well, there would be no way if it wasn't formatted with ext3.

That site had some interesting other stuff, including talking about some external hard drive bugs in windows that makes it work very poorly if you have more than one partition on it.

So that's an immediate solution: install ext2 driver on windows. Reformat external hard drive from linux, with ext3. Now you have a single drive that can hold backups of any file size and still offer read/write to both OS'es.

If you remember that for example a SUSE DVD install iso is going to be around 4.5 gigabytes, the utility of this starts becoming more evident. Now your local data partitions can handle anything you want, and still be read/writeable from both windows and linux. Pretty nifty. That's actually been an issue for me, one of many when it comes to fully switching over.

I'll be changing all my data drives over to ext3 over the next month. I'm finding that given just how well everything is working in kanotix/debian sid, I'm losing all interest in having a windows first, linux second type installation.

I'll keep the actual window's partitions on ntfs of course, but I'm going to start switching all my other external drives over to ext3 over the next few months, I was already thinking of doing that anyway, this simply gets rid of the last little roadblock, since I do now and then have to use windows, although less and less every day as I get the stuff working in debian-kanotix.
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vkaryl
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The reason I asked:

I have MILLIONS of bytes of info. If I can't access it in a logical manner from linux, I can't migrate. This is stuff that I can't work without. That's just how it is.

If this is likely to fix that problem for me, great. Otherwise, linux will continue to be something the geek in me messes with but not more than that.
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techAdmin
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I know the feeling. Linux will mount all your partitions automatically when you install kanotix or whatever. You can read everything, and write to fat32.

So you can always access it all. But the killer comes when you are working on a file you got from an NTFS partition, then want to save it. Linux won't write to NTFS without using risky 3rd party tools like captive. I would not use those tools because I've never seen anyone recommend them who I trust.

So I format fat32 for stuff I want to r/w to in linux. But it's annoying, since I'm sometimes creating > 4 gigabyte files, such as the suse dvd iso I mentioned, or backup files.

And the goal is to be fully switched to me, not partially.

There are some little things you need to know to use the ext2 windows driver, I'd read the website, especially about usb mounted hard drives.
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techAdmin
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There's more useful information on ext2 filesystem drivers for various OSes
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