Access Ubuntu files from Windows

If you dual-boot, Ubuntu is kind enough to provide access to your Windows partition (Places ^ xGB Media, where x is the size of your Windows partition). However, Windows isn't nice enough to return the favor and you can't access Ubuntu files from within Windows. Well, not without an ext2/3 file system driver for Windows.

A couple of such drivers are available and perhaps the best is the Ext2 Installable File System for Windows. This is freeware (not open source, alas) and lets you both read and write files within your Ubuntu partition while Windows is up and running. It comes in the form of a standard Windows executable and can be downloaded from http://www.fs-driver. org/download.html. During installation you'll be prompted to assign a drive letter to Ubuntu's ext3 partition (any will do so long as it's not in use—I like to use Z:; see Figure 3.15, on the following page for an example), after which you can simply access the Ubuntu files using My Computer.

If you must have open source software, consider Explore2fs (http://www. chrysocome.net/explore2fs), although it doesn't integrate with Windows' system tools and simply shows the Ubuntu files in its own program

Figure 3.15: Setting up Ext2 Installable File System for Windows (see Tip 48, on the preceding page)

window. Additionally, at the time of writing, it doesn't run under Windows Vista but works fine in XP.

Note that writing files to the Ubuntu file system from within Windows gave me slight palpitations. I'd only do it if I had no other choice. Otherwise I'd treat it as a read-only volume.

To learn how to fix the Windows file system from within Ubuntu, see Tip 38, on page 98.

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