Sunday, October 07, 2007

How I Use My USB Drive, With Ext3 File System, On Both Linux and Windows

I had an old hard drive I wasn't using so I purchased a USB portable hard drive case and installed it. Initially, I had set it up for Windows, using their NTFS file system. Since then, I build a Linux computer and found I could not write to the removable drive due to Linux / Windows management system. I thought about reformatting my removable drive to Fat32, which can be used with both OS, but there are certain restrictive file constrains with Fat32. I did some Google searching and discovered there is a free program that will allow me to use the Linux Ext3 file system on my Windows machines. I liked the idea of using Ext3 since it was very flexible with file size and is the same file system I have on my Linux computer.

Here is what you will do.

After reformatting the portable drive to Ext3 (I used Gparted in my Mepis system) go to, download the executable file on your Windows computer. Before executing the install program, plug in the USB drive. Now start the install program. Once the install program is running, it will open up a window and will allow you to select a drive letter for your USB drive. Just pick a letter and finish the install. It is really easy!

Be sure to read the notes of the program as they will cover some important information. A few things to note: always use the “safely remove device” on your Windows computer (you should have an icon on bottom right task bar, which will start when you attach an external drive). Also, to get to the IFS drive window, should you need it later, go to the Window Control Panel. I had to select the “switch to classic view” on the left side so I could find the icon to get to the IFS program.

So far, this free programs works like a charm and I am able to run the portable hard drive on both Windows and Linux.

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