Linux has support for many different file systems including NTFS and FAT, which means that you can access your Windows partitions from Linux. But the reverse is not true – you cannot access Linux Ext partitions from Windows because Windows does not have any inbuilt support for the Ext file system (Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4). This is why when you install Linux side by side with Windows in a dual boot configuration, you do not see any Linux partitions when running Windows. Every time you have to use a file that you downloaded in Linux, you have to restart your computer, boot into Linux, copy the file to a FAT/NTFS partition and then reboot into Windows. What if you could access the Linux Ext file systems from within Windows? Thanks to the free software Paragon ExtFS for Windows, this has now become possible.
Paragon ExtFS for Windows is a file system driver that allows you to mount any Ext partitions inside Windows and use them as regular partitions. You can cut, copy, paste, delete or do anything you want with the mounted Ext partitions.
During the setup, it will ask for a product key and serial number. You can get both of these by free registration on the Paragon website. The setup program even shows a link to launch the registration page in your web browser. The codes are then emailed to you instantly.
As you launch Paragon ExtFS, it will automatically detect existing Ext partitions and mount them in Windows. This is a very clever software and prevents mounting of the Linux swap partitions. You can see the list of detected or mounted Ext partitions from the Paragon ExtFS system tray icon context-menu.
In the main Paragon ExtFS window, it also shows all the partitions (including NTFS, FAT and Ext) found on your system. You can select any Ext partition from this list and click on the Mount or Unmount buttons for mounting or unmounting them. The Linux swap partitions are shown in red color and cannot be mounted.
Once an Ext partition is mounted, it is shown as just another disk drive in the Windows File Explorer. You can open all the folders, copy, delete or perform other file operations. In the following screenshot, you can see that the Ubuntu 13.10 Linux partition is mounted as the H: drive.
In the settings for Paragon ExtFS, you can choose to automatically run it at Windows startup, automatically mount all detected Linux partitions, and prevent displaying of the warning message when you close the Paragon ExtFS application.
Conclusion: Paragon ExtFS allows you to access the Linux Ext partitions in Windows without any difficulties. It supports full native access to the Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4 partitions. This makes it very easy to configure various settings in Linux or copy files back-and-forth between Linux and Windows.
You can download Paragon ExtFS from http://www.paragon-software.com/home/extfs-windows/.