Reading EXT3 formatted drives in Windows XP

My Linksys NSLU2 recently died and I currently do not have a Linux box... uggh need help. :-\

So far I have tried two different programs:

Explorer2fs (1.07) - Reads the volume but only allows me to copy files one at a time. It cannot delete or move whole folders.

Ext2IFS_1_10b - From the description, this program seemed very promising. Unfortunately it will not mount the drive. Instead, I see a "not formated" warning.

Mount diag displays the following:
The volume has an Ext2/Ext3 file system, but the Ext2 IFS 1.10 software did not
mount it because there is at least one incompat feature flag set. The Ext2
IFS software does not implement:
* needs_recovery *
Here we have an Ext3 file system which has transactions left in its journal. A
pure Ext2 driver must not access such a volume which is in that state (to
prevent data loss!).
You may solve it by mounting it on Linux (which has a kernel with Ext3
support). Be sure that you cleanly dismount it, before you shutdown Linux.
After that the Ext2 IFS software should be able to access the volume.

Well that isn't too helpful. LOL

Any suggestions other than just be happy I can read the files with Explorer2fs?

BTW, I would be happy just to have the ability to copy whole folders (and never mind deleting).

Thank you,
S ConnellyTechnical WriterAsked:
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nociConnect With a Mentor Software EngineerCommented:
Can this help you?

It should be possible to read & write in the lates version.
Although perhaps not an ideal approach, you could use a Live Linux CD such as Knoppix:

Version 5.0.1 enables you to write to NTFS partitions....or if you prefer a different Live CD.

This will enable you to boot into Linux without installing anything onto you hard drive - It all runs from your CD. Although there are performance penalties doing this, it would enable you to copy your files en mass to a FAT32/USB stick all at once. You can then work with the files in your Windows environment.

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S ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
Thanks, I thought of a similar approach using VMWARE and one of those Linux boot disks like Knoppix.

Perhaps I can at least correct the journalling problem so that Ext2IFS_1_10b will mount?

If I can get Ext2IFS_1_10b to work than my problems are solved.

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VMWARE won't help as you are working with an isolated file system which is 'ring-fenced' from the outside world.

Any of a fairly large range of the live CDs should be able to correct the journalling issue.

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S ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
I ran live Knoppix but it I had a lot of trouble with the 'jerky' motion. The software was continuously pausing for brief periods making typing and mouse positioning very difficult. The GUI looked great however. :-)  I wonder what the problem is? I have 512MB of memory and plenty of CPU power.

Anyhow, I discovered that my DLINK DSM-G600 will read/write the drive.... except there are some folders that only have directory access! There is no particular reason why some folders seem protected yet others are fine. I originally set both the DLINK and the LINKSYS with the same permissions.

Even more mysterious, the folders/files with directory access *only* can be moved anywhere within the volume, renamed, or even deleted. I just cannot copy nor read the files. Changing permissions within Windows XP Pro or from the DLINK seems to have no affect.

Any thoughts on how I can fix this problem?

Upping the ante.... more points for a workable answer (short of getting the Linksys working again).  
You could use Total Commander and Ext2+Reiser plugin Main->Addons->Plugins->File system extensions (plugins)->Ext2+Reiser (
For security reasons, this plugin is read-only.
This plugin support Ext3 too, because Ext3 is the same Ext2+logging, but in reading mode logging don't used.

Knoppix can be jerky, because it often has to read the necessary data from the CD drive, which is not the fastest of devices! I've customised a version to remove most of the 'nice gui' stuff and make it perform instead. It makes a significant difference!

As root, you should have access to the whole file system without restrictions. Worth looking at some of the the extended ext2 functionality, and whether it is involved:

lsattr /dir/file
chattr /dir/file

Use man to get further information about these extended attributes.

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Look in the knoppix menu, utilities, "Harddisk/CD/DVD DMA Acceleration", there you can make sure the drives are running in DMA mode and not PIO mode. This should make it run faster and it could get rid of the jerkiness.
S ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
Nope. Did that. :-(
S ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
Actually Venabili,

I guess I lost track of this question.

I don';t believe I ever tried  noci's suggestion (on 07/17/2006 07:56AM CDT)

It turns out that the latest edition to ext2fsd ( is dated, 01-Jun-2006.

I will try this update in the evening.
Any update here?
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