Linux-Windows file access

By Richard Sharpe, LinuxWorld.com |  Networking, Linux

For more information on smbmount, see man smbmount.

Accessing Linux files from Windows

I have no doubt that most of us need access to Windows filesystems from Linux, but many of us also need access to our Linux filesystems under Windows from time to time. There are a couple of ways to do that depending on your circumstances.


If you are on a network and want to access files on a Linux server from your Windows machine, Samba is the ideal solution. It looks very much like the Windows NT server and provides access to files on your Linux server from Windows systems. See Resources for more information on Samba.


You might also want to access a Linux ext2 partition on your machine from Windows if you have a dual-boot setup. Fear not, as there are also ways to do that. There are a number of approaches to access your ext2 filesystems from Windows. Those include LTools (for DOS and Windows 3.x, 9x, and NT), explore2fs (for Windows 95 and Windows NT), FSDext2 (for Windows 9x) and ext2fsnt (for NT). All of them are discussed in the Filesystems HOWTO (see Resources), which contains links to download each of the tools.


Each of those operates in different ways. For example, FSDext2 and ext2fsnt provide device drivers that access ext2 partitions on the Windows machine with standard Windows commands and tools. LTools and explore2fs provide commands that explore your ext2 partitions from Windows. Unfortunately, FSDext2 provides read-only access to your ext2 partitions, though the all the others provide read-write access.


FSDext2 is very easy to install under Windows 9x. Simply extract the files, run the install batch file, reboot (yes, Windows requires many reboots), and then mount your filesystem as a drive letter. Figure 1 shows an example of listing the files on an ext2 partition, while Figure 2 shows how to use the mount command to unmount and then mount an ext2 partition to drive L:.

Listing the files on an ext2 partition

 


Mounting an ext2 partition to drive L:


For more information on that subject, see the Filesystems HOWTO (see Resources for a link).

The future

Some people will always need to access filesystems from different operating systems, whether MS-DOS or VFAT from Linux, or ext2 from Windows. So the tools we discussed will prove useful to those people.

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