Ext3, or “Third Extended File System,” is the standard file system for Linux systems. What happens when you try to access a drive formatted in Ext3 on a Windows 10 computer? Let’s explore the details of this compatibility issue.
The Ext3 Brief Overview
What is Ext3
Ext3 is the journaled filesystem that Linux uses. As the name implies, it is the third extended system and was designed to overcome the limitations in the previous Ext2 file system.
Journaling is a feature of the Ext3 filesystem that was missing in its predecessor. This feature helps to minimize data loss in case of a crash of the system by keeping track of changes that have not been committed yet to the main filesystem.
Ext3 compatibility with Windows 10
Does Windows 10 natively support Ext3?
Windows 10 doesn’t natively support Ext3 as a file system. Microsoft designed Windows 10 and its operating system around the NTFS file system. These systems differ from the Ext family, so Windows can’t recognize or work with Ext3.
Windows does not support FAT or NTFS. If you plug in an Ext3-formatted drive to a Windows 10 computer, it will not recognize it and you will be unable to view or edit the data.
Why does Windows 10 not support Ext3?
Ext3’s architecture is fundamentally different than that of NTFS or FAT. Microsoft would have to invest a lot of time and money in order to add native Ext3 compatibility into Windows.
Ext3 Compatibility for Windows 10
How do I access Ext3 files in Windows 10
There are ways around this issue, even though Windows 10 does not natively support Ext3. Third-party software can be used to allow Windows to read Ext3 files.
This functionality is provided by several reliable programs, such as “Ext2Fsd”, Linux Reader”, and “DiskInternals Linux Reader”. These tools act as translators and enable Windows 10 to understand the Ext3 File System.
Limitations and caveats
These solutions have limitations. These applications may allow Windows 10 read Ext3 disks, but the functionality of these drives can vary. Some applications, for example, only allow read-only access. This means that you can view data, but not modify it. Some tools allow full read/write access but can be unstable.
Third-party tools can still be used to access the data in Ext3 format, even though Windows 10 doesn’t natively support it. Be sure to fully understand all the risks and limitations associated with these tools before using them. Consider using a file-system that is natively supported by both Windows and Linux.