Ext2/3 Partitions - Mounting them on the Desktop

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Contents

Why

  • If you need GUI-based access to the contents of a hard drive, or if you need to mount an ext2/3 hard drive on a computer running Windows or OS X, this page may have an answer for you. The process outlined here is useful for someone rescuing data from a backup USB hard drive, or from a data partition in a Linkstation.
  • Why would you want ext2/3 format anyway? Well Windows formats (FAT, FAT32, NTFS) have some serious limitations to them, namely filesize. For FAT the filesize limit is 2GB, and for FA32 or VFAT is it 4GB. OS X doesn't have these limitations for its HFS+, but it is a proprietary format and is not readable to many computer systems. Therefore, ext2/3 is a viable alternative. With drivers, it is readable by nearly all OS's, and it has a filesize limit that runs in the terabytes.

Requirements

  • a USB storage device (flash, IDE or SATA) or hard drive formatted in ext2 or ext3
  • a computer running OS X (10.3-10.4.x are currently supported), Windows or Linux/Unix
    • for OS X - ext2fsx driver from SourceForge.net
    • for Windows -

Windows

Before connecting

Connecting and Determining disk info

Mounting

Access

Unmounting

OS X

Before connecting

Unmount cleanly from current mount point. Check w/ df -Th

Connecting and Determining diskMsN

Mounting

sudo -s mkdir /Volumes/linux mount_ext2 -o rdonly -x /dev/disk2s1 /Volumes/linux


Access

Finder Menu Go->Go To Folder


Unmounting

umount /dev/disk2s1

Check w/ df -Th


Troubleshooting

Windows

OS X

Error messages and their possible causes:

  • Invalid argument
mount_ext2: /dev/disk3s1 on /Volumes/linux: Invalid argument

If you are using a USB drive, this may mean that you forgot to unmount (see the Unmount section above) before physically disconnecting your cable.


  • No such directory
/dev/disk3s1 on /Volumes/linux: No such file or directory

You may have forgotten to create the mount point directory in /Volumes.

References and Links