Accessing Linux Partitions from Windows XP

As you may have read in my last post, I toasted my Ubuntu last night when installing the Release Candidate for Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy) without backing up some data first. I learned my lesson (although I expected it and somewhat wanted it to fry)!

It didn’t affect my partitions though… I was still able to boot to my Windows XP partition. So naturally, my first task was to find a tool that will allow me to access my Ubuntu Linux partition and backup the files I want/need to backup from my Home directory.

I found the tool (or should I say Google found the tool). It is the small but amazing Explore2fs by

I didn’t have a lot to backup though since all of my data is on a data partition in FAT32. I only had to backup a bit of music, linux-only related documents, and some pictures. Of course I also backed-up some Ubuntu software settings, Thunderbird email, and Liferea RSS feeds, to name a few.

Explore2fs is a great “quick-fix”!


7 responses to “Accessing Linux Partitions from Windows XP”

  1. Andrew says :

    If you have Windows XP, why do you use linux?
    Basically I dont see any advantages to using linux over windows xp, Im dual booting windows
    and ubuntu. Ubuntu is nice and all but I dont see anything that would make me prefer it
    over windows.The only thing i have been using ubuntu for is web browsing playing
    music/movies (cant play games) which I can do better/hassle free in windows.
    So what are the advantages of l using linux over xp?

  2. Kevin Guertin says :

    For one thing, I use Linux because I don’t have to worry about Spyware and Viruses. I spend most of my time in Windows making sure that my antivirus is up-to-date, my anti-spyware applications are up-to-date, doing virus scans, doing spyware scans, having a firewall properly running, doing Windows Updates… I realized that I was doing that more often than anything else on my computer. It’s a huge waste of time. A computer should be used to be productive. When I log on to Ubuntu, I feel free and not like I have to do “work” to have my system run safely.

    Second, Linux is extremely more powerful than Windows XP with its command line alone. I can do so much in one line of commands in terminal that can’t be done in Windows XP.

    Thirdly, Linux is customizable from the get-go. Windows is not, despite what Microsoft wants you to believe. For Windows, you need to install all these proprietary applications to customize or theme your system, like WindowBlinds. These applications screw with Windows code, are resource and memory hogs, and they make Windows unstable. I don’t have to worry about that in Linux. I can customize and theme my KDE or Gnome desktop as much as I want without any problems or additional software.

    Fourth, Linux is free, in the monetary sense. It cost me nothing. I don’t need to download pirated software or cracks just to get stuff done like in Windows. I strongly believe that software and operating systems have to be free (in all sense of the word).

  3. less ignorant says :

    Windows users do not need windowblinds, they can download a dll patch that disables the proprietary nature of the theme engine to allow third party visual styles. It is like window blinds but takes no external running program. also, some people like to make changes to their system without the chance of bricking their machine.

    Also, for the less ignorant, windows is quite safe, if you know how to browse the web. 99% of virus infections are caused by ignorance, and lack of simple prevention.

  4. Kevin Guertin says :

    Yes, they don’t need to use WindowBlinds, but they still need to use a patch that Microsoft wouldn’t like for you to use. The issue is that it is not a built-in feature of Windows. You have very limited customizing options in Windows. In Linux, every single aspect of your desktop is customizable.

    As for your last paragraph, it is true, and after over 11 years on the net, I am not ignorant. 🙂 I am also not the only one who uses the computer, which is common in most households/businesses. Less savvy users are more likely to get viruses and spyware in Windows. But not with Linux.

  5. John Smith says :

    Totally agree with Kevin, with some additional comments.

    I have been a moderator on several security forums and have helped many with virus, trojan, and worm infections that were running Windows. And quite honestly, I can tell you that they were fairly computer savy and security conscious.

    Reality: Botnets are a reality of the Net. If you don’t know what a botnet is(google botnets). Most botnets which consist of malcious code to infect and remotely take over “Windows” based machines for malcious purposes(use of computers to remotely send spam for example). The script that makes these Bot Nets work is Windows friendly and not Linux friendly. The code that Windows itself is written on in “hacker, trojan, worm, and virus” friendly unlike Linux. Oh yes, you can install anti-spayware and anti-virus spyware, and ensure they reamain fully updated and are run on a regular basis. But that is all in vain and in my opinion a total waste of prescious time, as it really becomes a cat and mouse game between those who code new viruses, worms, and trojans, and those who try to keepon top of these by quickly releasing definitions before any user computers get infected. Sometimes the cat is ahead of the came sometimes the mouse is. Either way, you are caught in the middle and at the mercy of someone else. The worm, virus, and Trojan issue with average users is so out of hand by lieu of the fact that you have tons of new Windows based Trojans, Viruses, and worms daily. Lol, it is never ending and you never see this happening to that extent for Linux. Microsoft is forever releasing Security flaw updates just to try and address some of this.

    I agree that there you cannot totally rid your computer of Windows XP due to some select programs that you may absolutely need Windows for. However, the way around this is a dual boot system with Windows XP/Vista and ubuntu 8.04. Use Ubuntu to surf the net, without worrying about installing and running a boat load of anti-spyware and anti-virus program, which never guarantee 100% protection anyway, and boot into Windows XP to run programs that you need to run but cannot run in Linux. Personally even with the latest patches and up to date anti-virus and anti-spyware, I have come across many individuals who got infected by a virus, worm, or trojan where the definition had not been created in time to combat or prevent the new virus, worm, or trojan. Personally, in all the years that I have run Windows, the same thing happened to me and I was forced to do a total format, spend hours and reinstall because I had an unknown Trojan, Virus, or worm that had deeply embedded itself in Windows and was not detected by various anti-spyware and anti-virus programs. This never ever happened to me in the many years I used Linux, not even once, so I rest my case.

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