Can a Linux Logical Volume Manager be read by Windows?
June 28, 2008 11:50 AM   Subscribe

Can an LVM partition be mounted by Windows XP or Vista?

I dual boot Fedora 9 and XP Pro on one machine, and Fedora 9 and Vista Home Premium on the other. I've been using ext3 on Fedora because I can mount it from Windows, but was wondering whether any Windows software now supports LVM. Thanks.
posted by lukemeister to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Just to get the terminology out of the way first: LVM isn't mountable. It's a new layer between "partitions" and "filesystems", the volume manager (that's the "VM"). Where before you'd have a disk that contained a partition that contained an ext3 filesystem, with LVM you have a disk that contains a partition that contains an LVM physical volume which contains an LVM logical volume which contains an ext3 filesystem.

With that out of the way: As far as I'm aware, there's nothing available for Windows that lets you see the ext3 filesystem within the LVM volumes.
posted by mendel at 12:37 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you really wanted to, you could try running Virtual Box (which is a free virtualization product), then connecting the virtual box to your host OS using Samba. That's not something I've ever tried.

I know VMWare supports booting virtual machines off of physical partitions.
posted by delmoi at 12:41 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: mendel, delmoi,

Thanks. Does either of you have a favorite way to mount an ext3 partition from Windows? I've used Paragon Mount Everything for years, but sometimes Windows Explorer (or xplorer2 pro) freaks out when I look at a file.
posted by lukemeister at 1:33 PM on June 28, 2008

You can use this Windows-native ext2 driver but be aware that you'd be mounting the ext3 filesystem as an ext2 filesystem and unclean unmounts (e.g. from crashes) would require a potentially tiime-consuming disk check next time it's mounted.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 2:13 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: That driver is closed-source. There's an open-source one which is making more progress on ext3 support and plans to support LVM. More immediately useful, explore2fs supports reading from LVM2; the beta of it's successor, Virtual Volumes, supports writing too.
posted by PueExMachina at 12:07 AM on June 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

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