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Access Ext2, HFS and other file systems with DiskInternals Linux Reader

10 December 2016, Mike Williams

Freeware Linux ReaderDiskInternals Linux Reader is a freeware Windows application for browsing drives using Linux, Apple and other file systems.

The program enables reading (but not writing) drives using Ext2/3/4, ReiserFS, Reiser4, HFS, HFS+, FAT, exFAT, NTFS, ReFS and UFS2.

It’s also possible to mount and read raw disk images (*.dsk, *.img) and assorted virtual disk formats (*.vmdk, *.vhd, *.vhdx, *.vdi, *.vds).

There’s no general Windows file system driver included, unfortunately, so mounted drives won’t appear inside Explorer: they’re only accessible from inside the program.

DiskInternals Linux Reader opens with a list of your current partitions and drives. We tried double-clicking one of our system’s “Physical drives” and an error message told us “can’t open disk — check the disk and try again”. A log unhelpfully suggested this was because of an unsupported file system.

Freeware Linux Reader

Access the drive or image and you can browse files or restore them to your own system

Double-clicking the partitions delivered better results. A chart showed us which types of files were using the most space on the drive, and we were able to browse folders on the drive and click images and a few simple file types to preview them.

Retrieving these files is a little more awkward than it should be. You can’t double-click a file to open it directly, for instance, and although dragging and dropping a file to your desktop looks like it might work (the mouse cursor changes correctly) nothing gets copied.

Still, it only takes a few seconds to figure out the official alternative. A “Files to Recovery” pane asks you to “drop files which you want to recover”, and if you drag your files there, launch and step through the “Export Wizard” the files are all saved to your chosen drive.

Useful bonus features include an option to create a raw disk image of any existing drive, and a simple hex viewer enables low-level inspection of any partition.

Overall, DiskInternals Linux Reader would benefit from a new interface, but it offers solid support for reading a long list of file systems, and that’s more than enough to justify the download.

DiskInternals Linux Reader is available for Windows 95 (really) and later.

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