Accessing Linux Filesystems in Windows
ReiserFS increasingly has become a popular Linux filesystem, because of its fault-tolerance capabilities. rfstool allows access to ReiserFS partitions from Windows to Linux; however, it supports only read-only access, and the developers, according to their Web site, have no plans to change that. The tool is available from freshmeat.net/projects/rfstool.
The previous tools lead us to the tool to which this article is dedicated. Unlike Ext2fsd and rfstool, which are specific to one particular class of filesystems, LTOOLS are more generic. They support ext2, ext3 and ReiserFS. LTOOLS are a set of command-line tools, along with two GUIs and a Web-based front end, to enable the reading of and writing to Linux ext2/3 and ReiserFS filesystems from nearly all DOS or Windows (XP, 2000, NT, ME, 9.x or 3.x) versions, running on the same machine or remotely. So, whenever you're running DOS or Windows, and you desperately need to read or write to a Linux partition, which may be on your own computer or any other, you can make use of LTOOLS. LTOOLS also is a great tool for fixing your Linux installation, if you do not have a live CD.
As mentioned previously, LTOOLS comes with two different GUI interfaces to enable you to access your Linux partitions. LTOOLS comes with LTOOLSgui, which is a Java-based graphical user interface for local or remote access to your Linux files, and LTOOLSnet, which is a Microsoft .NET-based user interface, which also provides local or remote access.
If you do not like using non-free Java or MS .NET, you can use your Web browser as a graphical front end for LTOOLS. To achieve this functionality, the package contains LREADsrv, which is a simple Web server, making your Linux filesystem available in an Explorer-like view in your Web browser. Using LREADsrv, you can allow remote access to your Linux partitions, as well as to your DOS/Windows partitions.
LTOOLS comes with a default Windows installer, which seems quite dated. After following the normal installation procedure, the installer creates an entry in your start menu called LTOOLS from which you can access a plethora of interfaces that allows you to access your Linux filesystems.
LTOOLS comes with support for nearly all Windows versions; however, all of the interfaces won't run on all Windows versions. LTOOLS provides two different console versions for Win9x/ME and Windows NT/XP.
The command-line interface provides basic functionality for writing and retrieving data from Linux. LTOOLS commands have the following format. All commands have three files associated with them, for example:
This command lists directories; however, it is not a program but a script. This script, depending on your system, further invokes either of these two programs: LdirDOS.exe or ldirNT.exe. The first one is for Win9x/ME, and the second one is for Windows NT/XP.
Many LTOOLS commands have a logical syntax. For example, partition names are Linux names. So, if I want to copy a file called vars.inc from /root (which is on /dev/hda2) to my C: drive, I would do the following:
lread.bat --s/dev/hda2 /root/vars.inc C:\vars.inc
Similarly, for writing to Linux, I would do this:
lwrite.bat --s/dev/hda2 C:\vars.inc /root/vars.inc
Along the same lines, LTOOLS also has the commands shown in Table 1.
Table 1. LTOOLS Commands
|lread.bat||Read and copy files from Linux to DOS; sample usage: lread.bat --s/dev/hda2 /root/vars.inc C:\vars.inc|
|lwrite.bat||Copy files from DOS to Linux; sample usage: lwrite.bat --s/dev/hda2 C:\vars.inc /root/vars.inc|
|ldel.bat||Delete Linux files or (empty) directories—same as rm --f and rmdir in Linux; sample usage: ldel.bat /root/vars.inc|
|lchange.bat||Change Linux file attributes and owners—analogous to chmod; sample usage: lchange.bat --s/dev/hda2 754 /root/vars.inc|
|lren.bat||Rename Linux files—analogous to mv; sample usage: lren.bat --s/devhda2 /root/vars.inc /root/var2.inc|
|lmkdir.bat||Create a new Linux directory—analogous to mkdir; sample usage: lmkdir.bat --s/dev/hda2 /root/newdir|
|lln.bat||Create a symbolic link—analogous to ln; sample usage: lln.bat --s/dev/hda8 /root/link /root/vars.inc|
|lcd.bat||Change directory—analogous to cd; sample usage: lcd.bat /home/|
|ldrive.bat||Set the default Linux disk drive; sample usage: ldrive /dev/hda8|
ReiserFS is not supported via the above-mentioned tools. Thus, LTOOLS also ships with rfstool, which can be used to read from ReiserFS partitions. In order to read the hard disk under Windows NT/2000/XP or UNIX/Linux, you need administrator rights. If you are running LTOOLS under a non-administrator account, you may not be able to access the hard disk. LTOOLS does not respect Linux ownership. This means that if users were to mount the root device, they could change anything, including /etc/passwd/.