How To – View Linux Files on USB Flash Drive
This article will help you view Linux files on a flash drive when connected to a Windows 10 computer.
This is a more common problem than one would think. As of 2020 the percentage of computers running Linux is 25%. With this in mind, there is a good chance you will receive a USB flash drive (formatted in Linux) which you’ll need to gain access to. This article is a “how to” for a Windows user to read a USB flash drive from Linxu.
Linux will format USB flash drives as ext2, ext3 or ext4. Note: It is possible for a Linux OS to read/write to a FAT32 or exFAT flash drive.
In Windows, when a USB is formatted as the ext type, Windows will try formatting the drive. Don’t format it, try our steps first. (Previous article on best way to format USB drives)
Do the following to access a Linux formatted flash drive in Windows:
This first tip might not be “required” but it is highly recommended.
In the Search field of Windows type Control Panel and click Enter
This will take you to the Control Panel.
Click Programs and then click Turn Windows features on and off
In the dialog box which pops up, you’ll need to scroll down most of the way when locking for Windows Subsystems for Linux and be sure to check that checkbox. You can click OK and exit.
Next, download the software which will actually do the work of reading ext formatted devices. You are going to download Linux Reader by DiskInternals, which is a free utility for Windows users. Here is the link.
Once you have downloaded and installed the software your Windows computer is ready to view Linux files. NOTE: You might still get the Windows message to format the device, simply click Cancel on the message. Open File Explorer in Windows like you normally would to navigate to a USB drive letter… and you can view the files.
The above process takes about 5 minutes. Quick easy solution for how to view Linux files on USB flash drives.