Sunday, 2 October 2011

Accessing files across different File Systems

In the memory of your computer various files are stored the same way books are stored in shelves in a library. As a library has a registry of all the books in which the location of each book is stored in an ordered way, the files in our computer also need such a registry. A file system works the same way and has a registry that stores the location of different files along with other information required for the file. Different operating systems have used different file systems for searching files. Also every operating system has a browser to access the file system.
Windows has developed the NTFS and FAT file systems. Similarly, LINUX developed ext2 file system and developed it further to make ext3 and ext4 file systems. Similarly, OS X uses the HFS file system.
In this blog I aim to discuss how to see a file system of a different operating system can be used in your computer. For instance, you can access ext4 file system in Windows. I have divided the blog in three parts according to the three operating systems – Windows, Linux and OS X.

Viewing the ext2/3/4 file system
Windows supports NTFS and FAT file systems. You cannot access the ext2/3/4 file system from it. When you create a partition with linux in it, it simply fails to display the partition and displays only it’s native file systems. One needs certain programs to see the ext2/3/4. We discuss one utility to do this in Windows. But this works only fails to work for Windows 7.
Go to the link and download the latest version of explore2fs. Unzip the file and run the explore2fs executable. This is a view of the site.

 Here you can view the ext2 file system of LINUX on windows. We have downloaded the images from the net as the file system failed to work on our laptops.

 Like a typical windows browser this shows the ext2/3/4 partition of your hard drive. A bar on the left part of the screen shows the different folders on the drive with different subfolders and the remaining right part shows the files in that folder.
 Viewing the HFS file system
HFS file system is the file system is the used by the OS X which is the operating system developed by Apple for the Mackintosh. As the Mackintosh can only be installed on an Apple system this utility is stale for any other system. It works for an Apple system with dual boot for OS X and Windows.
Here is the link for downloading the required program for viewing HFS in Windows.
But a basic requirement for this program is Java SE Runtime Environment (version 5.0 or greater). Here is a view of the HFS explorer in windows. We have taken this image from the internet.

Viewing the NTFS file system
By default, you can view the Windows file system in Linux normally by mounting the windows partition drive. For mounting a partition of your hard drive, Linux gives an option in the “Places” menu in Ubuntu.
Moreover you also have the following option. Go to the terminal and type the following command.
First we need to make a directory that will link to Windows by the following command
mkdir /mnt/win
Now mount your windows drive link it to this new directory.
mount –t/ntfs/dev/hda1 /mnt/win
Now change the directory to the directory you had made.
cd /mnt/win
Now try viewing the files by
ls -all
Viewing the HFS file system
An HFS file system can also be viewed on Linux. We can do it the same way we do it for the NTFS file system. The command that we can give to the mount the HFS partition in Windows is
mount –t hfsplus <drivename>
 This way you can view the HFS file system in LINUX.
Viewing NTFS in OS X
We have a software that can help you in viewing NTFS file system in OS X. We can download the software from the following page.
Install the software in the following way. Here is a snapshot of the installing windows which we took from the internet.

Now you can view the NTFS files in OS X also.
Viewing the ext 2/3/4 file system in OS X
Similarly we have a software for EXT 4 file system that can help you see the LINUX files on OS X.
You can download the software from the following page.

Deepak Wali(2011039)
Rishabh Kawatra(2011087)

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