Ext2 Installable File System For Windows

Release Notes of Ext2 IFS version 1.11a

Improved plug-n-play behavior

With Ext2 IFS version 1.11, drive letter management is significantly improved: When a removable device, e.g. an external USB hard disk drive, is unplugged, drive letters for that device are automatically deleted.

When the device is reconnected, the drive letter it once had is retained. A partition to which no drive letter is assigned in the "IFS Drives" item on the control panel will remain without drive letter even if the corresponding storage device is dis- and reconnected — exactly as specified.

Thus, drive letters should not be deleted in the "IFS Drives" item on the control panel before unplugging devices, as was the case with Ext2 IFS 1.10. This offers the convenience of automatic creation of drive letters when devices are reconnected.

With Windows XP or higher, the "IFS Drives" item on the control panel has an additional option:
"Automatically assign drive letter when connecting a device for the first time".

This option decides what happens when a device, e.g. an external USB hard disk drive, is plugged in for the first time (after installation of the Ext2 IFS 1.11 software): When this feature is enabled, drive letters are created for all (non-Windows) partitions of the device. Otherwise you have to create drive letters manually in the "IFS Drives" item on the control panel, but only once initially.

Hibernate (suspend to disk)

You can use hibernate (suspend to disk) in Windows only if you resume Windows subsequently. Furthermore, you can use hibernate (suspend to disk) in Linux only if you attempt to resume Linux subsequently. It means that you should shutdown Windows before booting Linux and vice-versa. You cannot mix the two operating systems.

Large inodes

The current version of Ext2 IFS only mounts volumes with an inode size of 128 like old Linux kernels have.

Some very new Linux distributions create an Ext3 file systems with inodes of 256 bytes. Ext2 IFS 1.11 is not able to access them.

Currently there is only one workaround: Please back up the files and create the Ext3 file system again. Give the mkfs.ext3 tool the -I 128 switch. Finally, restore all files with the backup.

Running programs on an Ext2/Ext3 volume on Windows Vista

Currently it is not possible to start a program on Vista if UAC is enabled and the program's executable is stored on an Ex2/Ext3 volume. An "invalid parameter" message box appears, but the program does not start.

UAC is the feature of Vista that prompts the user to elevate the user privileges to administrator level when necessary. UAC is enabled by default. It is not recommended to disable it.

The problem is caused by Vista's internals: There is some code that compares whether the name of the file system type is one of the following: "NTFS", "FAT", "FAT32", "CDFS", "NPFS", "MSFS" or "UDF". If there is a match, it is one of Microsoft's file system types and a lot of code is skipped in the Multiple UNC Provider (MUP) implementation of Vista. If the file system type is a third-party type, for example "Ext2", some code runs in the MUP of Vista that always generates an ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER error status code due to a bug of Vista.

File names which end with a dot character

It is not possible to access or create files and directories if their name ends on a dot character ".".

When the Windows Explorer specifies a file name with a trailing dot, Window's Win32 subsystem removes that dot and the file system driver gets a create/open request with a wrong file name. (It mimics some obscure DOS behavior.)

Synchronization issue when used with Windows NT 4.0

Currently there is a compatibility issue with Windows NT 4.0: When drive letters are created or deleted with the setup program or with the "IFS Drives" item on the control panel, lists of hard disk drives in Windows NT Explorer and other windows are not automatically updated. Please choose View/Update in the appropriate menu. Sometimes Windows NT Explorer shows a wrong icon for a created drive letter.

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