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If a Ubuntu partition can't be accessed by Windows, it may be in a different format. I'll show you how to access that partition and see if it is configured so Windows can use it.

I made partition during an installation of Ubuntu and never named it. So the problem is that now I cannot access or see the partition in Windows; while it does remain available in Ubuntu. Can you tell me how to access it in Windows 7?

In this excerpt from Answercast #11, I walk through the steps needed to find a lost partition on a drive and discover if it can be viewed in Windows.

Ubuntu partition in Windows


My guess is that the partition is completely visible in Windows Disk Manager as a partition in use. Whether or not it can see its contents will depend on a couple of things.

Find the partition

Let's start by right-clicking on Computer (the thing that used to be "My Computer" in Windows XP) and click on Manage.

Once the management console opens up, click on Disk Manager and you should see, on the right-hand pane, a listing of all of the partitions and all of the disks that Windows sees. Chances are your Ubuntu partition will be there except it simply won't have a drive letter assigned to it.

You could right-click on it and assign it a drive letter right there.

Linux disk formats

Now, one of the things to realize is that Ubuntu (in fact, all Linux softwares) support several different disk formatting options that Windows does not support. In fact, the default disk format, in most versions of Linux, is not a format that Windows supports natively.

You won't be able to see the contents of that drive unless it had been formatted as either FAT32 or NTFS. Any of the native Linux file systems (such as, I think, EXT or EXT3 and several others) simply don't work. But you should be able to at least see the partition and acknowledge that it exists in Windows simply by looking at that drive manager.

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Article C5231 - April 22, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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April 23, 2012 2:36 AM

There are EXT filesystem drivers available for Windows. One example is at and another is at I've used one of these or similar with an EXT3 file system (can't remember which one now) and had no problems.

April 25, 2012 9:04 AM

The way I get around this problem is to create a FAT32 partition and use it for sharing files between operating systems, since Windows and Linux both support FAT32 perfectly. If you have very large files, you can use NTFS for the sharing partition. NTFS is not perfectly supported in Linux, but you can add the support (if needed by your distro) and access the NTFS partition in both Linux and Windows.

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