Accessing Linux file system (Ext2) on Mac OSX

Earlier today i was clearing out some old junk and found a few harddisk drives lying around that i had forgotten about. They were covered in dust, so must have been a few years old. Either way, this is great i can use them as an external backup disk for my server.

ext2 Mac

I attached each of the old harddisk to an USB 2.0 External Drive Enclosure Kit one at a time connected to my Mac. There were 3 old 80GB harddisks, two of them worked fine as they were from an old Windows PC and was used as a slave drive for data only (no OS installed) until i connected the final harddrive. All of a sudden it could not be initialised and read on the Mac. Not convinced that it might be a faulty disk, i searched the web for an answer. It turns out that Mac wasn't able to access ext2 file system so it could be a possibility that the disk had an old Linux OS installed on it.

Now the question is how can i access a Linux file system? Another search on the web lead me to a Mac application on SourceForge.net that allows users to be able to mount a Linux file system onto a Mac. This piece of application is called Mac OS X Ext2 Filesystem (ext2fsx) and does just that, plain and simple. Once installed and system restarted, i gave it another go at mounting the disk. Right enough, it had Linux OS installed on the harddisk and i was immediately able to read the content of the disk. What a great little program but the only downside is that it is read-only access and you could not write to the disk.

However, being able to view the contents of the disk was enough for me. It's also the same trying to access NTFS (Windows file system) on a Mac, you could read the contents of the disk but not write to it, only slight difference is that this can be done out of the box on a Mac.