Access & Format EXT2 or EXT3 File System From Windows (XP Vista 7 8) Directly – Free & WITHOUT Using a Boot Disc! (For USB Flash Drive On Asus RT-N56U)

Those of you utilizing Asus‘ fantastic RT-N56U wireless router for a file / media  server via the 2 USB ports and flash drives are aware that you have few options if your flash drives are >32gb and you run Windows 7 as your primary OS on your main PC or laptop.

While the Asus router does recognize the NTFS file system, I’ve found it to be a VERY buggy experience with files frequently becoming corrupt and the media server often failing to index newly added files. Windows 7 GUI does not provide the FAT32 file system as another drive format option, opting instead for the exFAT file format (enhanced / extended FAT file system not subject to the FAT32 32gb limitation). But the exFAT file system is apparently not supported or recognized by the Asus router as of firmware version 3.0.0.4.360.

So what to do? Well, since the kernel of the Asus router OS is a flavor of Unix, it will recognize the EXT2 and EXT3 file systems without a hitch. But Windows does not have built-in support for the file system, and cannot read, write or format the implementation. This is where 2 products come in to save the day!

The first – a free open-source EXT2 / EXT3 Windows driver for reading these file systems like any other NTFS or FAT drive you add to your Windows machine – EXT2FSD ( http://www.ext2fsd.com/ ). With this driver added, and after a reboot, you can plug in an EXT2 or EXT3 formatted flash drive and start reading / writing files straight away. However, the ability to format a flash drive – WITHOUT EXITING WINDOWS AND USING A BOOT DISC – comes from a second product. EaseUS‘s Partition Master software ( http://www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm ) performs the EXT2/3 formatting right from the Windows application, and the functionality exists in their Freeware version too!

Between these two free tools, you can quickly get your >32gb drives (or smaller too for that matter) formatted to the best file system for your Asus RT-N56U router. Good luck!

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