I have a computer that has both Fedora and Windows 10 installed, and I wish to be able to reach the Fedora file system while the computer is running on Windows.
Is this even possible?
LVM (Logical Volume Manager) is a popular storage management system used in Linux distributions. It enables users to manage their storage devices easily and efficiently by abstracting physical storage devices into logical volumes. However, if you have a dual-boot PC running both Linux and Windows, you may wonder if you can access the LVM partitions from Windows. In this blog post, we will discuss if it is possible to use Windows to mount an LVM and how to do it.
What is LVM?
LVM is a software-based storage management system that allows users to create, resize, and move logical volumes easily. It is commonly used in Linux distributions and provides many benefits, including:
- Better utilization of storage space
- Flexible management of logical volumes
- Easy resizing of volumes without the need for unmounting or formatting
- Improved performance through striping and mirroring
LVM is composed of three main components: physical volumes (PVs), volume groups (VGs), and logical volumes (LVs). PVs are physical storage devices such as hard drives, SSDs, or RAID arrays. VGs are a collection of PVs that are managed as a single unit. LVs are logical partitions created from VGs and can be formatted with any file system.
Can Windows Mount an LVM?
Unfortunately, Windows does not have native support for LVM, and it cannot mount LVM partitions directly. However, there are third-party tools available that can help you access LVM partitions from Windows. One such tool is Linux Reader by DiskInternals.
Linux Reader is a free tool that allows Windows users to read and extract files from Linux file systems. It supports a wide range of file systems, including ext2, ext3, ext4, ReiserFS, and XFS. Moreover, it can access LVM volumes and extract files from them.
How to Mount LVM in Windows using Linux Reader
To mount LVM partitions in Windows using Linux Reader, follow these steps:
- Download and install Linux Reader on your Windows PC from the DiskInternals website.
- Launch Linux Reader and select the LVM volume you want to access from the list of available drives.
- Click the “Mount” button to mount the LVM volume. You can choose to mount it in read-only mode if you only need to extract files, or you can mount it in read-write mode if you want to make changes to the volume.
- Once the LVM volume is mounted, you can access it from Windows Explorer and extract files as needed.
- When you are finished, click the “Unmount” button to unmount the LVM volume.
Limitations of Using Linux Reader to Mount LVM in Windows
While Linux Reader is a useful tool for accessing LVM partitions from Windows, it has some limitations. Firstly, it is a read-only tool, which means you cannot make changes to the LVM volume from Windows. If you need to modify the LVM volume, you will have to boot into Linux and make the changes from there.
Secondly, Linux Reader does not support all LVM features. For example, it cannot access encrypted LVM volumes or LVM snapshots. If your LVM volume uses any of these features, you will not be able to access them from Windows using Linux Reader.
If you need to access LVM volumes from Windows frequently or require read-write access, you may want to consider alternative solutions. One such solution is to use a virtual machine (VM) to run Linux on Windows. You can install Fedora (or any other Linux distribution) in a VM and access LVM volumes from there.
Another solution is to use a network file sharing protocol such as Samba to share the LVM volume from Linux to Windows. This requires setting up a Samba server on the Linux machine and configuring it to share the LVM volume. Once set up, you can access the LVM volume from Windows using the Samba protocol.
In summary, Windows cannot mount LVM partitions natively, but third-party tools such as Linux Reader can help you access LVM volumes from Windows. While Linux Reader is a useful tool, it has some limitations, including read-only access and lack of support for some LVM features. If you need to access LVM volumes frequently or require read-write access, you may want to consider alternative solutions such as using a virtual machine or setting up a Samba server.
The FreeOTFE project has been forked into LibreCrypt, but the last update was made in 2016, and it probably doesn’t support LVM2 anymore, and is no longer being supported. Another project called Virtual Volumes was created in 2015, but I wouldn’t recommend using either of these programs.
Even if they work somewhat, I wouldn’t use them on Windows for anything other than read-only purposes.
Instead, I suggest trying out Ubuntu from the Microsoft Store to see if it supports mounting the partitions. However, even if it works, I don’t think Windows has any means of accessing the partitions, so you’ll need to use either WSL or copy files back and forth between WSL and Windows folders.