Access Ext3/Ext2 file system on Mac OSX Lion (10.7)

On Mac if you want to access ext3/etx2 filesystems, which are used by Linux systems, you will find lots of links on net but all are pretty outdate and they don’t work for Lion. So, here is the updated version, which works. At least for me. 😉

You will need two softwares:-

  1. OSXFuseDownload link
  2. Fuse-ext2Download link

Download and install them in the sequence shown above.

Fuse-ext2 needs MacFuse to run, but this is no longer maintained and does not work on Lion. OSXFuse is the next generation MacFuse, but Fuse-ext2 is not meant to work with this. Fortunately OSXFuse includes “MacFUSE Compatibility Layer”. Just make sure to select this option when installing OSXFuse and you are good to go.

When both of them are installed, then try plugging in ext3 or etx2 partitioned disk and they should get automatically mounted, just like any other disk. Note, after installing them you may or may not need to restart your system.

PS. You will be able to read the disks but not write to it. As of now write option is not reliable.




53 responses to “Access Ext3/Ext2 file system on Mac OSX Lion (10.7)”

  1. John T Avatar
    John T

    Timely! I decided to move my ext2 formatted usb drive (music and video storage) over to my mac to jaikoz today, and you just saved me the research!


    1. Apple Grew Avatar

      Glad it helped. 🙂

  2. Mark Avatar

    Well done!! Full support for my linux usb drive in a few clicks 🙂
    Thanks indeed.

  3. Ed Avatar

    Is a 2TB drive, ext3 formatted (in a Popcorn Hour media player) accessible on my mac?
    In other words; is there a limit in drive TB’s to work with OsXFuse
    I didn’t purchase the drive yet.

    1. Apple Grew Avatar

      I didn’t find any such limitation, but I suggest that you ask this question at their forum at!forum/osxfuse-group .

  4. lonetree Avatar

    The disk got mounted. But its only read, no write support?

  5. […] doesn’t work on Lion and is abandoned and all the Fuse folks have scattered every which way. This blog post claims that OSXFuse + Fuse-ext2 will work on Lion, but I don’t have enough confidence in all […]

  6. Julien Avatar

    Wonderfull, it works !!!!
    Many thanks to you.

    1. Apple Grew Avatar

      You are welcome. 🙂

  7. […] Recipe Before starting, it is worth reading this recent blog entry which provides an […]

  8. […] Recipe Before starting, it is worth reading this recent blog entry which provides an […]

  9. Frode Avatar


    will this solution read ext4 files as well?


    1. Apple Grew Avatar

      I haven’t tested but this should.

    2. Caleb Avatar

      Yes it worked for me with EXT4!!
      Partition was ext4 created by ubuntu 11.04 and read very well on os 10.7.4 lion.
      Thanks for the great tutorial!

  10. Eric Avatar

    Dynamite! Thanks.

  11. macmadness86 Avatar

    Thanks, this is great! Most guides are confusing. This one is simple. Nicely done.

    1. Apple Grew Avatar

      Thanks and you are welcome.

  12. Matthew Avatar

    It is important to note that if you are running Link Aggregation on your system (Like usinga OSX Server) That install this will disable your link aggregation.

    What i did was install, copy, uninstall and my link was back up and data was copied. Now this solution will only work if you dont need the EXT3 drive attached all the time.

  13. bobby Avatar

    works perfectly. thanks!

  14. Paul van Oss Avatar

    Thanks, that was easy!

    You have any idea if/when writing to ext2/ext3 will be possible? I would like to back-up on Linux.

    1. Apple Grew Avatar

      Sorry I have no information on that. Since you are using Mac, I would suggest using TimeMachine. This is not portable across systems but is easy, intuitive and very good.

  15. George Avatar

    No love. Then again I’m using an EXT3 formated partition from a Synology NAS. For reference I’m running OSX 10.7.3.

  16. RS Avatar

    Thank you very much.
    Works fine with 10.7.4 and an EXTFS3 drive, writing to it too!

  17. Bono Avatar

    it all works fine. But writing takes ages, it is not possible to transfer data of 200 GB within reasonable time. In about 6 hours it copied only 1.5 GBs. Did anybody else have similar observations?

    1. Yann Avatar

      Same issue here with fuse-ext2 v0.0.7 under Lion 10.7.4. It is definitely very slow in write mode. Same kind of speed (around 250Mo per hour).

  18. Victor Avatar


  19. Erik Avatar


    I have installed the software as described on my MacBook Pro 2010 with Lion. I have connected the hard drive via USB/external controller to the computer but it does not show.

    The drive is taken from a broken Netgear ReadyNas NV+ which I am pretty sure uses Ext3.

    Any ideas?

    1. Apple Grew Avatar

      Not sure, but I would suggest that you test your drive with a Linux system first. Make sure that it is working.

    2. Bash Avatar

      Hey Erik,

      I’m in the same boat. Have you had any luck?

  20. […] Once you’re all set, just plug the USB stick in, wait 10 seconds or so (plus however long you expect your commands to take), then unplug it. Any output from the command(s) will be piped into a file called ‘log.txt’, which you can read by plugging it into your computer. Note your computer will need to be able to read the ext3 filesystem to mount the USB drive, so use Linux or install OSXFuse and fuse-ext2 on Mac OS X as described here. […]

  21. Jeff Avatar

    Links provided are not compatible with Mountain Lion.

  22. marcelor Avatar

    Worked like a charm on Mountain Lion 10.8.2. Thanks!!

  23. Alex Avatar

    Thanks man,

    Works like a clock on 10.7.5. I had to revive my otherwise dead NAS MyBookLive 2T. I took it out of the case and stuck in my Mac so the next problem was to read it and your stuff was really handy. Appreciate.

    Best regards

  24. […] nice) ext3 filesystems on external drives from OS X, without having to start up a virtual machine. This page suggested I use OSXFuse and […]

  25. David von Oheimb Avatar
    David von Oheimb

    fuse-ext2 works but is very slow (I get some 7 MB/s reading and 1 MB/s writing via USB 2.0).
    If you have the choice, better use Apple’s HFS+ on the external drive, which is much faster (I get some 30 MB/s both reading and writing, both on Mac and Linux).

    HFS+ is supported by Linux mostly out-of-the-box. To get write access even to a journaled partition on Ubuntu, install support via `sudo apt-get install hfsprogs` and when the drive is mounted (e.g., automatically), re-mount it writable using `sudo -o remount,force,rw /mount/point`

    1. Nirupam Biswas Avatar

      Thanks for sharing this.

    2. David von Oheimb Avatar
      David von Oheimb

      Oops, correction: the mount command is of course
      sudo mount -o remount,force,rw /mount/point

      BTW, recently I suffered from a system crash apparently due to fuse-ext2

  26. Jim Morrison Avatar

    Thanks, great post…

    … Do you know how to mount the second partition? /boot mounts automatically but I can’t mount the main partition…

    I’ve tried two old drives.. same problem?



  27. troj Avatar

    thumbs up men…

  28. Jacobo Avatar

    It works!
    Thanks a lot, you saved me a lot of time!


  29. faiz Avatar

    Thank you, it works on ML

  30. […] Acceso a sistemas de ficheros EXT3/EXT2 (para acceder a sistemas Linux) […]

  31. […] Access EXT3/EXT2 File Systems on Mac […]

  32. Kevin Avatar

    It still works thanks!!!

  33. […] blog article explains how to setup your Mac in order to get read-only access to Ext2 and Ext3. This solution […]

  34. […] found also this, where it’s said that most of available solutions don’t work for Lion, but this […]

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