I just bought two 500 GB hard drives for my Mac for the purposes of backing up ten older hard drives to it. One hard drive (200 GB, pretty much full) is from my Linux machine.

I tried installing Linux via VirtualBox, but I can't seem to mount the external to my vbox installation. In either case, I get an error that it can't read the media, where I either must eject or initialize.

In Disk Utility, I can see all the hard drive partitions but I can't mount it or do anything with it.

The machine that this hard drive came from is dead now, and I don't have access to other Linux machines.

  • I will response with screenshots when I get a chance
    – dassouki
    Jun 28, 2011 at 2:07
  • Why not try using exFAT instead? Most modern Linux-distros should support it. OS X (from later updates of 10.5 and forwards) supports it and so does Windows.
    – user21543
    Apr 12, 2012 at 15:49

3 Answers 3


You can mount ext2/3/4-Volumes using MacFUSE with the fuse-ext2 Driver.

  • I'll try it when I get home and keep you posted :)
    – dassouki
    Jun 21, 2011 at 13:30
  • @dassouki: Interested to see how you go with this. I want to do something similar.
    – boehj
    Jun 21, 2011 at 23:09
  • Doesn't work, and still the same error
    – dassouki
    Jun 22, 2011 at 1:52
  • 1
    Do you know if the Linux Volume(s) were set up using LVM some non-standard partition schema? Can you show how Disk Utility displays that disk? Jun 22, 2011 at 10:58
  • Any news on this, trying to do the same thing
    – andy
    Dec 20, 2011 at 6:03

There's a commercial product from Paragon called ExtFS for Mac.

I did test is for a few days a while back and it wasn't very fast but got the job (of reading my external ext3 drive) done.

You can try-before-buy, so you'll know if that's what you are looking for.

Btw: I do have Linux in a VM on my Mac to access these files and I'll copy the files I need from the Linux VM via SSH to my mac. Or the other option I use enabling a Windows share on the Mac and copy the files from the Linux VM to the Mac using that share.

These files are on an external USB drive, so if your drives are internal you may consider buying a USB docking stating for SATA drive, e.g Sharkoon Quickport Combo. USB drives shouldn't be a problem to connect to a VM - unless as previously mentioned the discs where used in a RAID or with a volume manager like LVM.


Have you tried booting your Mac from a Linux LiveCD and copying the data from the ext3/4 drive to an HFS+ drive, possibly one of your 500 GB drives?

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