By Emily / Last Updated May 5, 2023

Why format hard drive to Ext4 in Windows?

It is well known that Ext4 is the default file system for Linux system. If you are planning to switch to Linux from Windows, you may need to format your internal or external hard drive as Ext4 on Windows operating system, so as to make them be recognized by Linux successfully. Or if you are dual booting Windows and Linux, you will probably want to access files on your Linux system from Windows at some time, which requires you to format Ext4 Windows as well.

Can Windows format Ext4?

When it comes to formatting hard drive to another different file system, most users will immediately turn to Windows built-in tools, like Diskpart, File Explorer as well as Disk Management. But can you format hard drive to Ext4 or other Linux file system like Ext3 or Ext2 in Windows 11/10/8/7? If you plan to give it a try, you will be stuck with following awkward situations.

1. In Disk Management, you will find there is no Ext 4/3/2 file system option for you to choose from.

Format Ext4 Disk Management

2. In Windows File Explorer, right click the target drive, choose “Format”, and you will find there is no Ext4/Ext3/Ext2 option under File System menu, either.

Format Ext4 Windows

3. In Diskpart Command Prompt, when you input format fs=ext4, you will receive an error message saying Virtual Disk Service error: The file system is incompatible.

Format Ext4 Cmd Windows

Obviously, Windows cannot format disks to Ext4 through the common methods since Ext4 file system is not compatible with Windows 10/8/7.

Freeware to format Ext4 on Windows successfully 

After walking through the content above, you might wonder “is there any way to successfully format hard drive to Ext4 in Windows?”. Yes. If the Windows built-in formatting methods do not work, you can use a third-party free partition manager–AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.

This freeware is designed for Windows 7/8/10/11. It supports almost all popular file systems including Ext2, Ext3, EXT4, exFAT, FAT32, NTFS. With it, you can format partition to Ext4 in Windows easily. Here we will focus on the formatting operation.

Before you format Ext4:
Formatting will erase all data on the target disk partition, so always be sure to back up your data before starting the formatting process. You can directly copy partition to another drive for data protection.
If you want to format hard drive to Ext4 in Windows Server computer, please try AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right-click a partition of the disk you want to format and select Format Partition.

Format NTFS To Ext4

Step 2. Choose Ext4 in the File System list and click OK. If you want to format to Ext3 in Windows 10/8/7, you can choose Ext3 instead.

Choose Ext4

Note: from the given file system options, you can also format USB to Ext2 and Ext3 as well.

Step 3.Click Apply and then Proceed to start the formatting process.


In simple steps, you can format SD card, USB flash drive or hard drive to Ext4 in Windows. But Windows can’t read or recognize the Ext4 file system, thus your Ext4 formatted partition will not present in Windows File Explorer. You can access the Ext4 disk in Linux operating system.


Besides allowing you to format Ext4 Windows as a nice Ext4 formatter, AOMEI Partition Assistant could also help handle many other tough disk management problems such as formatting 2TB hard drive to FAT32, formatting write-protected disk, formatting internal hard drive to exFAT, formattingg RAW drive, etc.

More importantly, its advanced Professional edition comes with many more amazing functions you may need. For example, it allows you to get back lost partitions, convert boot disk from MBR to GPT for Windows 11 without deleting partitions, convert primary partition to logical drive without losing data, and vice versa, migrate OS to SSD, etc,