By Emily / Last Updated October 9, 2020

Need to format SD card to Ext3 on Windows 10

Ext3 is the new version of Ext2 and adds journaling mechanism. It is commonly used by the Linux operating systems. So if you want to switch your operating system from Windows to Linux, or plan to dual boot your computer onto Linux and Windows, you will need to format your SD card, memory card, USB flash drive, and other external hard drives to the Ext3 file system in Windows computer. Then the hard drive can be recognized by Linux OS and used to store system files or other personal data.

Cannot format SD card to Ext3 via Windows native tools

When it comes to formatting an SD card to Ext3 in Windows10/8/7, you might first try Disk Management and File Explorer, which are two commonly-used Windows Built-in tools. But when you format an SD card via those two methods, you will find there are only NTFS, FAT32 and exFAT to choose from, no Ext3 file system option. The same result will appear even when you use Diskpart utility, and you will get an error message saying: Virtual Disk Service error: The file system is incompatible.

From the error message, you can get a conclusion that the Ext3 is not compatible with Windows 10/8/7, and it cannot be recognized in Windows, so you are not able to format SD card to Ext3 using Windows built-in formatting tools.

Easily format SD card to Ext3 via free partition manager

Now that Windows built-in tools mentioned above do not allow you to format hard drive to Ext3, you can consider some reliable third-party partition manager software. Here, we highly recommend the AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. This freeware works on all editions of Windows 10/8/7 and Windows XP/Vista. It can format SD cards and other data storage media to Ext2/3/4 in Windows computer. Besides that, it allows you to format hard drive to NTFS, exFAT, FAT32 as well. Moreover, it is able to format 2TB hard drive to FAT32.

Before formatting process:
①Connect the SD card to a working computer running Windows and make sure that it is recognized and detected by the computer.
②Back up everything important on the SD card if necessary since formatting operation will delete all data.
③Download the freeware. Install it on your computer following the hints.

1. Run the freeware to enter its main interface. Right-click the SD card and choose “Format Partition”.

Format Partition

2. Choose “Ext3” under the file system and click “OK”.

Select Ext3

3. Back to the main interface, commit the operation by clicking “Apply”.


Note: Windows can’t recognize the Ext2/3/4 file system, you won’t see your Ext3 SD card in Windows File Explorer.


After walking through the text above, it is evident that the AOMEI Partition Assistant can enable you to format SD card to Ext3 in Windows with most ease. What’s more, it can also help to convert FAT32 to NTFS without data loss and vice versa. But if you want to experience more advanced functions including converting system disk between MBR and GPT partition styles, converting primary partition to logical drive, and vice versa, etc, you can upgrade it to Professional edition.