How To Read A Mac Drive With Windows

read-mac-files-with-windows-feat

If you work in a mixed operating system environment and need to read both Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows PC regularly, it might benefit you to learn how to access and read Mac HFS+ formatted hard drives from a Windows PC.

Ever since Mac OS X Leopard, Apple added the innate ability to read NTFS-formatted hard drives but Microsoft Windows never got around to reciprocating. Luckily though, there are a few applications that will help you do just that.

Paragon HFS+ for Windows

Mostly known for their popular product, NTFS for Mac, Paragon offers HFS+ for Windows — another fairly decent yet unheard of application that will allow you to read a Mac partition with Windows. In fact, it grants you both read and write access to any HFS+ or HFSX Mac partitions. Paragon HFS+ for Windows works with Windows XP through Windows 7 and is also compatible with Boot Camp.

read mac partition windows

HFS+ for Windows is $19.95

MacDrive

Probably one of the most well-known applications to enable you to write and read a Mac drive with Windows, MacDrive is integrated into the system so well and allows you access to HFS-formatted hard disks as though it was just another Windows drive. Not only will it read external USB Mac drives, MacDrive also operates well from within Boot Camp, and other virtualisation software like VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop so you’ll have easy access to the files hosted on your Mac drive while operating in Windows.

read mac files windows

MacDrive may work well but it comes with a hefty $49.99 price tag.

catacombae HFSExplorer

Now this is a free application. Even though it hasn’t been updated since 2008, there weren’t very many updates in the world of file systems; trust me. And although its name is HFS-Explorer, it adds the ability to read HFS, HFS+ and HFSX file systems to you Windows PC. Pretty nifty!

read mac drive windows

Essentially, HFSExplorer allows you to read any Mac drive with Windows in a graphical file browser. Once you have access to the drive, you generally have read rights so you’ll be able to copy any file over to your computer. Additionally, HFSExplorer can also read the mysterious DMG Mac disk image.

So there you go! Three applications that will allow you to write and read a Mac drive from a Windows PC. If you know of other solutions which were not listed here, feel free to chime in.

About author
Jackson Chung, M.D. is the founder of TheDailyBuggle. He is also the Associate Editor for MakeUseOf. When he's not working, you'll find him fiddling with his camera and enjoying chai latté. Catch him (if you can) on Twitter @aenon1mus. He encourages you to join TheDailyBuggle on Facebook and Twitter.
17 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Nice tip on catacombae HFSExplorer. Thanks.

  2. TransMac is another very good mac reading/writing piece of kit for windows. Lets you build mac discs with whatever s/ware you need. Thanks for the word up on the other progs. Can never find them when I wanted them tho lol.

  3. Your pricing for HFS+ for Windows is WAAAAAY off. I just double-checked it and it is only $19.95.

    • Thanks, Bruce. I’ve corrected the post

  4. Your review is helpful but, I’m afraid, only if the software in question is reliable. There are some very scary reviews about total HD corruption on the amazon and other websites in which MacDrive reviews appear.

    Can you advise? I cannot afford a breakdown of my brand new fully upgraded iMac!

    • Hey Joel,

      How’s your setup like? What is it you want to use MacDrive for, specifically?

    • You should try Paragon HFS+, it’s totally reliable

  5. I am using Paragon HFS+ for Windows and it works awesome, I am dual booting windows 7 and Snow Leopard, and I can read and write with no problems back and forth between the tow OS’s

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  13. DiskInternals puts out a free reader for a TON of filesystems, including Mac. It’s also more recently updated than catacombae (at this writing, July 2014): http://www.diskinternals.com/linux-reader/

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