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.
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.
HFS+ for Windows is $19.95
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.
MacDrive may work well but it comes with a hefty $49.99 price tag.
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!
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.