Pc Hard Drive To Mac

Windows can’t normally read Mac-formatted drives, and will offer to erase them instead. But third-party tools fill the gap and provide access to drives formatted with Apple’s HFS+ file system on Windows. This also allows you to restore Time Machine backups on Windows.

Pc Hard Drive To Mac

If you know you’re going to use a drive on both Mac and Windows, you should use the exFAT file system, which is compatible with both. But if you didn’t foresee that, you may have formatted your drive with Apple’s HFS Plus, which Windows can’t read by default. In fact, some manufacturers sell “Mac” drives pre-formatted with this Mac-only file system.

Connect the drive to the Mac. Open Disk Utility. The easiest way to do that is hit CMD and the spacebar at the same time and type in 'Disk Utility' to find the program. Select the drive. We have an external hard drive enclosure. Is there a possibility that we can transfer only the pictures from the laptop hard drive to my macbook using the external hard drive along through its usb and plugging it to the macbook. Will it harm the macbook.

  • Mac users need the network address for the Windows computer, the workgroup name, and the user name and password for the shared folder. To find this information on a Windows 10 computer: For the computer’s workgroup name and computer name, enter “view basic information” in the search field next to the Start button, then choose the Control.
  • Jun 22, 2018 Reading PC-formatted hard drives using your Mac is easy enough. Just plug in the drive, then access the files you need to use. But writing to that drive? Well, that's a little more complicated. This is due to the fact that NTFS, the file system utilized by Windows PCs, has limited support on Mac.

Don’t Format the Drive! (Yet)

When you connect a Mac-formatted drive to Windows, you’ll be informed that “you need to format the disk in drive X: before you can use it.” Don’t click the “Format disk” button or Windows will erase the contents of the drive–click “Cancel”!

This message appears because Windows doesn’t understand Apple’s HFS+ file system. That’s fine, because other applications do. Just don’t format the drive until you get the important files off the drive.

Of course, if the drive doesn’t have any important files on it, you can go ahead and format it. But be absolutely sure there’s nothing you need before you do.

Option One: HFSExplorer Is Free and Basic

RELATED:How to Restore Files From a Time Machine Backup on Windows

If you only need to get a couple files off the drive, we recommend HFSExplorer. It’s the only completely free way to access a Mac-formatted drive. It does require Java, however, so you’ll have to install that first. Then, install HFSExplorer like you would any other Windows program.


HFSExplorer isn’t fancy, though, and doesn’t have a lot of features. You can’t use it to write to Mac-formatted drives, and it doesn’t install a file system driver that integrates into File Explorer. But you can open HFSExplorer, read a Mac-formatted drive, and copy the files to your Windows PC without paying a dime. It can also mount Mac .dmg disk images to get at the files inside them.

This application’s read-only nature isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It ensures that no bug in the third-party driver can damage your Mac-formatted drive and the files on it. You can set read-only mode in other applications, too–but, if you’re not going to use their write support, there’s less reason to pay for them.

To use HFSExplorer, connect your Mac-formatted drive to your Windows PC and launch HFSExplorer. Click the “File” menu and select “Load File System From Device.” It will automatically locate the connected drive, and you can load it. You’ll see the contents of the HFS+ drive in the graphical window. Just select the files or folders you want, click “Extract,” and choose a folder. They’ll be copied to the location you choose on your PC.

Option Two: Paragon HFS+ is $20, But Offers Write Access and Better Integration

Paragon’s HFS+ for Windows is a bit fancier, but it’ll cost you. This tool installs a file system driver that allows you to access a Mac-formatted drive like any other drive in File Explorer, or any other Windows application with an open or save dialog. It boasts improved speed, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it were faster than HFSExplorer. And, unlike HFSExplorer, it offers full read/write access to Mac-formatted drives, so you can write to them from within Windows. Just install it, and Mac drives will show up like any other drive.

If you need to work with Mac-formatted drives on a regular basis and you want the operating system integration, speed, and write access, Paragon HFS+ is a great choice and will be worth it for you. But, if you just need to get some files off a Mac-formatted drive occasionally, this is overkill and you can save $20 by sticking with HFSExplorer.


Paragon does offer a 10-day free trial of HFS+ for Windows, so you can give it a try and see if it works for you. And, if you just need to get files off of a Mac-formatted drive once, you can just use the trial and be done with the application by the time it expires.

Mac To Pc External Hard Drive

Option Three: Mediafour MacDrive Costs $50 to $70, But Includes More Features

Mediafour’s MacDrive is similar to Paragon’s HFS+ for Windows, but with more features and polish. It’s noticeably more expensive than Paragon HFS+ too, at $50 for the Standard version and $70 for the Pro version.

For most people, this software won’t really be worth it. But it offers a few unique features, like support for Mac-formatted RAID disks. It also offers a graphical interface with support for verifying, repairing, and formatting Mac-formatted drives. Paragon’s HFS+ gets out of your way and doesn’t provide a graphical interface–it just enables access to HFS+ drives in File Explorer and other applications.

If you need all these tools, go for it–this is the most full-featured solution for working with Mac-formatted drives on Windows. But you probably don’t need all these tools.

Mediafour does offer a 5-day free trial of MacDrive–both the Standard and Pro versions–so you can give it a try and see if those features are worth it for you.

Option Four: Format the Drive as exFAT–But Warning, This Will Erase Your Data!

RELATED:What's the Difference Between FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS?

Once you’ve gotten all the data off the Mac-formatted drive, you’ll probably want to format it with the exFAT file system. Both Windows and Mac OS X have full read-write support for exFAT drives without any additional third-party software. FAT32 has some serious limitations–individual files can only be up to 4GB in size each, for example–but exFAT doesn’t.


Rather than use a Mac-formatted drive, you should get the important files off of it and use exFAT-formatted drives for moving data between Macs and PCs.

To format the drive in Windows, right-click it in the File Explorer window and select “Format.” Choose the “exFAT” file system in the list and click “Start.” Remember, this will erase all the files on the drive! Be absolutely sure you have your files off the drive and that you’ve selected the correct drive you want to format!

When you’re done, the drive should work on both Windows PCs and Macs with no problem.

By the way, this works great for Windows users too–Macs can’t natively write to the Windows NTFS file system, although they can read files from NTFS drives. So no matter what your primary platform, exFAT is probably the way to go.

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Hi Molly. I'm Greg, an installation specialist and 9 year Windows MVP, here to help you.
Right click the Start button to open Disk Management, look for the device in the drive map by scrolling down to find it by size. If no drive letter, right click on the drive to issue one so it shows up in File Explorer.
Recent Windows Updates are causing device problems in Windows 10, including USB flash and external drives. You should be able to access and back up your files on another PC. Then here are some things to try:
Find the device under Disk Drive (usually identified by Serial number you can google) in Device Manager reached by right clicking the Start Menu. From Driver tab choose Roll back. If that fails or isn't available choose Uninstall, restart PC to reinstall driver.
If this doesn't help the driver may be the USB controller for that USB port. Try the above for all USB Host and Hub controllers in Device Manager USB category.
If your keyboard and mouse are USB, first program the power button to effect the needed restart after Rolling back or uninstalling the driver. Go to Settings > System > Power & Sleep > Additional Power Settings > Choose what Power buttons do to choose Shutdown.
Run the Hardware Troubleshooter at Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.
Update the USB 3 or Chipset drivers from the PC or Device's Support Downloads web page. While there check for newer BIOS, Display, Sound, Bluetooth, Network and all other drivers to make sure the ones presently installed in Device Manager are latest.
You can check which Updates were installed just before this happened, then uninstall them at Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Installed Update History - look first for installed drivers. Then you can hide these Updates using the Hide Updates tool: https://www.howtogeek.com/224471/how-to-prevent...
You can also try to System Restore to a point before this happened, then check for Updates using the Hide Updates Tool to block the Updates offered: http://home.bt.com/tech-gadgets/computing/how-t...
Once the external is working here's how to copy large groups of files into their corresponding User folders: https://www.pcworld.com/article/2086566/the-man...
I hope this helps. Feel free to ask back any questions and let us know how it goes. I will keep working with you until it's resolved.
Standard Disclaimer: There are links to non-Microsoft websites. The pages appear to be providing accurate, safe information. Watch out for ads on the sites that may advertise products frequently classified as a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Products). Thoroughly research any product advertised on the sites before you decide to download and install it.
Windows MVP 2010-20
Millions helped via my tutorials and personally in forums for 12 years. Now an Independent Advisor.
I do not quit for those who are polite and cooperative.

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