How To Read Mac Hard Drive On Windows


You have an external hard drive for Mac with tons of important data. Lately, you have given your MacBook for repairs and are in urgent need to access data. Just then you see a spare Windows laptop and plug your Mac hard drive into it, what would happen?

  1. How To Read Mac Hard Drive On Windows 10
  2. External Hard Drive Not Reading
  3. How To Read Mac Hard Drive On Windows 10
  4. New Hard Drive Os Install

There’s even a way to make a Mac read an NTFS drive Write To Your NTFS Drives Again in OS X El Capitan (For Free) Write To Your NTFS Drives Again in OS X El Capitan (For Free) Some of the most common methods of adding NTFS support broke with the recent release of El Capitan, but you can still write to your Windows drives with a bit of tinkering. Currently, hard drives for Windows PC are always formatted with NTFS, while hard disks for Mac are formatted with HFS+. However, when we connect a NTFS formatted disk to Mac, Mac OS X doesn't allow us to write files to the drive neither edit files, though it can read a NTFS drive.

Any Windows program can read from or write to the Mac drive. The app costs $19.95, but it also offers a 10-day free trial. If you need to recover files from a drive, 10 days is plenty of time to install this file system driver, copy your files over, and uninstall it. Best free data recovery software for Mac and Windows: is HFSExplorer?HFSExplorer is an application that can read Mac-formatted har.

Although, you will be able to physically connect it to your Windows laptop or desktop won’t be able to read it. Yes! There are some modern external hard disk drives that can read both formats, but it could be that you didn’t invest in one.

What would you do now? How would you read a Mac-formatted drive on your Windows machine? Read On!

Also Read:Best Tips To Improve Hard Drive Speed & Performance in Windows 10

How To Read Mac Drives on Windows

To read Mac drive on a Windows laptop or desktop, we are going to even have a look at scenarios where you might be wanting to access a variety of file systems i.e. APFS, HFS, HFS+, and many others. Or, if your aim is to access older file systems (i.e. prior to APFS).

– Paragon APFS for Windows

The APFS or Apple File System was introduced in 2017 and has ever since been a part of macOS, Apple devices, and iOS. For the scenario we mentioned above, where you need to access a Mac-formatted HDD, flash drive, or SSD on APFS for Windows by Paragon Software. Here’s how it works –

Price: US$ 49.95

How Does Paragon APFS for Windows Work?

1. Download, install and run APFS for Windows by Paragon

2. Plug-in APFS drive on your Windows PC

3. Your drive will now show up in Explorer

Also Read:Best Hard Disk Partition Manager Tool For Mac

– MacDrive

MacDrive has been a spectacular way to read Mac-formatted drives on Windows. Not just from now but, from the last 20 years or so. Something that tells you how simple it is, is the very fact that it adds up to your PC just as any other drive. What’s even better? The application even lets you create, partition, and repair Mac disks. Another great aspect of MacDrive is that it works equally well with both HFS+ as well as the latest APFS drives.

Free Trial: 5 Days

Price: Licenses start at US$ 49.99

Where Does MacDrive Gain An Edge Over Its Competitors?

While most of us have Macs running APFS, what if you have older Macs that are still running HFS+. You will have to invest in a separate version that supports HFS+. That’s where MacDrive gains an edge.

How Does MacDrive for Windows Works?

1. Download MacDrive

2. Plugin your Mac disk into your Windows computer

3. Think that you will have to run MacDrive like other programs? You won’t need to do that. Mac drives will now appear as normal drives on your computer. You have the choice to either access Mac disks right from your computer’s desktop or from any of your desired applications.

– HFSExplorer

Last but not the least, we have HFSExplorer, which can help you read Mac drives on Windows for free. It can read HFS, HFS+, and HFSX file systems. Remember the scenario, where we talked about working on Macs with file systems older than APFS (Macs with file systems prior to 2017)? HFSExplorer is the tool you need.

How To Use It On Windows?

Simply download the installer and it will place a shortcut to HFSExplofrer inside its start menu folder from where it can be accessed.

Isn’t exFAT The Way To Go?

You have taken off all that important data from a Mac-formatted drive and have the knowledge that exFAT has full read and write support for both Mac and Windows OS. Bringing in the financial angle, you might also wonder “Why need to spend on third-party software when things can be done for free?”

Quite a legit thought! But, before you dash ahead and choose exFAT as a file system, let us tell you, you are going to lose all your files on the Mac drive you’ve selected. So, unless your Mac drive consists of unimportant files and folders, you shouldn’t even think of taking this step.

Wrapping Up:

Many of us love juggling with separate operating systems. Let’s say some of your family members are die-hard Windows fans whereas the others swear by Mac, so how would you share data? We hope that this post answers this well. Have a faster, cheaper, and better way to read Mac drives on Windows PC, we are all ears, do drop it down in the comments section below.

Releted Topics

  • How To Fix There Is Insufficient Disk Space To Complete Operation >
  • How to Find Large Files and Free Up Disk Space – Windows 10 >
  • Fixed – Disk Management is not Loading in Windows 10 >
  • Best Disk Management Software for Windows 10 in 2022 >

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.

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.

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.


How To Read Mac Hard Drive On Windows 10

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.

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.

External Hard Drive Not Reading

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.

How To Read Mac Hard Drive On Windows 10


New Hard Drive Os Install

  • › How to Find Your Missing USB Drive in Windows 7, 8, and 10
  • › How to Read a Zip Disk on a Modern PC or Mac
  • › How to Make a USB Drive That Can Be Read on Macs and PCs
  • › What’s the Difference Between APFS, Mac OS Extended (HFS+), and ExFAT?
  • › Why Does Windows Want to Format My Mac Drives?
  • › What Does “LFG” Mean, and How Do You Use It?
  • › Commander Keen 4: The First and Only Video Game I Loved
  • › What Is the Log4j Flaw, and How Does it Affect You?