Ways to Read Mac-Formatted Drives on Windows
If you own both a Mac and a PC, you might find that at one point or another, you need to access files stored on a Mac-formatted drive from your Windows computer. While this can seem like an impossible feat as the two platforms use different file systems, there are a few methods you can use to read Mac-formatted drives on Windows.
- Use a Third-Party Utility
One of the easiest ways to read Mac-formatted drives on Windows is to use a third-party utility designed explicitly for this purpose. Some popular options include Paragon HFS+, MacDrive, and HFSExplorer. These utilities allow you to access and read Mac-formatted drives from your Windows computer without having to reformat them.
- Use an External Drive Enclosure
If you have an external hard drive that’s formatted for Mac, you can use an external drive enclosure to connect it to your Windows computer. Simply remove the hard drive from the enclosure, connect it to the enclosure, and plug the enclosure into your Windows computer. This method allows you to access the drive as an external device rather than a drive partition within your computer.
- Convert the Drive to ExFAT or NTFS
If it’s possible, converting your Mac-formatted drive to a format that’s compatible with both platforms is a quick and easy way to access it on your Windows computer. Note that the conversion process will erase all data on the drive, so make sure to back up your files before converting the drive to a new format.
ExFAT is a file system that supports both Mac and Windows, and you can convert your Mac-formatted drive to ExFAT using Disk Utility on your Mac. Once the drive is formatted in ExFAT, you can plug it in your Windows computer and access it as usual.
Alternatively, you can format the drive to NTFS, which is the default file system for Windows. Note that this format won’t be writable on your Mac, so it’s best to use this only if you don’t plan to use the drive on a Mac again.
- Use a Virtual Machine
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of converting your Mac-formatted drive, you can use a virtual machine running Mac OS X on your Windows computer. Programs like VirtualBox, VMWare, and Parallels allow you to set up a virtual machine that runs a full version of the Mac operating system.
Once you set up the virtual machine, you can access your Mac-formatted drives through the virtual environment. This method is a bit more complicated than the other options, but it’s a great solution if you need access to your Mac-formatted drives regularly.