How to Read a Mac-Formatted Drive on a Windows PC

Windows and macOS are two different Operating systems in terms of functioning. Though some features can be quite similar to each other, there is a major difference. You can install Windows on any Hardware disks, whereas you can only install macOS on an Apple’s manufactured Disk. So it becomes quite hard to read a Mac-formatted Drive on a Windows PC.

If you have a Mac-Formatted Drive with you and you wanna read it using Windows, then it’s ain’t gonna happen that easily because Windows don’t support macOS disk. Even so, if you connect your Mac-Formatted drive to your Windows Machine, you would find out that Windows detects the Disk yet you can’t read it, Windows would ask to Format the Disk.

This is because Windows and macOS use different File Systems. However, in this article, we will learn how to Read Mac- Formatted drive on  Windows using third-party applications.

How to Read a Mac-Formatted Drive on a Windows

How to Read a Mac-Formatted Drive on a Windows PC

Well, there are plenty of software you can use to extract the content from your Mac Drive. However, in this article, we will use a freeware application that everyone can access.

Step 1: Get HFS Explorer

We will use HFS Explorer to read the content of the MAc drive on Windows. It is a completely free application that you can download from the link here.

Once you have visited the HFS-explorer website on your browser, click on the Download Installer fr Microsoft Windows Systems option.

Download the installer, open it, and install it on your Windows machine.  It enables Windows to use the Mac file system to have access to the Mac drive content.

A very neat application, also very lightweight definitely recommended, if you want to read the contents of your Mac drive in Windows.

If you want to know more about HFS explorer and how it works, then check it on their website. It is very well mentioned there.

Step 2: Using HFS-Explorer to Read Mac-Formatted Drive

Once you have installed the HFS-explorer in your Windows, connect the Mac-formatted drive to Windows, click on the Start Menu, and select HFS Explorer. 

It should be available on the Start Menu as a recently installed app, however, if you don’t see the option there.  Type HFS Explorer in the Windows Search bar and click-open the application from the result.

How to Read a Mac-Formatted Drive on a Windows

Now in the HFS Explorer application Window, click on the File option from the Menu bar and select the Load File System From Device option from the sub-menu.

A prompt will appear, here you will have to select the disk partition. However, the software can autodetect your Mac OS filesystem, but you can also select manually and specify the device name.

To know which Disk is your Mac drive, go to Windows Search Bar, and type for computer management and open up the computer management program.


Here, you would be able to see all the list of Drive connected to your windows. Spot the Mac-formatted drive from the list and remember it’s named.

How to Read a Mac-Formatted Drive on a Windows

Once you know the Disk name, go to the HFS-explorer pop-up, select the Disk partition manually from the drop-down and click on the Load button. You can use Autodetect or specify the device name. But manually selecting the Hard Disk Partition works the best instead.

After you have clicked on the Load button, the contents of your Mac-Drive will be loaded in the HFS-explorer. Using HFS-explorer, you can read, look for the info of various files, and extract the data to your Windows.

To Extract, simply select the file or folder from your Mac drive and click on the Extract button. Then select the directory where you wanna copy the data, click on the Extract Here button, and select the appropriate option from the prompt.


To read and extract Mac-formatted drive data on your Windows, firstly download and install HFS-Explorer on your Windows. Then connect the MAc drive to your Windows Machine, open up the HFS-Explorer, click on File>Load File System from Device. Now manually select the Hard Disk Partition from the drop-down, if you are not sure about the partition.

Then open up Computer Management and check the name of the Mac-formatted Disk there, then select the partition on HSF-Explorer. Click on the Load button, and all the contents will be available in the HFS-explorer. You can read and extract the data from there to Windows.

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