Question: I’m using Windows and I have a hard drive I got from a Mac OS user but I can’t access any of the files? Is there a way I can see this?

Answer: The Mac has no problems reading PC/Windows formatted drives…but Windows will not read Mac formatted drives without additional software. The disk is likely formatted as HFS+.

You can use the following FREE application hfsexplorer from Catacombae to read (but not write) the files. I have not personally tested this under Windows…so let me know how that works.

A more expensive but complete solution is MacDrive from MediaFour ($49.99) There is a FREE 5-day trial available.

If you want to use a hard drive cross-platform easily but do not purchase MacDrive or use hfsexplorer, it should be formatted as FAT32 (though this limits the size of files to 4GB). If you reformat it as Windows NTFS format then you can read on the Mac but not write. In either of these cases, you will need to reformat the drive completely…and will lose any information stored on the drive.

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Tim is an expert in creating custom business solutions that make businesses more effective, productive, and profitable. He specializes in rapid application development with FileMaker (certified in all versions) for macOS, Windows, iPad/iPhone and web app integration with WordPress. He also knows Apple technology inside and out.