If you connect a drive formatted in Mac to a Windows PC, you’ll be prompted to format it before use. That is to say, you are not allowed to view anything saved on it before formatting. But the question is: if you click Format disk, your data will be ruined. This post from MiniTool will introduce several useful ways to help you with that; please read carefully.

Can You Read Mac Drive on Windows

Many people doubt that whether they can read Mac drive on Windows. Some took action: they removed the drive from Mac and connected it to a Windows PC properly. But after connecting the Mac-formatted drive to Windows, a prompt window will pop up automatically on the screen, saying that they need to format the disk before use.

Don’t Format the Drive

You should click Cancel instead of Format disk when seeing this prompt. Why? That is simply because the formatting action will damage your data saved on that drive. Is there any other way to read a Mac-formatted drive on Windows? Sure, it is; some effective ways used by other users will be shown to you later on this page.


What Does Formatting a Hard Drive Do

Some users said they clicked on the Format disk button by mistake when seeing the prompt window mentioned above; they were wondering if there’s any way to help them recover a formatted hard drive. Luckily, the answer is yes.

What does disk formatting mean?

Formatting a hard disk/drive refers to delete all the file & folders save on a drive and set a certain file system for it. The formatting action is performed to prepare a data storage device (including hard disk drive, solid-state drive, USB flash drive, and SD card) for initial use. Two of the most obvious results of formatting a hard disk are: deleting data and changing file system.

Besides, there are also other benefits of disk formatting:

  • Get more space on disk.
  • Solve disk problems caused by soft failure.
  • Improve disk/system performance greatly.
  • And so on.

Do you know how to improve Windows 10 performance effectively?

Useful Tips On How To Improve Windows 10 Performance
Useful Tips On How To Improve Windows 10 Performance

It’s necessary to improve Windows 10 performance effectively since various problems will occur inevitably on a system that has been used for a long time.

Read More

Recover Formatted Hard Drive

The first and the most important thing to do after formatting a hard drive is to recover precious data from hard drive. MiniTool Power Data Recovery can be a good data recovery assistant: it’s clean, safe, and professional. Please free download the trial edition to experience this data recovery tool first before you decide to buy it; after that, double click on the setup program to finish installing the software on your Windows computer, on which the Mac hard drives are formatted.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Follow this guide to recover data from Mac formatted external hard drives:

  1. Click Start now at the end of installation to launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery. You can also open it by double clicking on the software icon.
  2. Wait for a few seconds until the disk loading process is finished automatically.
  3. Select Devices from the top of the software pane.
  4. Choose the formatted Mac drive under it.
  5. Double click on the target drive directly or click on the Scan button.
  6. The full scan will be started at once; more and more files and folders will be found during the scan. Please make sure the Mac hard drive is always connected to your computer.
  7. Browse the found items carefully to decide which files are needed and which are not; add a checkmark into the square box in from of all the files you want to recover. If you can’t confirm, go to view the content before recovery by clicking Preview.
  8. Click on the Save button in the lower right corner.
  9. Select a storage path in the pop-up window to store the files waiting to be recovered; please make sure it has enough free space left. (You shouldn’t select the original Mac-formatted drive as the storage location in order to avoid secondary damage.)
  10. Click on the OK button in the same window to confirm your selection.
  11. Then, wait until all the files saved on Mac hard drive have been recovered successfully to appointed place. A prompt window will show up to inform you of the recovery result.


MiniTool Power Data Recovery is also a great tool for recovering formatted SD card or broken/corrupted USB stick.

Although the formatting action cannot be canceled once it’s done, there are ways to make up for the damage it has done to your data. You can recover files easily from a formatted disk or damaged/corrupted/broken/dead drive with the help of a professional tool.Click to Tweet

After the data recovery process has been completed, you may transfer back the recovered files to the formatted disk as long as you can confirm that you’ve got back all the files you need.

[SOLVED] How To Recover Deleted Files On Mac | Complete Guide!

What about Windows 10 read Mac drive? Please read the following sections.

Can a Mac external drive be read on a PC?

A lot of people are wondering whether they can read Mac drive on Windows 10 with freeware. In fact, there is both free and paid software to help people read Mac drive on PC easily, without formatting the disk. I’ll introduce some of the useful software you can use on Windows 10 to read files and folders from Mac-formatted drive.

How to fix when some files are not showing in external hard drive?

Note: Choice 1 ~ 3 is suitable for reading HFS & HFS+; choice 4 ~ 5 is used to read APFS on Windows.

Choice 1: HFSExplorer

HFSExplorer is completely free; it’s a basic application designed to help users read Mac-formatted hard disks and disk images. HFSExplorer gives support to various file systems: HFS (the Standard file system on Mac), HFS+ (the Extended file system on Mac OS), HFSX (the Extended Mac OS file system with case sensitive file names), etc.

What Does HFSExplorer Allow You to Do

  • Browse volumes on Mac by using a graphical file system browser.
  • Check the volume related information.
  • Extract files you need (copy files to Windows hard disk free).
  • Mount & read disk images like .dmg and .sparsebundle.
  • Create disk images from the volume on Mac.

The partition schemes including Master Boot Record, GUID Partition Table, and Apple Partition Map are supported by HFSExplorer.


You need to install Java first if you don’t have it on your PC since it’s required (Sun’s Java SE runtime environment version 5.0 or greater in which OpenJDK works fine).

HFSExplorer: Launch error

No Java runtime environment found. HFSExplorer cannot function without Java.

Press “OK” to open up http://www.java.com where you can download a Java runtime environment for your system.


You should just click OK as prompted to download & install proper runtime environment when seeing the window above.


  • HFS/HFS+/HSFX partitions can all be detected by using HFSExplorer.
  • You can also Select a device or Specify device name manually in step 5.


If the connected external hard drive is not showing up on PC, you can’t detect it in step 5. You must make it appear in Windows first.

Is there any other hard drive reader for Windows? Of course, yes; please move on.

Choice 2: Apple HFS+ Drivers

Another way to access HFS + files in Windows 10 for free is installing Apple HFS + drivers.

Tip: The Apple HFS + drivers only give you read access to the files in Mac-formatted drives.

Steps to Read Mac Drives on PC with Apple HFS + Drivers

First, you should make sure you don’t have Paragon or MacDrive (the hard drive readers I will talk about later) on your Windows computer. If you do, please remove them now.

Second, you should download the correct Windows driver package to your local drive.

Third, you should configure your Windows as follow.

  1. Go to the default download path (Downloads folder) to extract the downloaded zip file.
  2. Find AppleHFS.sys and AppleMNT.sys files.
  3. Copy them by pressing Ctrl + C (you can also do it by right clicking & choosing Copy).
  4. Go to this path: C:\Windows\System32\drivers.
  5. Copy them by pressing Ctrl + V (you can also right click on any blank area & choose Paste).
  6. Navigate to the downloaded folder to find Add_AppleHFS.reg file.
  7. Open the .reg file to bring up a Registry Editor prompt window.
  8. Click on the Yes button and then click OK.
  9. Restart your computer to make changes take effect.


Fourth, you should connect the Mac-formatted drive to your PC -> open File Explorer (also called Windows Explorer) -> locate that drive under This PC -> access files you want.

Tip: You may find the File Explorer has stopped working or not responding when trying to open it; please don’t be nervous since this problem can be fixed.

Choice 3: HFS+ for Windows

Though the Paragon HFS+ for Windows is a paid hard driver reader, you’ll love it after using.

What Can Paragon HFS+ for Windows Do for You

  • The speed is fast and the performance is stable.
  • The Mac file systems are integrated into Windows File Explorer.
  • It provides full read and write access to Mac drives formatted with HFS, HFS +, and HFSX (just like other drives in Windows).
  • It allows Windows programs to read from or write to the Mac-formatted drive on Windows.
  • There are additional features that worth the cost.

How Much Does It Cost

The Paragon HFS+ for Windows is sold on the official website for $19.95 with a single seat license; $49.95 with one license worked on 3 PCs.

If you don’t want to spend money in reading Mac drive on Windows, you should download the trial edition; it is free for use for 10 days. You can access, copy files from or to the Mac drive during this period; it’s enough.

Choice 4: MacDrive

If your Mac drive is formatted with APFS (Apple File System), you won’t be able to read Mac hard drive on Windows because there are no free apps designed for it. But you have many choices of paid applications to access & edit Mac drive files on Windows; MacDrive is a popular one designed by Mediafour.

Merits of MacDrive

  • It is used to help users read data from and write data to Mac disks from Windows directly.
  • You can read both APFS and HFS+ drives in File Explorer.
  • It allows you to create and partition Mac disks on your Windows.
  • A graphical interface is offered for Mac-formatted drives verification, format, and repair.
  • It’s a trusted solution which can date back to 1996.

The only drawback of MacDrive seems to be the selling price is higher than some similar tools. You need to pay $49.99 for the Standard version or $69.99 for the Pro version.

Is it worth the price? Yes, if you have such needs; it also includes unique features like support for Mac-formatted RAID disks.

Choice 5: Paragon APFS for Windows

Paragon also designed an APFS for Windows app for reading APFS Mac drive on Windows; it is considered as one of the main competitors of MacDrive.

Features of Paragon APFS for Windows

  • It provides read and write access to Mac drives formatted with APFS.
  • It also allows you to access and edit compressed and cloned files (you can only access the encrypted volumes without making any changes).
  • It gives support to auto-mounting at start-up; the partition tools of MacDrive are not included in this app.

The biggest disadvantage of Paragon APFS for Windows when compared to MacDrive is the HFS+ support. The biggest advantage of Paragon APFS for Windows over MacDrive is the price – it costs only $49.95 for one license worked on 3 PCs.

Of course, there are many other tools available for you to read Mac drives on Windows (10/8/7, etc.).

[2021] Top Windows 10 Boot Repair Tools You Should Know!

Choice 6: Format Drive to exFAT

You can format your Mac hard drive to exFAT, which supports both Windows and Mac OS X. In this way, you can get full read and write access to exFAT drives on Windows without any additional third-party software.

The only thing you need to worry is that the data on Mac drives will be removed. So you need to turn to MiniTool Power Data Recovery as mentioned in part 1 to recover the files you need after formatting.

How to format a hard drive? Basically, there are three ways.

  • Right click on the drive in File Explorer -> choose Format.
  • Open Disk Management -> right click on the target drive -> choose Format.
  • Format Partition with MiniTool Partition Wizard – a professional disk manager.

Though you’ll be asked to format the Mac hard disk first when you connect it to a Windows PC, there are still useful ways to help you view the content without formatting – using the hard drive reader. Some of the best freeware to read Mac drive on PC are introduced here to help more people with the problem.Click to Tweet

Final Thoughts

Though you can’t access a Mac-formatted drive on a Windows computer directly, there are useful ways and tools to help you read Mac drive on Windows easily. Please just follow the steps mentioned above and choose the tool depending on your needs.

  • linkedin
  • reddit