Copy Files from Macbook Pro Harddrive to Windows Machine?


macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 21, 2007
So with PC, in the event of computer failure, say, cannot boot, stuff goes haywire... I can take the hard drive out and put it into external enclosure, plug it into another PC, and copy the files off of it...

With 2011 Macbook Pro's HFS file system.. in the event one day my computer dies... but I want to get hard drive data on my Mac partition onto another PC... I stick it in the external enclosure, plug into another PC...and copy files off of it.

Is what I described possible to go from Mac hard drive to PC? What concerns me I guess is the HFS filesystem Mac uses. Ideally I would like to be able to do that so that even if my mac dies... I can still get files off of it.


Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
Get external HD and format it as FAT32 or exFAT and use it for backups. You can get HFS+ support in Windows with MacDrive for example but it is not free.


macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
  • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
  • Maximum file size: 4GB.
  • Maximum volume size: 2TB
NTFS (Windows NT File System)
  • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
  • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
  • To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X: Install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free)
  • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx 33USD).
  • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard, but is not advisable, due to instability.
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
  • Maximum file size: 16 TB
  • Maximum volume size: 256TB
HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended)
  • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
  • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner backups of Mac internal hard drive.
  • To Read/Write HFS+ from Windows, Install MacDrive
  • To Read HFS+ (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
  • Maximum file size: 8EiB
  • Maximum volume size: 8EiB
exFAT (FAT64)
  • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
  • exFAT partitions created with OS X 10.6.5 are inaccessible from Windows 7
  • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
  • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
  • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
  • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB


macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 21, 2007
I'm not sure how this works but Boot Camp now has a (read only) HSF+ driver included in it so you can see your mac hard drive from windows.
So does this mean... (Assuming just having a Macbook Pro) that if I have the Macdrive installed on Windows partition... I would be able to have both read AND write access to say an itunes library on my OSX partition allowing me to both listen/view music files as well as add to the library through my windows partition?