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Mac Hardware forum


How to transfer files from ext. hard drive orig MAC to a PC?

by 333bb / April 27, 2012 4:01 PM PDT

I have files I want to transfer from an external hard drive (originally formatted for MAC) to a PC. Is this possible? What do I do?

Also, is it possible to transfer files from a "dead" ibook to a new PC?

I am pretty non-savvy when it comes to this, please help!!

thank you.

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All Answers

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Fairly easy task
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 27, 2012 10:34 PM PDT

but first we must know if the external hard drive was ever formatted after you purchased it.

If it wasn't, then the chances are that you would be able to just plug the external drive into the PC and drag the files you want off the drive and onto the PC.

If it was formatted for a Mac, then you will need a piece of software on the PC that will enable it to read the Mac formatted disk. HFS Explorer, HFS+ for Windows or MacDrive are just three that will enable your PC to read the Mac formatted drive. More details here:

If it was formatted for a PC, then you have no problems at all.

the same applies to the drive in the dead iBook. If the iBook is dead because of something other than a drive failure, you will need an external enclosure that is capable of holding and powering the drive. (Obviously Notebook size)
You will still need the above software for the PC

Good luck
Let us know how you get on


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Another way.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 29, 2012 2:28 PM PDT
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I recently had to do this and will post complete details.
by CapinWinky / February 3, 2014 2:49 AM PST

I just did this. My wife's Mac laptop died and she wanted to get her pictures off and onto her new Win7 PC. I removed the hard drive from the mac and plugged it into a hard drive USB adapter (there are two kinds, SATA and IDE, if the hard drive has two rows of pins sticking out the back, it is IDE). Youtube is a good source for figuring out how to get the drive out of the laptop.

When I plugged the USB adapter into the Windows PC, the drive showed up as Unallocated in disk management (to get to this, click start, right click on "Computer" and select Manage. Disk Management is one of the categories on the left). I tried HSFExplorer and it didn't work. Instead I created a Linux live USB stick (google for how to do this) and booted her computer using it. I logged into Linux as the root user, in my distro the user and password for this were both "root".

Now in Linux with root permissions, I had to "mount" both her laptop hard drive with Windows, and the hard drive from the mac. Google is your friend as this is different depending on what Linux distro you are using and there may be a way to do it in a more user friendly way. I did it from the terminal by first creating two folders to mount the drives to like this:
mkdir \mnt\WindowsHD\
mkdir \mnt\MacHD\
To mount, I open the disk partition program to figure out the names of the disks (sda2 and sdb2 in my case), then used the mount command like this:
mount /dev/sda2 \mnt\WindowsHD\
mount /dev/sdb2 \mnt\MacHD\
Once mounted, I could use the file browser to easily copy and past the files she wanted from one to the other.

When it finished copying the data, I simply removed the Linux live USB and rebooted the computer into Windows.

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