MacDrive 101: Why do I need MacDrive?

All hard drives look the same, so why can’t Windows computers read Mac-formatted drives?

harddriveThe question seems simple enough, but while hard drives look the same on the outside, they are very different on the inside and even utilize different file systems. What is a File System? When a hard drive is formatted, a file system is placed on the disk in order to organize the data that will be stored on the drive. You can think of a file system as an index or a roadmap that contains the physical location of all of the data stored on the drive.

There are many types of file systems and each is used for different reasons. Three of the most common types of file systems are NTFS, FAT and HFS. NTFS and FAT file systems are primarily used on Windows computers, while HFS is used on Apple computers. While all file systems serve the same purpose, each file system organizes the data on a drive in very different ways. As a result, Windows doesn’t understand how the data is organized on a Mac disk, and can’t access your files. To use files on a Mac disk in Windows computer you need a bridge–something to help Windows understand HFS. This is where MacDrive comes in.

So How Does MacDrive Work?
MacDrive is a file system driver that enables Windows to access HFS and HFS+ disks. With MacDrive installed, Windows is able to understand the Mac disk and use the disk as if it were a PC disk. You can not only read file stored on the disk, but also save changes directly back to the Mac disk. When you use the files on a Mac disk, MacDrive makes sure that your disk stays organized as an HFS disk, so when it’s time to go back to a Mac, your files are ready and waiting.

mac_win_hd_iconsWe’ve engineered MacDrive to be almost invisible. We do all the heavy lifting behind the scenes, so you don’t have to “start” anything to make MacDrive work. Plug in your drive and it will appear in Windows Explorer and all of your applications, just like any other Windows drive. You will know it’s Mac-formatted because MacDrive places a little red apple in front of the drive icon. With MacDrive, you can use any Mac disk just like it’s a normal PC disk.

When you’re done with the disk, eject it and use it on a Mac or another MacDrive-ready Windows PC.
If you have any questions – including tips or tricks on how you use MacDrive – please feel free to drop us a note.

To learn more about file systems check out these articles:
Wikipedia Articles on File Systems

File Systems HFS FAT NTFS

Go Pro with MacDrive Pro

md9_pro

Introducing MacDrive 9 Pro

MacDrive has become the standard for sharing Mac-formatted disks with Windows. Now, take your file sharing to the next level with MacDrive 9 Pro for Windows.

Apple RAID for Windows

For the first time ever, Windows users can access Apple RAID sets straight from their PC. Professionals and power users that need improved performance and reliability have used Apple RAID for years, and now with MacDrive Pro, those disks can be shared with Windows. MacDrive Pro opens up a whole new realm of cross-platform computing.

Everything you love about MacDrive and more!

For over 15 years, MacDrive has enabled PC users to access Mac disks in Windows. MacDrive Pro includes all of MacDrive Standard’s features, including fast and reliable control of all your Mac disks. You can open, edit, save and even format, partition and repair Mac disks. MacDrive Pro builds on MacDrive’s standard features and gives you more power and more tools to get your work done faster and easier.

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MacDrive 101: How to view a Mac hard drive from Windows

md9_100Your computer’s hard drives are like big file cabinets. They are used to store all the information on your computer, including photos, music, programs, etc. In order to keep track of all of this information, you computer needs a map of where everything is located. This “map” is called a file system.

What is a file system? Do I need one? There are many types of file systems. While they all serve the same basic purpose, they do it in different ways. In order for your computer to use a particular hard drive, it must understand the file system used on that drive.

The two most common file systems understood by Windows computers are called NTFS and FAT32. The Mac uses a very different file system, called HFS+. Unfortunately, Windows does not understand the HFS+ file system.

MacDrive to the rescue MacDrive makes your Windows computer smarter by teaching it to understand the Mac’s file system. Once installed, MacDrive gives you full access to your Mac disks from anywhere in Windows. You can see all of your files, and work with them directly from your Windows programs. You can even save them right back to the Mac disk. You don’t need to turn anything on or learn anything new–MacDrive works invisibly in the background, and is there when you need it.

It really is that simple. MacDrive just makes your Windows computer a little smarter.

You can try MacDrive for free or purchase a copy at the Mediafour Online Store.

Next MacDrive 101: Creating Mac disks from Windows

MacDrive 8.0.5 update is now available

What’s new in MacDrive 8.0.5?

  • Fixed: Interaction with Mac-formatted FireWire drives on Windows 7
  • Fixed: Incorrect identification of CD/DVD drive when disk corruption was detected
  • Fixed: MacDrive Disk Manager handling of hard drives greater than 4TB
  • Fixed: Problems that occurred when changing the drive letter of a Mac-formatted hard drive
  • Fixed: Unresponsive system after writing to some removable drives and then shutting down
  • Fixed: Problems resuming from sleep with an external (USB & FireWire), Mac-formatted disk
  • Improved: Mounting and unmounting DMG files
  • Improved: Working with Time Machine backups with very deep folder structures