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I changed to Windows 7 64bit from a Mac. Unfortunately Windows will not read the external hard disk I was using for my Mac.

How can I start using the disk from Windows without deleting the files?

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Sure - fast way

  • Copy all the files to your Desktop
  • Reformat the external disk
  • Copy the files back

Slower way

  • Use gparted to:
    • shrink your HFS partition
    • Create an NTFS partition
  • Move files from HFS to NTFS
  • use gparted to remove HFS and resize NTFS
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Step 1 might be hard since " Unfortunately Windows will not read the external hard disk I " – Hennes Dec 10 '15 at 14:05
True. I assumed he still had the Mac available. – uSlackr Dec 19 '15 at 13:30

If you still have the OS X DVD from your old Mac - you can extract the Apple HFS Read-only driver from the Boot Camp installer. You can then copy the files to your system and re-format to NTFS if you'd like to write to the drive again.

The following MacRumors post has a link to the HFS driver:

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The external harddisk you used on the mac is most likely formatted with a OS/X specific filesystem which windows does not understand. To use it with windows you either:

  1. Learn windows how to read HFS+
  2. Or use a windows program that understands HFS plus.
  3. Convert the filesystem.

For 1) you want to look for a windows driver for the HFS+ File_system. Googling for "HFS on win 7" yields several results. Including a driver and a standalone program.

Option 2) is more work because you will need to temporarily store the files somewhere while you reformat the drive with a format which windows understands (most likely with NTFS). It is also the best choice if you want to use the external drive with several different windows computers, since you would have to install the previous programs on each of those of you go for option 1 or 2.

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