I need help determining the best way to make several GB of files on an OS X HFS+ volume available to a Windows 8 machine. The basics of the situation are as follows:
We have a wheezing G4 Mac running OS X 10.4. My wife has several years of files on this machine, mostly Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. Her new machine is a Dell running Windows 8. The switch from OS X to Windows was necessitated by the need to use specialized Windows software that the manufacturer could not guarantee would run properly under Boot Camp or Parallels. The Mac is currently running the File Sharing utility to allow files to be copied from it to the Windows 8 PC as needed. I'd like to shut down the Mac for reasons of space and power consumption, but still keep the files available.
As I see it, we have three leading contenders for the task:
1) Copy the OS X files to an external hard drive which would then be connected to the Windows 8 PC. This has the advantage of requiring no new software installed on the PC. I am not certain whether FAT32 or NTFS would be the best filesystem for the external drive, nor whether there would be any problems with copying the resource forks of the files to the external (non-HFS+) drive.
2) Remove the hard drive from the Mac, put it in an external drive enclosure, and connect it to the Windows 8 PC. I am in the very early stages of researching how to get Windows 8 to read an HFS+ volume. I'd be interested to know of any experiences anyone has had with this arrangement.
3) Remove the hard drive from the Mac, put it in an external drive enclosure, and connect it to an existing Ubuntu 12.04 server on our home network. I have no experience with this configuration either, and have no idea how well Linux and HFS+ get along. The chief disadvantage I see with this would be that file transfer would be limited by network throughput.
Note please that if we use an HFS+ volume, we don't need to write any files to that volume. The files from the Mac are needed only for archival reference. Anything that needs to be updated will be copied to the Documents folder on the PC.
Any and all thoughts on any of these options, or any options I haven't considered, will be most welcome.