I offered to help a friend of mine with his computer, and it turned out to be a bit more complicated than I first thought. He originally came to me asking me to recover some of his files from his MacBook. Turns out he used the Vista partition manager to format the Mac partition to NTFS. He said he was trying to resize his partitions, and messed up somehow.

How does one recover files from an HFS+ filesystem? It's been formatted as NTFS, but so far as I know, it hasn't been booted, so the files should be mostly intact. Are there any tools for this, or should I just tell him his files are gone?

  • 1
    TestDisk appears to be the overwhelming choice :)
    – Isxek
    Jul 29, 2010 at 2:55

5 Answers 5


If one is a fast learner, you could use TestDisk to repair the HFS+ partition.

TestDisk is […] free data recovery software! It was primarily designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally deleting a Partition Table).


http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk may do the trick.


DiskWarrior is considered the gold standard of file recovery and Tech Tool Pro is popular also, both are pricey though when compared to TestDisk's price of free. So try TestDisk first then, if it fails or doesn't get enough files, ask your friend how much he really wants his files back.


My boss just remembered TestDisk. He thought that would work. It's free and open source. Check this out. It sounds a lot like what happened to my HDD.


Go ahead and try it out and see what happens. :)


HFSE explorer is a simple freeware that will let you explore a MAC formatted hard drive. Fairly easy to navigate.

HFSE Explorer

  • 1
    The OP partitioned the drive to NTFS and lost their files. The tool you recommend doesn't seem to be able to recover files though, and even then, the OP's partition would be NTFS now.
    – slhck
    Mar 22, 2013 at 12:27
  • It does recover files, i've used it a number of times.
    – Pretzel
    Mar 22, 2013 at 12:37
  • 1
    The file system has been formatted to NTFS though.
    – slhck
    Mar 22, 2013 at 12:48
  • My mistake, overlooked
    – Pretzel
    Mar 22, 2013 at 12:52

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