HFSExplorer for Windows

  • Free
  • In English
  • V 2021.10.9
  • 3.5
  • (156)
  • Security Status

Softonic review

Dinkar Kamat
Dinkar KamatUpdated 2 months ago

Free tool for HFS files

HFSExplorer is a free program that configures HSF files from Apple Mac-formatted hard drives into readable compositions. Developed by Erik Larsson within Catacombae, HFSExplorer is mainly used by Microsoft Windows users—although the tool can be utilized by Linux and Mac OS X users, as well. The cross-platform product is written in Java 5, 6, and 7 and in C to ensure an accessible and user-friendly launcher application.

How do you use HFSExplorer?

Using HFSExplorer, the files that can be read are written in the HFS structure on the Mac OS standard system, the HFS+ format on the extended variant, and the HFSX composition on the extended version with case-sensitive file names. The software can often read .dmg and .sparsebundle disk models—bzip2 and zlib compressed images, along with AES-128 and AES-256 encrypted images.

HFSExplorer provides a graphical file system browser to allow people to evaluate detailed information about the Mac volumes and create disk images from the information. The platform permits Mac partitions: Apple Partition Map, GUID Partition Table, and Master Boot Record. The partition schemes and software allow people to easily extract files by copying them to a hard disk.

How do I open a Mac hard drive on Windows?

To access pertinent content on a Windows PC operating system from a flash drive that was formatted by a Mac device, download and install HFSExplorer. Open the freeware and within the upper menu bar, there are the tabs: File, Tools, and Help.

To extract the data that was configured in a Mac environment, click on "File" to access the dropdown menu and then click on the first option: "Load file system from device..."  Users can instead press Ctrl + L on their keyboards, too. Within the File tab, there are additional options to choose from: "Load file system from file...", "Load file system from path...", "Debug console", and Exit.

A window with additional specifications will be brought up after the selection from within the File tab. The HFSExplorer community can locate the partition manually within the dropdown menu next to "Detected device..." or press "Autodetect..." to allow the system to identify the drive. Press Load to continue the exportation and evaluation process.

If the Autodetect option was chosen, then the HFSExplorer will scan all of the hard drives within the machine to locate and display the one with the Mac file system. Press OK to gain access to the data from the drive within the PC environment. Within the curated information, find the folder to back up.

Right-click on the title of the file and from the context menu, select "Extract data". Other options will be available in the menu: Information, "Extract extended attributes", and "Extract data and extended attributes." In the upper icon bar, people can select: Up, Extract, and Info.

Before choosing a file to transfer, users can click on Info to view the document’s data: size, specs, etc. If anyone needs to monitor their storage space, then this is a helpful tip to implement. An "Extract here" window will appear after selecting Extract to allow people to send the content to whichever location they prefer.

Alternate system driver management software

Perhaps the user ratings on HFSExplorer are so positive and the software is one of the best due to there not being many other alternatives. MacDrive, Paragon, and TransMac are alternative configuration tools. Along with HFSExplorer, TransMac is freeware. MacDrive and Paragon can be accessed for free within temporary trial periods that will lead to purchases.

The MacDrive and Paragon user interfaces both resemble the Microsoft Office suite design and are attractive compared to TransMac and HFSExplorer, which both have basic and dated UIs. Essentially, what people are gaining when they buy the purchasable apps are the aesthetically-designed frameworks.

Access Mac volumes on PCs

HFSExplorer is a free and easy-to-use program that allows people running Windows Vista and other models of the Microsoft machine to configure native Mac files onto their Windows-specific equipment. With a flash drive from an intel Mac processor and files on that hard drive that people want to be adapted into readable content on PCs, HFSExplorer allows people to translate and read the content with a few clicks.

While there are not systematic updates, Erik Larsson encourages consumers to contact him to provide feedback or report issues. HFSExplorer is safe, as the software functions within a mode that only reads the encryptions.


  • Safe
  • Easy to use
  • Cross-platform
  • Autodetect ability
  • Intuitive user interface


  • Not aesthetically appealing

Older versions

Program available in other languages

HFSExplorer for PC

  • Free
  • In English
  • V 2021.10.9
  • 3.5
  • (156)
  • Security Status

User reviews about HFSExplorer

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Laws concerning the use of this software vary from country to country. We do not encourage or condone the use of this program if it is in violation of these laws.