There may come a time when you’ll need to recover data from Mac hard drive to PC. Even though you can’t just connect the drive to your Windows-powered computer and drag and drop the files, it’s still possible to transfer the needed information from one device to the other.
Situations In Which You May Need Recover Mac Hard Drive to a PC
So why would you need to transfer files from a macOS-powered device to a Windows one? Here are a few situations when knowing how to do it may come in handy:
- Maybe it’s obvious, but if you’ve bought a new Windows PC after using a Mac for a while, you might want to transfer important files from your old device to the new one;
- Simply when you want to transfer a few files from your Mac HHD to PC to have access to that information at all times and on all of your devices;
- If your Mac has just died, and you have all of the data from your device stored on an HFS+ or a non-HFS+ drive. By knowing how to recover data from such a hard drive to a PC, you’ll be able to access all of your files on a Windows-powered computer.
Difficulties You May Encounter Recovering Mac Data to Windows
As it was already mentioned, recovering Mac hard drive on Windows is possible, but not as easy as one might hope. With each solution, there is a chance that you encounter some difficulties.
- Some macOS app files won’t automatically load (for example, Pages, Keynote). But still, you’ll be able to transfer them to your PC;
- APFS file system is not compatible with Windows-based computers, but with the help of third-party software, you’ll be able to recover your files;
- It’s impossible to use a docking station to recover files from newer Macs (the ones equipped with an internal SSD);
- If your PC doesn’t recognize your Mac hard drive, try to run third-party software to help (it’s possible that your hard drive is not correctly formatted).
Methods to Recover Data From Mac Hard Drive to PC
It’s incredibly easy to recover deleted files directly on a Mac. But unfortunately, there are not many options when it comes to retrieving files from a Mac hard drive to a PC. But the good thing is that it’s still possible to do it.
Here are seven best solutions for you to try.
Use a Software-Based Solution
Even though Apple and Windows have some compatibility, it is best to use third-party software to retrieve files from a Mac HDD on Windows.
There are many great apps on the market that can handle this job, and many of them operate in a similar way. But if to take into consideration the interface of the app and how easy it is to navigate it, then we recommend Disk Drill.
This method works both for HFS+ hard drives and non-HFS+ formatted ones. However, it takes a bit longer to retrieve files from non-HFS+ hard drives. So here’s how to recover data from Mac hard drive to a PC.
From an HFS+ Hard Drive
HFS+ is one of the main file systems of macOS. In general, it cannot be used with other operating systems. And because of that, it’s possible that your PC won’t recognize the hard drive. This is why you’ll need to use a third-party app to recover files from such a hard drive on your Windows computer.
Once you’re done moving the files, you’ll be able to access them on your PC whenever you want.
From a Non-HFS+ Hard Drive
Luckily, it’s also possible to retrieve files from non-HFS+ formatted drives. One of such file systems is APFS (Apple File System). And since it’s not natively compatible with Windows, you must use a third-party app to recover data from it.
Your PC hard disk drive will serve as the storage device for your recovered files.
Use a Properly Formatted External Drive
Another option is to transfer files from your Mac to PC using a properly formatted external drive (or USB flash drive). So if you have a clean drive, you can first format it, export the needed files from your Mac onto the drive, and only then open it on your PC.
Format the Drive
Transfer Your Files
Now that you’ve formatted your drive, you can move on to transferring your files.
Access Your Files on Your PC
That’s it! Now you can access all of the files from your Mac on your Windows PC.
Use the Built-In Functions
If both of your computers are on the same local network and your Mac is working properly, you can transfer files from Mac to Windows via File Sharing. For this method, you don’t need to install any software and just use the built-in functions found on your computers.
Make sure to note your Mac’s IP address. You can find it under File Sharing: On.
Now, once you’ve turned on File Sharing on your Mac, you can access the shared files on your PC.
To be able to perform any actions with the shared folders, you should map it as a network drive.
Use a Docking Station to Transfer Data From Mac to PC
Another way to transfer files from your Mac to a Windows PC is to use an external hard drive docking station. There are many ways you can use a docking station, including to connect a Windows-powered laptop with a macOS one.
Of course, not all docking stations come with this feature. For a docking station to work, it should be compatible with both macOS and Windows-based laptops, provide the needed ports for connectivity, and have a built-in file transfer software.
However, there are a few things that you should be aware of:
- It will be impossible to apply this method with the Macs equipped with an internal SSD (newer Macs);
- It’s possible that older Mac drives won’t be visible in Explorer because of their file system;
- Some models may require an external power source to connect to your PC;
Use an Ethernet Cable to Connect Your Mac with PC
You can try to transfer data from Mac to PC with the help of a standard Ethernet cable.
Use a Cloud Service to Sync Files
There are numerous cloud services that are compatible with both macOS and Windows-powered devices. It’s quite easy to use such a service: you just use your Mac to upload the needed files to the cloud client and use the other computer to view and download them.
If you’ve never used a cloud service, here are a few good options that you can try:
Get Professional Help
If nothing from the above-described solutions works for you, there is one last thing that you can try—resort to a data recovery laboratory service. Since such specialists are equipped with all the needed tools, they should be able to succeed in even the most complicated repair.
There are many professional data recovery services on the market, so it’s natural to be unsure of which one to choose. If that’s the case, check out our article on the best (and affordable) hard drive data recovery services.
The Bottom Line
Recovering data from Mac hard drive to PC can be quite an overwhelming process. However, since the above-described solutions are proven to be effective, you should be able to successfully transfer your files from your Mac HDD to your Windows-based computer.