I entered disk utilities, found the device, but unsure of how to proceed in retrieving my files for my new computer
You don't need Disk Utility. You should be able to mount your disk on your desktop in Finder. See "Change what's displayed on your desktop" in
Once you check "External disks", you should see your disk on the desktop, and you should be able to copy your files to the desired location.
It would be nice to keep it as a convertible PC & MAC storage device.
If the disk if formatted in NTFS (default Win file system), Mac OS X can only read, but not write to it (unless you add additional software, which introduces additional complications).
To use the drive with both Macs and PCs, you need to re-format it either as FAT32 or exFAT. The former is the most compatible file system, but it does not support files >4GB; the latter is only supported on recent versions of Mac OS X and Win, and it's not supported on some Linux distributions. It's best to re-format it on a Mac; make sure the partition map type is MBR.
(Note that you could have transferred your data from PC to Mac over the LAN with Migration Assistant
Note that HT1408 is obsolete and primarily of historical interest, having been last updated in 2008. IMHO, it's best not to refer new users to it.
Btw, yountr01, as a new user you would probably benefit from consulting
Switch 101: On Windows, I used to...
despite following instructions, the drive does not show up on the desktop. (external devices and such are all selected to appear).
as for using migration assistant on my PC---there was a short in my PC not allowing the computer to power on. the hard drive was intact and is my only access to my old files.
the only option (i see) is using the much slower and inefficient adapter, but this is where i get stuck.
the drive does not show up on the desktop.
Then there is a problem. You said you can see the drive in Disk Utility. Does it show any available volumes on the drive? If yes, and if you select it, do you see a Mount button on the toolbar? What information appears at the bottom of the Disk Utility window?
Note that a fairly common issue with USB drives and MBPs is not enough power supplied over the USB port. Is your external enclosure bus-powered, or does it have its own power supply? If it's bus-powered, can you power it from a power supply, or connect it to the MBP through a self-powered (not bus-powered) hub?