10 Replies Latest reply: Feb 20, 2014 1:52 AM by Gritty_D
Benway1 Level 1 (0 points)


I was just curious if there was a driver or something I can install so that I can read and write my mac OSX formatted [HFS+] external drives in Windows 7,

using the windows file explorer [the equivalent for finder].

This is essential for me because I need the windows explorer copy/file transfer dialog box with all it's options and functionality.

Any suggestions relating either to windows bootcamp, or running windows through vmware fusion next to mountain lion [I would much prefer to be able to do this with VMWare Fusion, but either way is absolutely fine.]


I need this because I need to do HEAPS of file management,


and I find finder's file transfer / copy dialog box to be totally inadequate, hopeless and almost useless, [a nightmare in fact] next to the excellent functionality of Windows 7 file transfer dialog.

This has been my most hated issue with OSX for years now.

File management is a total nightmare in OSX.

I may make another post / feature request detailing my hatred of this lack of functionality, because it kills me every time I have to manage and backup large folders filled with lots of files and subfolders.

Sorry for the end-rant.

Thanks so much for any help! (:

MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2011), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)
  • Alberto Ravasio Level 4 (3,902 points)

    There is a ready solution without the need to buy or install anything on both the Mac and the PC.


    You must format the external drive as exFAT.


    It works flawlessly with OS X 10.6.5 onward and Windows Vista or later Windows OS.


    If you absolutely need HFS+ there are some commercial software like Paragon HFS+ for Windows or MacDrive

  • woodmeister50 Level 5 (5,170 points)

    The issue the OP is having is not HFS+/Windows compatibility,

    it is that he hates the Finder.


    To the OP:


    If you are un happy with OSX file management, don't do Windows,

    check this out:



    or just Google : alternative OSX file managers.

  • Benway1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello Alberto and Woodmeister50,

    thank you for both your answers.

    I have to try and remember to state things I have tried previously or am aware of; my bad!


    Thanks for your ideas.

    I'm aware of ex-fat format.

    Unfortunately, my external drives are quite full and a reformat or EXFAT partition is out of the question.

    I'm formatted them OSX extended journaled a couple of years back before I was aware of exfat.

    I could buy yet another drive, but I don't really want to do that until SSD's come down in price and expand in size.

    [also, while not a big issue, I hear EXFAT can't handle files bigger than 4gb. Not that I have many such files, so that's not really a big concern].

    So doing my file organization through windows explorer is, to my knowledge, the best option,

    if it is possible. [I hope!]

    This would be a perfectly satisfactory solution for me if I can use Windows Explorer through VMware to manage and organize the files and folder on my HFS+ external drives.

    I'm not sure if paragon HFS+ or Macdrive allow you to use windows explorer to manage files?

    Or only through their own file manager and dialogs?

    A costly gamble if they do not, and if their file/folder transfer dialog also happens to be inadequate.


    Woodmeister :


    Actually, my problem is both HFS+ / windows compatibility AND that I hate finder

    [the HFS problem being a result of the fact I hate finder]


    I have tried Pathfinder [the demo version though, maybe it has limited functionality],

    and I have found it's file transfer dialog / options / functionality to be very totally lacking as well.

    Others I have tried.

    Mac Explorer.

    MoveAddict doesn't seem to work for me presently, although I hear it might be good.

    Total finder is fantastic for other reasons but does nothing for the copy dialog.

    Um.... there were a bunch of others I tried, but all no good.

    So I guess my question is still the same, with a bit more specific information now


    For a very in-depth review/analysis of the hatred of finder's lack of features in this area,

    there are many threads on many forums, such as can be found if you google for the thread on this forum

    GOOGLE : MacRumors OS X: how to merge folder contents, not replace

    Please ignore the fact that some ex-windows people are just not used to the fact that "replace" in finder means to replace a whole folder, as this is not the issue.

    The lack of functionality is, and there are many pages of mac-loving people complaining about it.

  • Benway1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have to reevaluate my comments above and say I think you have solved this problem satisfactorily!


    THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH! You have saved me MANY days and days of work and painful  eyestrain and frustration!

    I have just tried Paragon HFS+

    and it does indeed allow me to manage the files on my mac-formatted external hard drive through windows explorer!

    It is clearly just an excellent driver that bridges the gap and allows windoze to handle mac files,

    which allows me to use windows for one of the only things it is good for, and WAY WAY better than macs at doing!!

    Managing files manually [as a lot of admin people would need to do, or people who have to do some file-admin-style organizational work. Can't rely on this automatic time-machine fluff].

    It is even possible that maybe MacDrive does the same thing now,

    but when I tried it about a year ago, I didn't get the feeling it was a driver that allowed me to manage my mac-formatted external drives through windoze.

    It had it's own file manager then as I remember.

    They might have updated it since, so this might also be a solution that is as good as paragon,

    and their website looks quite slick now.


    The real ultimate solution is for apple / finder development team to fix the finder!

    There is even an acronym that has become a meme for this problem, they may have heard of :


    They should google it and check the first definition in urban dictionary.

    It is ridiculous I have to go these lengths and shell out all these extra dollars just to do something so basic. It makes me a little bit angry, apple gets nearly everything else right, but miss this foundational UI stuff, and it just kills my life when I need to do file organization.

    I can't blame many admin-heavy type businesses for not getting on the apple boat for this reason.

    Thanks again guys!
    I'm really Super happy you helped me arrive at a satisfactory solution!


    I'd be happy to keep the topic open for a few more days though, just in case any new info crops up.

  • Alberto Ravasio Level 4 (3,902 points)

    Benway1 wrote:


    [also, while not a big issue, I hear EXFAT can't handle files bigger than 4gb. Not that I have many such files, so that's not really a big concern].




    Maybe you are confusing exFAT with FAT32. From the exFAT link I gave you in my original post.


    "The advantages over FAT file systems include:


    For the typical user, seamless interoperability between Windows and OS X platforms for files in excess of 4 GiB. NOTE: Windows XP may require Update for Windows XP (KB955704) to manage exFAT formatted drives.



  • Benway1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks Alberto! I didn't know that. I thought I knew more than I actually did

    Cheers mate, I appreciate that, it will be very useful for my future SSDs.


    Although hopefully by then Microcrap will learn to just play nice, without any faffing about.

    Either that, or the finder development team will pull their finger out and FTFF [fix the f****g finder!]

    Fingers crossed! It's all they need to do to totally displace MS out of the picture as far as I'm concerned.

  • MaryOshen Level 1 (0 points)

    Benway1 wrote:


    I'm not sure if paragon HFS+ or Macdrive allow you to use windows explorer to manage files?

    Benway1, course allows. someone already wrote above. I use HFS + for Windows 9 and and he knows how to manage files

  • Gritty_D Level 1 (0 points)

    This might be an older post but I wanted to put in my 2 cents here: I've used exFAT on my external drive and it gave me quite some trouble pretty soon;

    There are issues with same-named files uppercase/lowercase which I don't trust, Adobe Flash gave me errors exporting movies to the exFAT drive (no problems on HFS drive), disk handling is very slow and I've had scary mounting problems.

    So I've reverted from exFAT already. If only Linux ext4 format would spread out a bit it would help a lot... Apple and Microsoft will probably keep on annoying eachother (and us users) with this...

  • sterlingfive Level 1 (0 points)

    I don't know if Benway1 is still around, but I am wondering what "options and functionaltiy" you could possibly be missing so badly from Windws on Mac.  I run Windows and Mac machines, and I prefer Mac's finder over Windows Explorer any day of the week.  You mentioned Path Finder, which I also use on the Mac, and between that and spotlight, Finder is incredibly versatile and powerful compared to Windows Explorer, in my opinion.  If you would have simply said exactly what you are trying to do, I'll be there would have been a way to do it in Finder.  If you're still around, let us know how how you're doing with Paragon, because I have nothgin but problems with it here.

  • Gritty_D Level 1 (0 points)

    I must say, indeed - if Finder is the issue....

    When I switched to OSX, I felt the same frustration. Tried all the finder alternatives above-  and muCommander, which was my favourite for a while.


    Then I discovered you could simply move finder items while holding the CMD key and now all the finder suffices perfectly (ok, it has some quirks but so has explorer)


    A good cross-machine filesystem still is not yet there in my opinion... I'm using NAS with Linux now.