Recover Files From External Hard Drive Mac Free


Summary :

EaseUS Data Recovery for Mac. Today: $89.95 at Easeus. If you are looking to recover a deleted file, EaseUS Data Recovery for Mac is a good option since it has a free. Need to recover deleted files from your external hard drive? Check out 5 simple steps and a bunch of useful tips to increase data recovery chances.Disk Drill.

  • Connect your external hard drive to Mac and navigate to Trash. Locate the abandoned file in the trash folder, and use 'Copy Items' to recover the files back to their original spot. By the way, the 'Put Back' command works the same way. Recover External Hard Drive Mac from a Backup File.
  • Select the dead Mac hard drive. First, you should make a selection of the lost files recovery path and scan decision. Select the dead hard disk on Mac where your data got lost. Scan the selected Mac hard drive. Recoverit will start an all-around scan on your dead hard drive on Mac.

If you connect a drive formatted in Mac to a Windows PC, you’ll be prompted to format it before use. That is to say, you are not allowed to view anything saved on it before formatting. But the question is: if you click Format disk, your data will be ruined. This post from MiniTool will introduce several useful ways to help you with that; please read carefully.

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Can You Read Mac Drive on Windows

Many people doubt that whether they can read Mac drive on Windows. Some took action: they removed the drive from Mac and connected it to a Windows PC properly. But after connecting the Mac-formatted drive to Windows, a prompt window will pop up automatically on the screen, saying that they need to format the disk before use.

Don’t Format the Drive

You should click Cancel instead of Format disk when seeing this prompt. Why? That is simply because the formatting action will damage your data saved on that drive. Is there any other way to read a Mac-formatted drive on Windows? Sure, it is; some effective ways used by other users will be shown to you later on this page.

What Does Formatting a Hard Drive Do

Some users said they clicked on the Format disk button by mistake when seeing the prompt window mentioned above; they were wondering if there’s any way to help them recover a formatted hard drive. Luckily, the answer is yes.

What does disk formatting mean?

Formatting a hard disk/drive refers to delete all the file & folders save on a drive and set a certain file system for it. The formatting action is performed to prepare a data storage device (including hard disk drive, solid-state drive, USB flash drive, and SD card) for initial use. Two of the most obvious results of formatting a hard disk are: deleting data and changing file system.

Besides, there are also other benefits of disk formatting:

  • Get more space on disk.
  • Solve disk problems caused by soft failure.
  • Improve disk/system performance greatly.
  • And so on.

Do you know how to improve Windows 10 performance effectively?

It’s necessary to improve Windows 10 performance effectively since various problems will occur inevitably on a system that has been used for a long time.

Recover Formatted Hard Drive

The first and the most important thing to do after formatting a hard drive is to recover precious data from hard drive. MiniTool Power Data Recovery can be a good data recovery assistant: it’s clean, safe, and professional. Please free download the trial edition to experience this data recovery tool first before you decide to buy it; after that, double click on the setup program to finish installing the software on your Windows computer, on which the Mac hard drives are formatted.

Follow this guide to recover data from Mac formatted external hard drives:

  1. Click Start now at the end of installation to launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery. You can also open it by double clicking on the software icon.
  2. Wait for a few seconds until the disk loading process is finished automatically.
  3. Select Devices from the top of the software pane.
  4. Choose the formatted Mac drive under it.
  5. Double click on the target drive directly or click on the Scan button.
  6. The full scan will be started at once; more and more files and folders will be found during the scan. Please make sure the Mac hard drive is always connected to your computer.
  7. Browse the found items carefully to decide which files are needed and which are not; add a checkmark into the square box in from of all the files you want to recover. If you can’t confirm, go to view the content before recovery by clicking Preview.
  8. Click on the Save button in the lower right corner.
  9. Select a storage path in the pop-up window to store the files waiting to be recovered; please make sure it has enough free space left. (You shouldn’t select the original Mac-formatted drive as the storage location in order to avoid secondary damage.)
  10. Click on the OK button in the same window to confirm your selection.
  11. Then, wait until all the files saved on Mac hard drive have been recovered successfully to appointed place. A prompt window will show up to inform you of the recovery result.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery is also a great tool for recovering formatted SD card or broken/corrupted USB stick.

After the data recovery process has been completed, you may transfer back the recovered files to the formatted disk as long as you can confirm that you’ve got back all the files you need.

What about Windows 10 read Mac drive? Please read the following sections.

Can a Mac external drive be read on a PC?

A lot of people are wondering whether they can read Mac drive on Windows 10 with freeware. In fact, there is both free and paid software to help people read Mac drive on PC easily, without formatting the disk. I’ll introduce some of the useful software you can use on Windows 10 to read files and folders from Mac-formatted drive.

Note: Choice 1 ~ 3 is suitable for reading HFS & HFS+; choice 4 ~ 5 is used to read APFS on Windows.

Choice 1: HFSExplorer

HFSExplorer is completely free; it’s a basic application designed to help users read Mac-formatted hard disks and disk images. HFSExplorer gives support to various file systems: HFS (the Standard file system on Mac), HFS+ (the Extended file system on Mac OS), HFSX (the Extended Mac OS file system with case sensitive file names), etc.

What Does HFSExplorer Allow You to Do

  • Browse volumes on Mac by using a graphical file system browser.
  • Check the volume related information.
  • Extract files you need (copy files to Windows hard disk free).
  • Mount & read disk images like .dmg and .sparsebundle.
  • Create disk images from the volume on Mac.

The partition schemes including Master Boot Record, GUID Partition Table, and Apple Partition Map are supported by HFSExplorer.


You need to install Java first if you don’t have it on your PC since it’s required (Sun's Java SE runtime environment version 5.0 or greater in which OpenJDK works fine).

Recover Files From External Hard Drive Mac Free

HFSExplorer: Launch error

No Java runtime environment found. HFSExplorer cannot function without Java.

Press “OK” to open up http://www.java.com where you can download a Java runtime environment for your system.

You should just click OK as prompted to download & install proper runtime environment when seeing the window above.

How to Use HFSExplorer to Read Mac Hard Drive on Windows

HFSExplorer is a good tool to help you read your Mac-formatted drive on your Windows PC.

  1. Connect the Mac-formatted drive to Windows 10 PC.
  2. Run HFSExplorer as administrator.
  3. Select File from the menu bar.
  4. Choose Load file system from device
  5. Click Autodetect to load the connected hard drive.
  6. Choose the files & folders you want to view in the HFS+ drive.
  7. Click Extract in the graphical window.
  8. Select a folder as the destination.
  9. Expand the folder to read Mac drive files on a Windows 10 PC.

Recover Files From External Hard Drive Mac Free Version


  • HFS/HFS+/HSFX partitions can all be detected by using HFSExplorer.
  • You can also Select a device or Specify device name manually in step 5.

If the connected external hard drive is not showing up on PC, you can’t detect it in step 5. You must make it appear in Windows first.

Is there any other hard drive reader for Windows? Of course, yes; please move on.

Choice 2: Apple HFS+ Drivers

Another way to access HFS + files in Windows 10 for free is installing Apple HFS + drivers.

Tip: The Apple HFS + drivers only give you read access to the files in Mac-formatted drives.

Steps to Read Mac Drives on PC with Apple HFS + Drivers

First, you should make sure you don’t have Paragon or MacDrive (the hard drive readers I will talk about later) on your Windows computer. If you do, please remove them now.

Second, you should download the correct Windows driver package to your local drive.

Third, you should configure your Windows as follow.

  1. Go to the default download path (Downloads folder) to extract the downloaded zip file.
  2. Find AppleHFS.sys and AppleMNT.sys files.
  3. Copy them by pressing Ctrl + C (you can also do it by right clicking & choosing Copy).
  4. Go to this path: C:WindowsSystem32drivers.
  5. Copy them by pressing Ctrl + V (you can also right click on any blank area & choose Paste).
  6. Navigate to the downloaded folder to find Add_AppleHFS.reg file.
  7. Open the .reg file to bring up a Registry Editor prompt window.
  8. Click on the Yes button and then click OK.
  9. Restart your computer to make changes take effect.

Fourth, you should connect the Mac-formatted drive to your PC -> open File Explorer (also called Windows Explorer) -> locate that drive under This PC -> access files you want.

Tip: You may find the File Explorer has stopped working or not responding when trying to open it; please don’t be nervous since this problem can be fixed.

Choice 3: HFS+ for Windows

Though the Paragon HFS+ for Windows is a paid hard driver reader, you’ll love it after using.

What Can Paragon HFS+ for Windows Do for You

  • The speed is fast and the performance is stable.
  • The Mac file systems are integrated into Windows File Explorer.
  • It provides full read and write access to Mac drives formatted with HFS, HFS +, and HFSX (just like other drives in Windows).
  • It allows Windows programs to read from or write to the Mac-formatted drive on Windows.
  • There are additional features that worth the cost.

How Much Does It Cost

The Paragon HFS+ for Windows is sold on the official website for $19.95 with a single seat license; $49.95 with one license worked on 3 PCs.

If you don’t want to spend money in reading Mac drive on Windows, you should download the trial edition; it is free for use for 10 days. You can access, copy files from or to the Mac drive during this period; it’s enough.

Choice 4: MacDrive

If your Mac drive is formatted with APFS (Apple File System), you won’t be able to read Mac hard drive on Windows because there are no free apps designed for it. But you have many choices of paid applications to access & edit Mac drive files on Windows; MacDrive is a popular one designed by Mediafour.

Merits of MacDrive

  • It is used to help users read data from and write data to Mac disks from Windows directly.
  • You can read both APFS and HFS+ drives in File Explorer.
  • It allows you to create and partition Mac disks on your Windows.
  • A graphical interface is offered for Mac-formatted drives verification, format, and repair.
  • It’s a trusted solution which can date back to 1996.

The only drawback of MacDrive seems to be the selling price is higher than some similar tools. You need to pay $49.99 for the Standard version or $69.99 for the Pro version.

Is it worth the price? Yes, if you have such needs; it also includes unique features like support for Mac-formatted RAID disks.

Choice 5: Paragon APFS for Windows

Paragon also designed an APFS for Windows app for reading APFS Mac drive on Windows; it is considered as one of the main competitors of MacDrive.

External Drive Recovery Mac

Features of Paragon APFS for Windows

  • It provides read and write access to Mac drives formatted with APFS.
  • It also allows you to access and edit compressed and cloned files (you can only access the encrypted volumes without making any changes).
  • It gives support to auto-mounting at start-up; the partition tools of MacDrive are not included in this app.

The biggest disadvantage of Paragon APFS for Windows when compared to MacDrive is the HFS+ support. The biggest advantage of Paragon APFS for Windows over MacDrive is the price – it costs only $49.95 for one license worked on 3 PCs.

Of course, there are many other tools available for you to read Mac drives on Windows (10/8/7, etc.).

Bonus Tip

You can format your Mac hard drive to exFAT, which supports both Windows and Mac OS X. In this way, you can get full read and write access to exFAT drives on Windows without any additional third-party software.

The only thing you need to worry is that the data on Mac drives will be removed. So you need to turn to MiniTool Power Data Recovery as mentioned in part 1 to recover the files you need after formatting.

How to format a hard drive? Basically, there are three ways.

  • Right click on the drive in File Explorer -> choose Format.
  • OpenDisk Management -> right click on the target drive -> choose Format.
  • Format Partition with MiniTool Partition Wizard – a professional disk manager.

Final Thoughts

Though you can’t access a Mac-formatted drive on a Windows computer directly, there are useful ways and tools to help you read Mac drive on Windows easily. Please just follow the steps mentioned above and choose the tool depending on your needs.

Accidentally formatted hard drive mac, how to unformat?
Free download advanced Mac unformat tool - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
How to recover formatted Mac hard drive in 3 steps
How to protect Mac hard drive data
Recover formatted hard drive Mac FAQs

Help! Accidentally Formatted Hard Drive Mac, How to Unformat?

'Is there any way or software to unformat Mac hard drive? I have accidentally formatted an 80GB external Fujitsu hard drive on my Mac while backing up the Mac with Time Machine. This hard drive contained family albums with thousands of photos. How can I recover formatted hard drive Mac to get back crucial pictures? Please help!'

Have you ever encountered the same problem? If this issue occurs to you, it may be extremely urgent for you to find a way to unformat Mac hard drive. You might think it is difficult or even impossible to recover data from a formatted hard drive. In fact, you can do it with a high success rate. For formatted Mac hard drive recovery, the most important thing is to find a professional and easy-to-use data recovery software for Mac. We highly recommend you try EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, which has the highest chance of successfully recovering formatted hard drive on Mac.

Quick video tutorial on how to recover formatted Mac hard drive

Free Download Mac Unformat Tool - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

After the hard drive format, as long as you did not overwrite the old data with new files, you can recover data from formatted hard drive on Mac. It is actually pretty easy to recover formatted hard drive on Mac. Simply download and use EaseUS data recovery software, which has more than ten years of experience in the field of data recovery. Its outstanding product quality and data recovery capability outranks its numerous equivalents and becomes one of the best Mac file recovery tools.

EaseUS data recovery software allows you to:

  • Recover deleted files from all formatted storage devices, like PC/Mac, HDD/SSD, USB flash drive, SD/CF card, digital camera, and iPhone/Android
  • Retrieve files in all data loss scenarios, including accidental deletion, formatting, system crash, emptying Trash Bin, virus attack, and more
  • Recover virtually any type of image, video, audio, archive, or document file
  • Get back files from APFS, HFS+, HFS X, FAT (FAT16, FAT32), exFAT, and NTFS partition

On the whole, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can not only help you recover your formatted hard drive and get back your lost data but also recover deleted files after emptying Trash Bin, recover lost data after OS reinstallation, retrieve files from a formatted USB drive, and more.

How to Recover Formatted Mac Hard Drive in 3 Steps

With the easy-to-use Mac format recovery software, you can recover data from formatted hard drive on your Mac with simple steps:

Step 1. Select the disk location (it can be an internal HDD/SSD or a removable storage device) where you lost data and files. Click the 'Scan' button.

Step 2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display the scanning results on the left pane.

Step 3. In the scan results, select the file(s) and click the 'Recover' button to have them back.

You can also apply the steps to recover files from formatted external hard drive on Mac. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is a versatile software tool that meets all your demands. Since data loss due to various reasons occurs quite often, it's a wise choice to equip your Mac with a data recovery tool which can help you rescue your data when unexpected data loss happens. Don't hesitate to give it a try.

How to Recover Formatted Hard Drive on Mac for Free

To recover data from Mac formatted hard drive for free, you can apply the free version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. EaseUS free data recovery software allows you to recover up to 2GB of data. If you have less than 2GB of formatted data, you can use the free version. Otherwise, you'll need to use the pro version to recover more data.

Why Can We Recover Data from Formatted Hard Drive on Mac

You can recover files from a formatted hard drive because of the way the operating system deletes data. When you delete files or format a partition, you only remove the entry and not the files themselves. The Windows or macOS doesn't completely erase files right after deleted but marks the space occupied by the deleted data as available for later use by the operating system.

Ideally, it would be best to stop using the hard drive after formatting or deleting, then apply a data recovery program to scan and recover the lost files. The sooner you make the data recovery after you delete your file, the better your recovery chances will be.

Bonus Tips: How to Protect Mac Hard Drive Data

Formatting results in data loss. The data finally disappears once you write new data to the marked space. So, stop using the hard drive to store new data, which is the key to use software to recover as much data as possible after format.

Compared with data recovery, making a backup of data is much easier. You can copy your files to an external hard drive or upload them to a cloud drive to protect them. If your information changes very frequently, you can create a regular backup with Mac backup and recovery software - EaseUS Todo Backup. With it, you can back up files easily and quickly. Follow the steps below to protect your Mac data:

Step 1. Launch and run EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac.

Recover files from external hard drive mac free

Click the 'Backup' tab or simply click the '+' button at the bottom-left corner to create a backup project - name the backup project and click 'OK'.

Step 2. Set up the backup destination to store Mac files as backups, automatic backup frequency, etc, and click 'OK'.

Step 3. Add files and folders to the backup project. Click 'File+' to selectively choose files and folders. Click the blue start button to back up your Mac files

Other Useful Ways to Protect Files on Mac Hard Drive

  • Operate carefully and try not to format the hard drive mistakenly.
  • Use the Data Protection feature of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to avoid accidental data loss.
  • Install and upgrade antivirus software to minimize this risk of viruses and malware infection.
  • Avoid excessive heat and moisture that will damage your hard drive. Keep the device cool to ensure data safety.
  • Stop using your hard drive once data loss happens.
  • Use a reliable Mac data recovery tool to recover a formatted drive on Mac.

See More: How to Format a Hard Drive for Mac

The easiest way to format Mac's drive is by using macOS's built-in Disk Utility for FAT32 or exFAT. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Connect your hard drive or external hard drive to your Mac. Double left-click on the Mac HD, the internal Mac hard drive visible on the desktop screen's top-right corner. Select 'Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility'.

Step 2. Select your hard drive on the sidebar, choose 'Erase'.

Step 3. Rename the drive, select the 'Volume Format' drop-down list and choose 'MS-DOS (FAT)' or 'ex-FAT File System'. Then click 'Erase'.

Wait for the process to complete and let the macOS erase it on the drive and reform it by FAT32 or ex-FAT format.


You can recover Mac formatted hard drive data with the help of EaseUS data recovery software. It also helps to recover crashed, damaged, dead, or corrupted hard drive on Mac or Windows due to different types of reasons.

Recover Formatted Hard Drive Mac FAQs

Here are common FAQs that you may be interested in. Check if any of them could help you.

Can you recover a formatted hard drive?

Yes, you can. If a hard drive is formatted via a quick format on Mac, you can recover all the hard drive data. As long as new data do not overwrite lost files, you can unformat the hard drive and get back lost files by using hard drive recovery software.

How do I recover files from a formatted hard drive Mac?

To unformat a Mac hard drive and recover files, follow the steps here:

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Mac data recovery software. Select the disk location and click the 'Scan' button.

Step 2. This software will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display the scanning results on the left pane.

Step 3. In the scan results, select the file(s) you want to recover. Click 'Recover Now' to have them back.

How do I unformat an external hard drive on Mac?

To unformat an external hard drive:

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive to Mac. Launch EaseUS Mac data recovery software, and select the disk location and click 'Scan'.

Step 2. This software will scan your external hard drive and display the scanning results on the left pane.

Step 3. In the scan results, select the file(s) and click 'Recover Now' to get them back.

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How do I fix a corrupted hard drive Mac?

You can try the methods below to fix a corrupted hard drive or corrupted external hard drive on Mac. But before you fix it, you'd better back up and recover data from the corrupted hard drive to avoid data loss due to improper operation.

  • Method 1. Check if your external hard drive is properly connected to your Mac
  • Method 2. Fix the corrupted hard drive by running First Aid in Disk Utility to check and repair minor logic errors
  • Method 3. Repair the corrupted external hard drive by formatting

How to read Mac formatted drive on Windows PC?

You can use a third-party tool - HFSExplorer to access drives formatted with Apple's HFS+ file system on Windows. It's a completely free way to access and read a Mac formatted drive on Windows PC.

Follow procedures below to use HFSExplorer:

Step 1. Install HFSExplorer (https://www.catacombae.org/hfsexplorer/) like any other Windows program.

Step 2. Connect the Mac formatted drive to your Windows PC and launch HFSExplorer.

Step 3. Click the 'File' menu and select 'Load file system from device'. It will automatically locate the connected drive, and you can load it.

Step 4. Then, you'll see the contents of the HFS+ drive. Select the files or folders you want, click 'Extract', and choose a folder to copy the files.

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