Recover HFS Files in Windows with Disk Drill

You normally cannot read Mac-formatted drives and files on Windows computers. Usually, Windows will just erase and format the drive. That does not mean you cannot recover HFS partitions in Windows. You just need a third-party HFS disk recovery solution such as Disk Drill.
Experts agree that you should use a mutually compatible file format such as exFAT when you need to use your drives on both Mac and Windows systems. However, all is not lost if your drive uses Apple's HFS, HFS+, or the HFS Plus format. While Windows cannot read the format by default, you can use the Disk Drill HFS recovery tool to recover any files on the drive.

#1 Do not format the drive

Just make sure you do not format the drive by accident. Windows will ask to format any Mac-formatted drive you connect to it. So, you need to make sure you click "Cancel" from the pop-up dialogue. Disk Drill can undelete HFS files or extract them out of the box , canceling the formatting will give a higher chance to recover your files.

Windows will just display the format dialogue box for any partition it cannot read. It will not open Disk Drill automatically. Thus, you need to close the message and manually open
the HFS recovery tool.

  • 1Download Disk Drill
  • 2Install it
  • 3Run Disk Drill for Windows

#2 Ignore the Unrecognized File System warning

As soon as you cancel the formatting dialogue, Windows will give you a warning that it cannot read the drive. Do not be alarmed by this message. Windows is just reiterating what we already know. You need a special disk driver to read Mac drives and recover HFS files on Windows systems. Disk Drill has HFS, HFS+, and HFS-Plus drivers built into it. So, you can safely ignore the warning. Ignore the Unrecognized File System warning

#3 Open Disk Drill to begin the HFS disk recovery

One of the best freeware options, Disk Drill has everything you need to undelete HFS files on Windows. It has advanced data recovery features that will work with any HFS+ system. You just have to open the application and select one of the two user-friendly data recovery HFS option s. By default, Disk Drill runs the unified “Recover” option to recover as many files as possible. You can also set it to use the “Universal partition search” in the expanded menu if you need more customized data restoration.
Open Disk Drill to begin the HFS disk recovery
Disk Drill will scan your entire HFS, HFS+, or HFS-Plus driveto recover deleted files wherever they lay to give you a list of everything on it. You can then go through the list to undelete the HFS files you want. You can even use filters to remove unnecessary system files from the list if it gets too large for you.

Restore HFS Partition with FileVault Encryption

Some HFS partitions come with FileVault encryption. FileVault is Apple's Mac OS file encryption tool and you can spot it by its 50GB sparse bundle bands. Disk Drill should be able to recover HFS partitions with or without FileVault. If it cannot read your drive, you would have to use the Mac version of the software and provide our app with your FileVault password to decrypt it first.
Restore HFS Partition with FileVault Encryption

#4 HFS Recovery of Deleted Files is now Complete

To undelete the HFS files, all you should do now is click “Restore”. Disk Drill will then save the files you highlighted to a folder of your choice. After that, you are done. That is how quick and simple Disk Drill is.
Disk Drill will even try to piece back together corrupted or missing files. Disk Drill will do this without needing any external Mac OS drivers or tools, giving you a complete data recovery solution for your Windows system. HFS Recovery of Deleted Files is now Complete

Deep Scan When All Else Fails

If you failed the earlier warning, and formatted your HFS+ drive, all is not lost. You can still try to restore the partition and retrieve your files. You might just need something more robust to recreate it and hopefully the formatting did not zero out the disk’s surface. Fortunately, Disk Drill comes with Deep Scan. Deep Scan will find all your hard to reach files regardless of how you lost them. It literally reads your drive byte by byte to reconstruct both the file types and the partition database stored in its database. It may take longer to complete, but it is worth the wait when all other tools fail.

Data Recovery for HFS Drives

Disk Drill 2
Recover Files and HFS Drives in Windows
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    Windows XP+, 16MB disk space
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    Version 2.0.0.313, released on 11/27/2017
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Recover deleted partition on Mac OS X and use free protection options of Disk Drill to never lose any data again
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What other Disk Drill users had to say

  • Amilton Rogério Santos de Araujo
    I'm very happy with the result I had after using the Disk Drill software. I was able to recover 100% of the files that had been lost. All tests with several other softwares proved to be much lower, with very small recovery rates. I recommend using Disk Drill! 100% efficient, fast recovery. Congratulations to the staff!
  • «Disk Drill is a practical and intuitive utility that can successfully assist you in regaining access to lost or damaged files from a variety of disk or file system types, making it quite worthy for considering, should you be in the market for such a tool.» by Marina Dan