How to Access Your macOS Partition From Windows in Boot Camp

If you have Windows installed on your Mac via Boot Camp, there have probably times when you wish you could access your macOS files and folders from within Windows. This tutorial will guide you in doing just that – using free and open source software.

With HFSExplorer you can access all of the files and folders on your macOS partition/drive – from Windows. HFSExplorer is a completely free and open source app.

PLEASE NOTE: the steps and screenshots used in this guide are from Windows Vista. I have confirmed that HFSExplorer works in the latest versions of Windows (Windows 7, 8 and 10). HFSExplorer has been updated several times since this guide was published and the steps may have changed slightly in the process, but you should still be able to follow along with no problems at all.

  1. Start by booting your Mac into Windows. Download HFSExplorer and once the download has completed, run the installer file.

    Click Next to begin.

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  3. Review the license agreement (right) and if you agree to it, click I Agree

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  5. On the Choose Components screen, decide if you want to register .dmg and .cdr file associations. I went with .dmg and left .cdr alone – but you should decide based on your needs. Click Next to continue.

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  7. If you don’t like the default installation folder, use the Browse… button to select another. Click Next.

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  9. If you don’t like the default folder name (?) – feel free to change it here. Click Install to begin the installation.

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  11. When the installation is complete, click Finish.

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  13. Navigate to the HFSExplorer folder in your Start menu. If you’re using Windows Vista, 7, 8 or 10, click Run HFSExplorer in Administrator mode. If you’re using XP and are signed in with an administrative account, you can click HFSExplorer. If you’re not using an administrative account, use Run HFSExplorer in Administrator mode and enter an administrators password.
  14. If HFSExplorer launches, skip down to step #12.

    If you don’t have the Java Runtime Environment installed, you’ll receive an error message telling you as much. Now’s the time to head over to the Sun download page to download and install the Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

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  16. If you get an error stating that MSVRC71.dll wasn’t found, have no fear. Click OK to close the error message.

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  18. Navigate to C:\Program Files\Java\jrelx.x_x\bin\ (where x.x_x is the version number of the version of JRE you have installed). In that folder, copy the file msvrc71.dll.

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  20. Now navigate to C:\Program Files\HFSExplorer\ (or whatever folder you installed HFSExplorer in) and paste msvrc71.dll into it. Now launch HFSExplorer again.

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  22. You’ll be presented with the main HFSExplorer window.

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  24. Click File and then Load file system from device…
  25. Click the Autodetect…
  26. button.

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  27. Assuming you have just one HFS+ partition, click OK. If you have more than one, select the one you want to access, then click OK.
  28. And now you can access all of the files and folders in macOS from Windows via Boot Camp.

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  30. To copy files over to Windows, select them and then click the Extract button.

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  32. In the Extract here window, navigate to the folder you want to save the files in. Click Extract here when you’re ready.

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  34. Click OK after the files have been extracted (copied).
  35. And now you can open/edit/whatever the files.

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  37. Note: you can not write files back to the macOS partition. This is actually a good thing – should you get a virus in Windows, it won’t cause any harm to your macOS installation.

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