Macintosh disks on PC

Question: How can I read Macintosh disks on my PC?

The IT Guy says:
First, if you are still using floppy disks, it is really time to join the 21st century and get rid of them – or keep them just for their sentimental value! Copy your data to a folder on your network or hard drive and burn a CD of it. Although I recommend using USB ‘thumb drives’ or ‘flash drives’ instead of floppy disks, keep in mind that USB media can still fail, just as floppy disks can. So it is still important to back up/archive your data wherever it is stored.

Now, if you still have data on a Macintosh-formatted floppy disk and you want to move it to a PC, you have several options.

  • Email the files to yourself as an attachment on the Mac, and then retrieve them via a Webmail interface on the Windows computer.
  • Use a USB thumb drive if both computers have USB connections.
  • Burn a CD of the data: you can burn a Windows-compatible CD that will read fine on both the Macintosh and the Windows computer.
  • If you are stuck using a floppy disk drive to transfer the data, get a blank floppy and format it on the Macintosh computer for MS-DOS. That way the disk can be read by both your Macintosh and Windows computer. If you’re using an OS 9 or older Macintosh, click on the floppy disk icon on the desktop and from the SPECIAL menu, choose format. You can select MS-DOS as the format. Then copy your data from the hard drive (you’ll have to copy it there from your Macintosh-formatted floppy first) to the newly formatted MS-DOS disk. That disk should be readable by your Windows computer.

Note that the Macintosh computer will write files that start with a period and are resource fork files. These are not used by the PC and should be ignored.

Next Tip: Access database on a Macintosh

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