How to Recover HFS, HFS+ MacOS Partition via Windows

HFS+ or HFS Extended is Apple’s proprietary file system, which is best for traditional hard drives and older MacOS versions. Also, Time Machine on Mac only supports HFS+ and Xsan format disks. Thus, most Mac users prefer to format their external drives as HFS+ to store Time Machine backups. However, like another mechanical drive, HFS+ hard drives are also prone to damage due to various reasons such as:

  • Partition Deletion Or Drive Formatting
  • Bad sectors
  • Power Outages
  • System Crash
  • Abrupt or Force Shutdown
  • Corrupt Volume Header
  • Un-trusted Program Installation or virus attacks

The above events can damage both internal and external HFS+ drive partitions in Mac.


Steps to Recover HFS+ macOS Partition via Windows

Windows can’t read or write to HFS+ drives and partitions. However, with third-party software, you can recover a damaged, formatted, and erased HFS+ drive partition via Windows PC. Following are the 3 simple steps that you can follow to safely recover the critical files from an HFS+ partition via Windows OS.

Step 1: Stop Using the Affected Drive or Mac

Immediately stop using the drive or the system from where HFS+ partition is lost or damaged. The same is also true when you erase files in Mac. Avoiding disk use after -a data loss incident- prevents overwriting, which otherwise can corrupt the lost data and destroy it beyond the scope of recovery.

Step 2: Restore Data from Backup

Backup can be maintained in two ways – on the ‘hard drive’ and on ‘cloud’. Restore the lost files from the backup, if available or head to the next step immediately.

Nowadays, you can easily back up data on a local external hard drive or the clouds. While restoring data from the physical copy is less time consuming (and more efficient) than restoring it from cloud, your critical files are much safer on the cloud storage than your local backup.

Step 3: Recover by using a software-based solution

As we mentioned earlier, to recover data from an HFS+ partition via Windows, you need a software utility such as Stellar Toolkit for Data Recovery.

  • Connect the HFS+ drive to your Windows PC, install the software, and recover the lost or deleted data from a missing, formatted, or damaged macOS HFS+ partition.
  • Store the recovered data on a separate drive. In case storage space on the destination drive is less, save the scan info and restore data in stages.
  • Use the software when the backup isn’t available, or lost files are not found in the last backup.

We hope this article helps you to recover data from macOS HFS+ partition by using Windows PC. The next step is to prevent data loss from the hard drive that has HFS+ file system or macOS partitioning.

Precautions to Prevent Data Loss in HFS, HFS+ MacOS Partition:

1. Create regular Backup of essential data—preferably a local, another on the clouds.

2. Delete unwanted files to free up extra space—you may use a cleaner app.

3. Move files not in use to cloud or external drive to conserve storage space.

4. Compress large files before storage.

5. Delete the unnecessary emails data.

5. Use Drive Monitor to monitor drives: If you have installed the software we mentioned for HFS+ recovery, you will find an option called ‘Monitor Drive’ on the first screen, when you launch the software. It keeps a check on the hard drive performance, temperature, and displays the health status of the drive. If any of these parameters indicate a threshold limit, then the user can take appropriate measures before the disk reaches the critical limit.

6. Check for any bloatware: Bloatware is software with unnecessary features, which use a large amount of system memory and RAM. Software turns into bloatware when its functionality is deemed not useful owing to the unwieldy features. Such unwieldy software should be removed.

7. If required, use cloud-based features instead of bloatware: cloud-based applications are stored on the cloud and hence do not consume storage and interrupt with the system usability.


Data backup is critically important for restoring lost data. But often the backup is either available or not available, but of no use due to outdated files, corruption, etc. In that case, It is possible to recover data securely with the help of a data recovery toolkit, provided the lost data hasn’t been overwritten due to continued use of the storage media after data the loss incident. So, it’s better to avoid trying hit-and-trial data recovery methods and immediately stop using the storage media.

Further, it’s recommended to use drive monitor utility for continuous monitoring of hard drive health, performance and other key parameters. Drive monitor utility – along with backup and data recovery software – helps enable all-around protection for the data stored on HFS+ MacOS partitions.

Comments (1)
  1. Dan D. Hart June 13, 2019

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