Click for MacWindows home

Enable Windows to Use Mac Drives with MacDrive 7

MacDrive 7 enables Windows to read and write to all Mac hard drives, optical discs, iPods -- any Mac storage. Mac disks look and act like standard Windows disks. Windows apps can open and save files directly on Mac disks. Copy files between HFS/HFS+ Mac disks and NTFS or FAT32 disks. Burn Mac CDs and DVDs. MacDrive 7 also lets you access your Mac OS X partition from within Windows in Boot Camp. Now supports Vista 64-bit.
Check out Amazon's discount price.

MacWindows Tutorials

Sharing Disks between Windows and Mac OS 9 and earlier

On this page:

Sharing Disks

This report describes how Mac OS and Windows users can work with floppy disks, ZIP cartridges, and other types of media that originated on the other operating system.

Bringing a foreign file to your machine is only the first step, and doesn't guarantee that you'll be able to use it. For that, see Working with Foreign Files.

Using Mac Disks on Windows PCs

Windows machines don't have built-in Macintosh compatibility, but third party products can enable Windows users to work with Mac disks. These software utilities can read Mac CD-ROMs and read and write to Mac external hard drives, Mac-formated removable media such as Zip drives, and Mac-formatted optical CDs and DVDs.

Some of the products allow users of Windows to access Mac disks from open dialog boxes, the Windows Explorer, the My Computer icon, and the ordinary places from which disks are accessed.

For a listing of available third-party products, see the MacWindows Cross-Platform Drive Solutions page.

Using and Formatting PC Floppies on Mac OS 9 and earlier

After 1989, Macs that included a 3.5 floppy drive has had the ability to read, write, and initialize 1.44 MB PC floppies, known as DOS-formatted floppies. (Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X can also recognize Windows 95 1.6 MB floppies.) The Mac floppy drive is known as the SuperDrive or FDHD (pronounced fud-hud) short for floppy-drive, high density. The only Mac models that didn't have a SuperDrive were the original Mac 128k, the Mac 512k, the Mac Plus, and older Mac SE's (the SuperDrive was added in the middle of the SE's production run.

To initialize a floppy disk in DOS format, select the disk in the Finder, pull down the Special menu and choose Erase Disk. Select "DOS 1.4 MB" and click erase. (The selection "Pro-DOS 1.4 MB" is a format for the old Apple II machine.)

Mounting PC Disks in the Finder (Mac OS 9 and Earlier)

Though the Mac's floppy drive can read and write to PC floppies, it's the PC Exchange control panel that automatically mounts the disk on the Desktop, letting you drag and drop Mac and PC files between Mac and PC drives and disks. All you need to do is make sure the "On" button is selected in the PC Exchange control panel. (In the years before PC Exchange, you needed the now-defunct Apple File Exchange utility to access PC floppies.

When you insert a PC disk, it appears on the Finder desktop with this icon:

The files on a mounted Windows disk will each be represented by a generic PC icon.

Currently, PC Exchange does not support Windows 95 long file names. It will display long file names in 8.3 format, cutting off the remaining characters. (DOS Mounter from Software Architects does support Windows 95 long file names.)

PC Exchange's desktop-mounting ability also extends beyond floppies to Zip, Syquest, and other removable media. (For PC CD-ROMs, see below.) For Zip or Jaz drives, PC Exchange will mount DOS-formatted using the Iomega Driver extension. For non-Zip removable media drives (such as Syquest), you shouldn't install the device driver that came with drive. Instead, open the PC Exchange control panel, click Options, select the SCSI device from the list, and restart your Mac. PC Exchange will install it's own device driver for that SCSI device.

You can also replace PC Exchange with a more advanced third-party program (see MacWindows Solutions).

Using 1.6 MB Windows Floppies (DMF) on Macs

Most DOS floppies hold 1.44 MB, like Mac floppies. However, Windows 95 introduced a new type of floppy: the 1.6 MB Distributed Media Format (DMF) floppy. While the Mac's floppy drive can't format 1.6 MB DMF floppies, it can read and write data to them, and PC Exchange 2.0.7 or later can mount 1.6 MB DMF floppies in the Mac's Finder. System 7.6 and Mac OS 8 ship with PC Exchange 2.1.1.

You can also make disk image files of any PC floppy with Apple's Disk Copy. PC Exchange 2.1.1 enables you make disk image files of 1.6 MB DMF floppies using Disk Copy 6.1 (available on Apple's web site).

Using DOS/Windows-Formatted PCMCIA Cards in PowerBooks

Most storage PCMCIA cards (PC Cards) are pre-formatted as DOS volumes. The PC Exchange control version 2.0.2 or greater (included with System 7.5 and later) enables the PowerBook series 190, 500, and 5300, and 3400 to mount these volumes. You can then read and write data from and to the DOS-formatted PC card, as well as delete files.

Reformatting a PC Card.

Unfortunately, you can't reformat a Mac PC Card in a DOS/Windows format. However, you can reformat a DOS/Windows PC Card as a Macintosh volume, but you must first turn off PC Exchange. To do this, you have to first eject the PC Card. Then open the PC Exchange control panel and select the Off option.

To format, insert the PC card. A message will ask you if you want to reformat the PC card as a Macintosh volume. Click Initialize.

Once the PC card is reformatted, you can turn PC Exchange back on by opening the PC Exchange control panel and select the On option.

Reading PC CD-ROM Discs on Macs

Mac OS has the ability to mount DOS and Windows CD-ROMs on the Finder's Desktop. This is made possible by the Foreign File Access and ISSO 9660 File Access extension files in the System folder. Turning these extensions off in the Extensions Manager control panel disables the Mac's ability to read PC CD-ROMs.

Reading Windows CD-ROM doesn't necessarily mean you can open the files on the disc, play PC games, or use Windows software. The ability to use mount Windows CD-ROMs is useful only if:

| Top of This Page |

Other MacWindows Departments

| Tips and Problem Reports | Product Solutions | News Archives | Site Map |
MacWindows Home |

Serving the cross-platform community since November 15, 1997.
This site created and maintained by
Copyright 1997-2000 John Rizzo. All rights reserved.