Today I found myself staring at a FireWire drive formatted under Mac OS X with not a Mac in sight but an urgent need to extract data from said drive.
A bit of Googling revealed HFSExplorer, an excellent piece of software by Erik Larsson which reads Mac formatted volumes under Windows. This is a lightweight Java application with full source code and executables. A quick install and at launch HFSExplorer will autodetect an HFS volume or ask me to choose a volume from a list. In moments I’m greeted with a fully-browsable directory listing of the Mac HFS volume.
Extracting a 2 GB file took a few minutes to complete but a progress bar guides you to fulfillment. A confirmation dialogue informs of completion and the file is at your disposal in Windows.
There are some limitations in volume types, such as Mac OS X Extended with Case Sensitivity, but your typical OS X Non/Journaled volume works fine.
HFSExplorer is a must-have for those times when you forget to copy your Mac-centric data files to Windows-friendly media.