How to Read an Old Mac Floppy in a PC
By Marshal M. Rosenthal
Floppy disks are long-forgotten relics of an earlier computing age, but many Mac users who have moved on to PCs still have data stored on them they'd like to recover. You need more than just a floppy disk drive to read a Mac floppy disk--a special Mac-to-PC program must be installed on the Windows computer so it can recognize the data on the Mac floppy disk. There are a few programs for the PC that allow this to be done, even if your computer doesn't have an internal floppy drive, and the PC's operating system will not be negatively affected by the process.
Download a Mac-to-PC program to the PC's desktop, such as MacDisk or MacDrive 8 (see the links in Resources). Double-click on the program's icon after it has fully downloaded. Follow the menus to install the program, and then restart your PC.
Attach the USB cable from the USB floppy disk drive to a USB port on the PC. Insert the Mac floppy disk into the disk slot of the USB floppy disk drive.
Run the Mac-to-PC program, Click once on the icon of the Mac floppy disk that appears in the left column of the program and then select a file from the Mac floppy disk that appears in the center column of the program (hold down the "Shift" key while selecting to choose multiple files).
Press the "Apple-to-PC" icon at the top of the Mac-to-PC program. In the window that appears, navigate to the desktop of the PC. Click the "Save" button at the bottom of the window to close the window.
Wait as the Mac floppy disk is read by the USB floppy disk drive and the selected files are transferred to the PC's hard drive. Quit the Mac-to-PC program when done. Eject the Mac floppy disk from the USB floppy disk drive, and disconnect it from the computer.
- Clean the floppy disk with a rough cloth and engage the metal sliding door once or twice before using it.
- Do not attach the USB floppy disk drive to a USB hub - the signal will not be as efficient as using a built-in USB port.
Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology maven with more than 15 years of editorial experience. A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography with a Bachelor of Arts in photographic arts, his editorial work has appeared both domestically as well as internationally in publications such as "Home Theater," "Electronic House," "eGear," "Computer and Video Games" and "Digitrends."