Except for adding HFS+ support, MacDrive 98 3.0 is identical to version 2.0. With it, you can use Macintosh disks on a Windows 95, 98, or NT 4.0 PC. The program handles floppies, Iomega Zip and Jaz cartridges, CDs, external hard disks, or any other disks available in a PC version. You can read and write data to the disks as if they’re Windows media. With HFS+ support, the program can now handle media in the new disk format as well as the older HFS format.
The program remains an install-and-forget-it utility. Without using any special commands, you can access Mac disks from the Windows desktop, in Windows Explorer, and from Open and Save dialog boxes in Windows applications. The only time you’ll even remember you’re working with Mac media is when you see the apple that MacDrive 98 adds to disk icons. However, when you right-click on the disk icon to bring up Windows’ contextual menu, the utility adds Macintosh-specific media options, such as the ability to format a disk for the Mac.
A Few Extras
Although it’s similar to MacOpener, MacDrive 98 offers a few extra utilities that its rival does not. For example, it can identify the creator and file types of Mac fileshandy when you’re trying to update extension maps in Mac-disk-mounting software, in cross-platform networking software, or in Mac OS File Exchange. Another handy utility lets you copy Mac disks from your PC’s drives. On Media4’s Web site, you’ll find several other utilities that remap special symbols between Mac and PC files so they’ll appear correctly when you open a document.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
Both MacOpener 4.1 and MacDrive 98 3.0 let you easily and transparently open Macintosh files on Windows PCs. MacOpener once had an edge because of its HFS+ support, but it’s now almost impossible to choose between the two. Their prices are almost the same, and their key features are the same.
Nevertheless, we prefer MacDrive. It has a few niceties that MacOpener does not, allowing you to map file-name extensions more easily and providing the handy iconic reminder when you’re working with Mac media. Most people probably won’t use these extra features, but it’s nice to have the added capabilities if you need them.