Mac/Win Software Review: MacDrive 7

Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
Mac software review






So we are using Windows XP through Apple’s Boot Camp. PC games including Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Far Cry and The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth run with no problem on our iMac Core 2 Duo 2.8 GHz at all.





Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
Screenshot 01: Game screenshot from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
Screenshot 02: Game screenshot from Farcry
Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
Screenshot 03: Game screenshot from The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth






Soon after we installed Windows XP, we started thinking about the best way of swapping files between Mac and Windows partitions. Fortunately, we have a lot of CD-RW and DVD-RW + disks. So we can just put Windows files and burn discs on Mac easily. But exchanging data in this way is kind of time-consuming. Is there an easy software solution for exchanging data between Mac and Windows?

Basically, a Windows operating system installed on your Mac’s internal hard disk drive cannot read data written on the Mac format. One software title that will let you read Mac data is MacDrive from Mediafour. With MacDrive, you can have real-time access to Mac data installed on media drives while using a Windows operating system. Hmm… Sounds good… Before using MacDrive 7, our innocent questions were





  • Do we gain access to Mac files that are installed not just on the internal hard disk drive but also on external drives?
  • Does MacDrive also let us access Windows files while we are using Mac OS?





  • So let’s see how MacDrive 7 works while we answer these simple questions one by one. 





    Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
    Screenshot 04
    Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
    Screenshot 05
    Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
    Screenshot 06






    When I first attempted to install MacDrive 7 on our Windows XP Service Pack 3, I got a warning message that says that Mac Drive 7 may encounter conflict problems with a couple of Windows software titles including Alcohol 120% and Daemon Tools Pro. (See Screenshot 04.) I went on and installed MacDrive anyway. Not surprisingly, MacDrive wants me to restart my iMac after installation. (See Screenshot 05.) Okay. I’m back to Windows XP. Then a message window pop up and says that I have 6 more days to evaluate MacDrive. (See Screenshot 06.)





    Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
    Screenshot 07
    Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
    Screenshot 08
    Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
    Screenshot 09






    Now, let me access My Computer. There are red apple symbols appearing on two hard disk volumes. (See Screenshot 07.) Drive F is the Mac partition of the internal hard disk drive. And Drive H is a FireWire-connected external hard disk drive. These apple symbols indicate that MacDrive has gained access to drives with Mac formats. So let me explore Drive H. There’s a folder titled myVTCs. Then I find a sub-folder titled skateboard fun box. Let me drag and drop this folder onto My Documents. (See Screenshot 08.) This folder is about 236 MB in size. And it took me about 40 seconds to copy it to the Windows partition (Drive C) through MacDrive. There’s a video file inside the folder. I want to make sure that this file is corrupted or anything. In fact, if I double-click on it, Windows Media Player launches itself and play the video. (See Screenshot 09.) Actually, there’s no video. That’s probably because the video compressor is DivX, which Windows Media Player cannot decode. So it’s not MacDrive’s fault that I have no visual on the video screen.

    MacDrive 7 has an interesting feature. The software developer says MacDrive allows the user to open Mac disk images (.dmg) on Windows. So let’s try that out. Inside Drive H, I have a folder titled myFiles. I can find two disk images inside it. (See Screenshot 10.) The disk image to the right is Apple’s Developer Tools containing Xcode Tools. The dmg file at the bottom left is from Xiph.org. It allows QuickTime to decode Ogg Vorbis music files. If I double-click on the former disk image, MacDrive says it cannot mount it. (See Screenshot 11.) How about the second disk image? MacDrive lets me open it with no problem. (See Screenshot 12.)

    So why does MacDrive fails to open the first disk image? I don’t know the exact reason. At least, I have no trouble mounting it under Mac OS X. (See Screenshot 13.) Perhaps, the disk image size matters? The disk size is about 902.9 MB.





    Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
    Screenshot 10
    Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
    Screenshot 11
    Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
    Screenshot 12






    By the way, you can change some settings on MacDrive. Inside Control Panel, locate a file titled MacDrive. (See Screenshot 14.) For example, if you want to disable MacDrive temporarily without uninstalling software itself, you can check the box at the very bottom.





    Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
    Screenshot 13
    Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
    Screenshot 14
    Mac Windows file share Mediafour MacDrive 7
    Screenshot 15






    One missing feature in MacDrive that I can think of is a function allowing users to eject unused drives. For example, if I right-button-click on Drive H, I find no ‘eject’ command. It would be nice if MacDrive allowed me to eject drives that I no longer use.

    Finally, let me answer the second question. Does MacDrive also allows me to access Windows files from the Mac side? The answer is no. MacDrive installs no file on the Mac side. And it will only let you access Mac files on the Windows side and no chance of the other way around.





  • Developer: Mediafour (www.mediafour.com/products/macdrive/)
  • Developer’s location: Media Corporation, 2800 University Ave, #101, West Des Moines, IA 50266-1258, USA
  • Latest version: MacDrive 7.2.2
  • System requirements: Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 or 3 (32-bit), 2003 Server (32-bit) or Vista (32-bit or 64-bit)
  • Prices: US$49.95, US$19.95 for upgrade
  • MacHouse recommendation: MacDrive allows the user to give real-time access to Mac files while using Windows OS. But it won’t let the user access Windows files while using Mac OS. It’s true that MacDrive is a good software solution for sharing files between two different operating systems. But the question is do you really have to use Boot Camp? If you want to share files between two different operating systems, you will be better off using an OS emulation package like VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop for Mac. They cannot run software titles that use video RAM. Unless you want to play video games, using VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop for Mac may be better because you can share files between Mac and Windows in real time.






    MacDrive is a product of Mediafour Corporation.





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