I would like to back up an old hard drive from a MacBook. It uses HFS+. I currently don't have a Mac system available, but if necessary, I can borrow one. I just used rsync to copy the whole drive to a NAS, which uses btrfs. Now, after doing my homework (.HFS+ Private Directory Data?) I'm uncertain whether I'm doing things correctly.

From my understanding, HFS+ stores the file in the .HFS+ Private* directories if you store a file in multiple places. The actual file gets placed in one of HFS+ hidden directories, and only aliases pointing to it are used throughout the rest of the file system.

  1. Can I somehow extract all files correctly from a copy made from an HFS+ drive without using a Mac?
  2. Could the presence of empty folders in a copy of an HFS+ formatted drive, when accessed on a system using the Btrfs file system, be due to the Btrfs system's inability to correctly interpret the .HFS+ Private* directories of HFS+?
  3. If I can't extract these files without a Mac, can I copy them back to an external drive to read them on macOS?


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