How to open Apple's DMG files in Windows 10

in General Discussion edited October 2020
One of the potentially frustrating things about switching back and forth between Mac and Windows PCs can be proprietary formats -- a key example being Apple's DMGs (disk images). Here's how to extract content from a DMG in Windows 10.

Apple DMG icon

The best option, whenever possible, is using 7-Zip. You probably already have it if you're a Windows regular, since it's a free and convenient way of extracting the more universal ZIP format.

Once Z-7ip is installed, find the DMG file you want to work with in File Explorer and right-click on it. In this case we're using some of Apple's free system fonts as an example.

Mouse over "7-Zip" in the right-click menu, then select "Extract Here" or "Extract files." That should give a choice of where to send extracted material, though by default the app will create a subfolder in your current File Explorer location. Click "OK" once you've chosen a place.

There's a good chance you'll have to dive into the new subfolder and run extraction again. With Apple's font DMGs for example, the real meat is buried within an HFS archive, which you'll need 7-Zip for. HFS is a filesystem used exclusively by Macs.

That should be it -- you may see a lot of confusing folders and files, but what you want should be buried in there somewhere.

An alternative to 7-Zip is DMG Extractor. Though it's very straightforward we're inclined to recommend using 7-Zip as your first resort, since DMG Extractor has harsh limitations without a paid license. You can't extract more than 5 files from a DMG simultaneously, and it simply won't work with encrypted files or those bigger than 4 gigabytes.

Neither 7-Zip nor DMG Extractor are the ultimate solution, though. There are some DMG files that 7-Zip, nor other alternatives that we've tried will open. For instance, if on the Mac, a end-user license agreement instantly pops up, we've found that most of the time, Windows solutions will choke on these.


  • Reply 1 of 7
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    Windows is frustrating, nuff said.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    sandorsandor Posts: 643member
    knowitall said:
    Windows is frustrating, nuff said.
    How does an Apple Disk Image file, aka .DMG, not being able to open natively on Windows make Windows frustrating?

    The reliance on third party utilities for simple zipping was hugely frustrating, but Windows 8.1 & 10 finally addressed that...

  • Reply 3 of 7
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,989member
    knowitall said:
    Windows is frustrating, nuff said.
    There's plenty of people that would say the same thing about MacOS.  What's your point?

    Disclaimer: I run Windows on my Macs as well.
  • Reply 4 of 7
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,679member
    knowitall said:
    Windows is frustrating, nuff said.
    Yes, windows in frustrating, but not for this. Macs use a Mac-specific format for DMG files which are really only intended to be used on Macs and Windows can't natively read it. There's really nothing surprising or unreasonable about any of that. If you have a Mac, the easiest method would be just to open the DMG file and create a Zip file (which Mac's support natively,) then open the Zip file on the PC.
  • Reply 5 of 7
    Hopefully DMG files will be on the list for iPad os to open...
  • Reply 6 of 7
    sandorsandor Posts: 643member
    Hopefully DMG files will be on the list for iPad os to open...
    You mean Apple's own operating system cannot open a normal Apple file format?


    Apple is frustrating, nuff said.

  • Reply 7 of 7
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,220member
    DMG was designed only for Macs, not Windows. It's supposed to be that way. You CAN zip the files on a Mac with "Compress with..." and share with Windows users. DMG can function as an archive but it's not a substiture for standard zip archive.
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