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swingerofbirch
Apr 17, 2006, 10:40 PM
Hello.

A while back I bought a big external hard disk with USB 2 and firewire. I partitioned it into two parts, and at the time used one half to back up my PC, and anticipated using the other half in the future to back up my eMac. Well, my eMac now only has 1 gig of free space left (of an 80 gig drive) and I remember hearing it will start acting up if you don't leave enough free space. SO....i was on the phone with apple today and mentioned i would be backing up soon, and casually asked again about backing up to this disk in the FAT 32 format.

The Apple tech guy said that I SHOULD have partitioned one half into FAT 32 and the mac side into HTFS. At the time when I was partitioning the drive an Apple tech told me this was impossible to do. This tech didnt think that was the case. I asked him what the problems were with backing up to FAT 32...he didn't say specifically but was saying things like he wouldn't do it personally..it wasn't designed to do that, and that he would be very cautious with it.

So what's the deal? Should I move the data off the external hard disk to my PC, then initialize the hard disk with two partitions (FAT32/HTSF) and start over then move the PC data back and back up my mac? Is that possible? Or is it safe to back up mac data to a FAT 32 disk? Or do I need to buy a second hard disk (argg......i am poor....relatively................)?



calebjohnston
Apr 17, 2006, 10:43 PM
I back up my mac data to a FAT32. It's not my HD, so I don't have a choice, but it works fine. However, I've only done it will music, pictures, and movies. Nothing OS specific.

Eidorian
Apr 17, 2006, 10:45 PM
I'd stick with one partition then two. OS X can read/write to a FAT32 (Hell nearly every modern OS needs that ability.)

I've seen more trouble caused by additional partitions failing to mount. There's only one problem. I don't think Spotlight comments carry over to FAT32 and you're limited to files under 4 GB - 1 byte.

calebjohnston
Apr 17, 2006, 10:49 PM
Yeah, the 4 GB minus 1 byte is the real limitation. Unless you do serious video editing, this shouldn't come up as an issue. If it does, maybe back that up to a DVD instead.

Lollypop
Apr 18, 2006, 12:37 AM
wow, I didnt even think about the 4gig thingy of fat32. If 4 gigs is a problem I would go for DVD's instead then as well.

You say that you partitioned the drive into 2 parts, one fat32 but you dont mention what you formatted the second part as, nor what you use it for currently.

If the external HDD isnt that full I would use a disk utility to shrink the partition to create a second one, and format that second one as htfs. mac friendly without 4gig limits.

Eidorian
Apr 18, 2006, 12:56 AM
wow, I didnt even think about the 4gig thingy of fat32. If 4 gigs is a problem I would go for DVD's instead then as well.

You say that you partitioned the drive into 2 parts, one fat32 but you dont mention what you formatted the second part as, nor what you use it for currently.

If the external HDD isnt that full I would use a disk utility to shrink the partition to create a second one, and format that second one as htfs. mac friendly without 4gig limits.That's 4 GB per file I've had my 200 GB external drive formatted to FAT32. You just can't have a single file great than 4 GB - 1 byte.

CanadaRAM
Apr 18, 2006, 01:40 AM
The other thing that bites you with the 4 Gb limitation is using Retrospect or another backup program that puts (or at least has options to put) all of the backups into a single file, easy to break 4 Gb that way

matticus008
Apr 18, 2006, 02:09 AM
The other thing that bites you with the 4 Gb limitation is using Retrospect or another backup program that puts (or at least has options to put) all of the backups into a single file, easy to break 4 Gb that way
Yep, or people who create disk images of their hard drives for backup purposes (this, by the way, is a great way to preserve Spotlight data).

Another option, if the FAT32 partition is mostly empty (as it would seem to be, since you're going to back up a nearly full drive onto it), is to move the files off that partition, delete it, and create an HFS+ partition. Problem solved. You still have the other FAT32 partition for Windows compatibility, or alternatively you could just keep the drive plugged into the Mac at all times and connect to the drive over the network from the PC.

Edit: Oops, Lollypop had a similar suggestion already.

Gee
Apr 18, 2006, 02:32 AM
The other thing that bites you with the 4 Gb limitation is using Retrospect or another backup program that puts (or at least has options to put) all of the backups into a single file, easy to break 4 Gb that way

That's definitely the case if you're a .Mac subscriber and use Backup to backup. I don't think it has the option to break up files, and so won't backup your music or photos if you have more than 4 gigs' worth.

frankblundt
Apr 18, 2006, 03:53 AM
Xupport (http://www.xupport.ch/) will do a backup of your system onto any drive, but i don't imagine it will be bootable on FAT32 (which makes restoring a breeze - boot, and backup from your backup) and you still have the 4GB file size limit problem if you have disk images or large video files to back up.

I've had great difficulty getting combined FAT32 and HFS partitioned volumes to work acceptably on either platform, FWIW, and don't recommend it.

swingerofbirch
May 1, 2006, 01:14 AM
I ran into a problem when I tried moving the files off my External hard disk back to my PC. It said that the file names were too long for one thing (I don't know why because they I copied files from the PC the same way I was trying to put them back on). It also said that I was trying to replace system files...something like that...it was about a week ago when I tried this. So I still have an external disk with about 50 gigs of PC data, and plenty of room left, and another partition left for my Mac data. However, from what I have heard here backing up the Mac data to FAT 32 can be problematic. I am assuming I will run into the same problem of it saying my Mac file names are too long? And I have also heard here that reformating that partition to HFS+ creates instability, which I don't have a hard time believing.

So, being under those impressions, I think I will buy another external hard disk to store all my Mac data on. I have nearly filled the 80 gb of the drive, so taking into account formatting, would a 100 gb drive, be about right to buy?

I am not going to be using this for backup, rather for storage. I basically want to reinstall Tiger and start fresh, and won't be putting most of the documents back on, just the music.

The documents (Word files and video files and e-mails) are important for me to keep, but I won't neeed to access them on any regular basis.

Having said that, I am paranoid that I won't back up somethign I want, (for instance backing up messages from Mail always seems to end in disaster for me), so I'd pretty much like to just clone the whole drive over to the external disk--the apps, the settings, every single file on here. It may sound crazy, but I am, and I want to.

I assume it's not as simple as dragging the "Macintosh HD" to my external firewire disk?

Could someone let me know a secure, safe way to store everything! Thanks! I know I have been a pain with all my questions, but I want to get it right. I appreciate all the help thus far.

swingerofbirch
May 1, 2006, 01:16 AM
Also if anyone knows of a way that is free that would be preferable. Otherwise, I'll pay. I do have Backup from .Mac, but I'm gonna take a wild guess that doesn't do what I want.

swingerofbirch
May 1, 2006, 01:02 PM
bump

swingerofbirch
May 1, 2006, 11:50 PM
hate to be histrionic, but, bump!

swingerofbirch
May 3, 2006, 12:37 AM
someone please?

bump!

Gee
May 3, 2006, 01:53 AM
someone please?

bump!

If you want to erase your whole HD and reinstll tiger, I expect you're wanting to backup absolutely everything just in case. .Mac backup won't work, because it will end up creating files over 4gb and then falling over. So, why don't you leave it as Fat32 and try just copying your files onto it. Start with the applications folder, and see what happens. As one poster said above, you won't be able to boot from a drive like this, but I don't see why you won't be able to recover any files you're missing.

swingerofbirch
May 9, 2006, 01:21 AM
ok, so i finally did a fresh install, after all mac os x updates, with no added apps, my 80 gig HD has 69.2 GB free..does that sound about right?

matticus008
May 9, 2006, 10:39 AM
ok, so i finally did a fresh install, after all mac os x updates, with no added apps, my 80 gig HD has 69.2 GB free..does that sound about right?
Yes, that sounds about right. About 5GB for the OS is normal.

Fearless Leader
May 9, 2006, 09:42 PM
i've had trouble storing some apps on a fat 32 drive. Some Files wont copy. i also got some coruption of my files.:mad: had to reinstall a few apps. also i didn't think about the 4gig limit and couldn't figure why my backup wasn't working:rolleyes:

swingerofbirch
May 9, 2006, 11:32 PM
i've had trouble storing some apps on a fat 32 drive. Some Files wont copy. i also got some coruption of my files.:mad: had to reinstall a few apps. also i didn't think about the 4gig limit and couldn't figure why my backup wasn't working:rolleyes:

Good to know.

I was finally able to copy the PC data back to my PC so that I could clear it off as a Mac OS Extended Journaled format to back up my data, and I cloned the disk without any problems which was quite nice. I used Carbon Copy Cloner.

I felt a bit better about it using the mac format vs FAT.