View Full Version : On FW HD, Formats, and Cross-Platformness

Apr 14, 2004, 01:31 PM
I am in the market for a 160+ Firewire hard drive. When I ship off to college next year, it would be insanely great if I could plug the drive into a friend's PC to swap files, but my brief attempt to do so with a Lacie drive failed to mount on the PC (for obvious reasons; the drive was designed for Macintosh and formated HFS+).

If I buy the right drive, can I possibly achieve my desired file sharing by formating the drive FAT or something? What do I need to know?

Your input is greatly appreciated.

Apr 14, 2004, 01:48 PM
You should be able to format any drive to any file system. Format the drive as Fat 32 and it will be readable by Mac OS and Windows. Won't Linux read Fat 32 also?

Apr 14, 2004, 04:46 PM
Awesome, thanks.

Apr 14, 2004, 05:13 PM
yes, the solution offered here is correct. the Mac can read FAT32 volumes with no problem, whereas the PC cannot read HFS+ (at all). whether the Mac does this to "play nice" or as a competitive necessity is unknown - but it does work and it's a good thing.

one often-overlooked advantage of this... you can format an iPod as FAT32 and it will work in parallel on both platforms. the first thing i did when i got a 40 GB iPod was re-format it as FAT32 so that it would be accessible by either platform... this was a big help when i wanted to use my PowerBook's SuperDrive to burn backup DVDs of my 3D Studio Max projects and other work, which would have taken a very long time to transfer over Ethernet (or to burn onto CDs).

on the music side of things, i've used my iPod on a Mac with iTunes, and on a PC with iTunes and EphPod, and you can go back and forth between the two platforms with no problems whatsoever.

it should be noted that this fact contradicts early Apple iPod marketing, which stated (among other lies) that "you can't re-format your iPod as a Windows iPod once you change it to a Mac iPod."

to answer the question above, there isn't one "Linux," but yes, many distributions of Linux can co-exist on a FAT32-formatted hard drive (i.e. for a dual-boot Windows/Linux system).

Apr 14, 2004, 05:21 PM
Nevermind...People never got it to work fully.

But isn't there a 32GB FAT32 limit? Would NTFS be better?

Apr 14, 2004, 05:43 PM
But isn't there a 32GB FAT32 limit? Would NTFS be better?
I forgot about that, but I think you're right. I don't think the Mac will read NTFS. It won't format NTFS.

Apr 15, 2004, 09:06 AM
i'm pretty sure OS X will mount NTFS as read-only.

Apr 15, 2004, 11:36 AM
i'm pretty sure OS X will mount NTFS as read-only.
That could be it. I know there's some issue or another.

Apr 16, 2004, 12:31 AM
But isn't there a 32GB FAT32 limit?

i have two 120 GB hard drives in my PC and they're both formatted as FAT32, with just one partition for each drive.

this site ( http://www.allensmith.net/Storage/HDDlimit/FAT32.htm ) states that FAT32's theoretical limit is somewhere around 2 TERABYTES.

i think you'll be OK...