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Old Sep 27, 2012, 02:47 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Paris (France)
Which is the best format?

I'm trying to decide which is the best format to reformat an external hard drive in order to be able to use it both with a Mac and a Windows machine as well as with some TV sets. Which format do you recommend? what are the general advantages/disadvantages of those formats?

I'm currently trying FAT32 but I'm hating the 4GB limit it imposes to each individual file that I want to copy...
(10 August 2012)
Rockoar is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Sep 27, 2012, 02:48 PM   #2
macrumors Westmere
Join Date: May 2008
Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)

Choose the appropriate format:

HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)
NTFS (Windows NT File System)
  • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
  • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
  • To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
    • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon ($19.95) (Best Choice for Lion and Mountain Lion)
    • For Mac OS X 10.5 and later, including Lion, FUSE for OS X
    • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
    • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
    • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36), which is an enhanced version of NTFS-3G with faster performance.
    • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and later versions, but is not advisable, due to instability.
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
  • Maximum file size: 16 TB
  • Maximum volume size: 256TB
  • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.

exFAT (FAT64)
  • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
  • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
  • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
  • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
  • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
  • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
  • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
  • Maximum file size: 4GB.
  • Maximum volume size: 2TB
  • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.
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