Can I use a LaCie external hard Drive in both PC and Mac?

Discussion in 'Product Recommendations/Reviews' started by soyaspade, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. macrumors newbie

    I am switching from PC to Mac (when the new G5s come out) and want to buy an external hard drive to transfer my files from my PC. Anyone know what the deal is with using an external hard drive on both systems?

    Any reccommendations for which external hard drive to get? I've been looking at Lacie and Western Digital. Thanks!
  2. macrumors 6502a


    Both of the drives you are looking at are good. You might also want to look at the EZQuest's "Cobra drives.

    You can not use the drive on both systems. It has to be formatted for one or the other. To transfer your files, I would either backup your files to CD's/DVD's or try to network your Mac and PC, then just dump your files to a share folder of some sort. It's the only thing I can think of at the moment. If any one else has any suggestions go for it.

    Good Luck!

  3. macrumors regular

    i don't think thats quite accurate. Macs can read FAT and FAT32 formats, but not NTFS. an external hard drive can be used to transfer data.
  4. macrumors newbie

    If you use media four's Mac Drive you can format it as a Mac format. I use it all the time.


    I have a maxtor one touch drive and it works great
  5. macrumors 68040


    yes you can. and it is easy, really.

    if your pc has a firewire interface installed (it doesn't matter if it's the 6-pin or the 4-pin connector, there are converter cables available), then just buy any firewire hard drive that has an oxford911 chipset (lacie d2 for example). first format it in pc as a fat drive (not ntfs), transfer files to the drive, and disconnect it from the pc. go to your mac, connect the drive, transfer your files, and be done with it.

    but if your pc only has usb, you have a choice:
    1) buy a cheap firewire-card to the pc you are abandoning or
    2) buy a firewire/usb combo drive instead.

    i would do the former, but many would choose the latter. cost should not matter, because combo drives are likely as much more expensive compared to firewire-only drives as the cost of firewire-card would be; and i know many would want to leave the drive formatted as fat to keep the pc-compatiblity. i would however recommend formatting it as hfs, because that's what mac os x wants to use.

    so... after you have your files safe, re-format the drive in mac os using disk utility and selecting the hfs file system instead of the existing fat. remember - after formatting drive to hfs the drive will not work with pc:s anymore, but has advantages in your new mac environment.

    not so bad?
  6. macrumors 6502a


    I stand corrected. Thanks for the useful information.

  7. macrumors newbie

    I tried the same with my LaCie 80 GB. I formatted it as a Mac drive, as a PC NTFS, as a PC FAT32... never could I get one to read the format of the other. I ended up using CD's and now have this LaCie drive... which is nice, it holds all my iTunes songs.

    What'd I do wrong?

  8. macrumors regular

    the iPod is a great means of data transfer between Mac and PC. I have an original iPod and reformatted it with the PC iPod updater. I can now use it in both versions of iTunes and for data transfer between the 2 machines.
  9. macrumors 68040


    ntfs shouldn't work at all. however fat should; i do it all the time with compact flash cards. did you also try the ancient fat format - i mean, not fat32, but just fat? that should work.
  10. macrumors 68040


    fat partition will have to be max 128GB, according to apple. larger partitions will not mount. that may have been your problem.
  11. macrumors newbie

    Just as a FYI, i have a Maxtor 300 Gb firewire formatted with FAT 32 & works fine on both Mac & PC
  12. macrumors newbie

    Fat32 problems...

    At my office, we were trying to using Lacie drives as a cross-platform storage device for video content. The problem we ran into is that, when formatted Fat32, there was a 2GB limit on single file size, which is severe when dealing with uncompressed video... something to consider. Our solution was to repurpose the Dell we had planned on using for video editing and just bought another Mac.
  13. macrumors regular

    not quite correct. FAT and 16 have <2GB limit per partition. FAT32 has a 32GB limit per partition. NTFS will allow you to format larger drives in one partition, but NTFS as mentioned, will not work with Macs.

    therefore, it may be a pain to have a bunch of 32GB FAT32 partitions. if you can live with that limitation, then you should be good to go.
  14. macrumors newbie

    I bought a LaCie 160 GB Firewire drive 3 week ago and it came formatted in FAT32.

    As such I could use it without any specific drivers, on PC (XP and 98SE) and on Mac (both OSX and OS 9.2.2). The only downside is that OS9 is very restrictive when it comes to filenames (characters used) when writing to FAT32. Besides that, it runs like a dream.

    I tried to partion the drive with a FAT32 and a HFS partition, which went fine under OS9, but strangely Panther only saw the FAT32 partition.

    Max. filesize under FAT32 is indeed 2GB (filesize not partition size). The 32 GB partition limit comes from a limitation in XP's disk utility. 98SE, OSX's disk utility and Silverlining Pro (LaCie's utility for OS9) all formated the 160 GB effortless as FAT32.
  15. macrumors 6502a


    The previous poster is correct. I'm currently using a pair of 250GB drives formatted FAT32, with only one partition each. There is no 32GB per partition limit that I know of. I even used XP's Disk Management utility to format them.

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