Can OSX see a 500GB FAT32 drive (1 Partition) ?

Discussion in 'OS X' started by nylon, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    nylon

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    #1
    I'm looking to put a couple of drives in an enclosure. Here is the setup:

    Drive 1:
    Partition 1= GUID Partition for Clone backup.
    Partition 2= General OSX HFS+ Journaled for Data/Scratch disk.

    Drive 2:
    1 Partition FAT32 500GB for sharing between XP and OSX.

    Anyone think there will be a problem with this setup? Will OSX have any problem reading such a large FAT32 Partition?
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    Danksi

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Location:
    Nelson, BC. Canada
    #2
    What are you planning to put on the FAT32 drive?

    Bearing in mind FAT32 doesn't support file sizes greater than 4Gb, that's a lot of space (500Gb) and more costly, in terms of Gb/$, than say a 300 or 400Gb drive.
     
  3. macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #3
    No, OS X will not have any problem with a partition that large.
     
  4. macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #4
    Yeah, FAT32 can handle partitions up to 8 Tebibyte (8 Terabytes binary)

    8.0 x 2^40 bytes
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    grockk

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    #5
    With a drive that large you are most likely going to be using large media files, and can easily go over that 4GB limit. I mean most DVD images are more than 4.

    and i would suggest going with smaller drives and if you don't have the bays, the external firewire or usb2 drives do great. I have two 250 GB for my desktop and 2 external for my media center. and you can always hide the external behind something.

    and if it fails you lose a lot less data. so consider that, since numerous small drives can be more relient than a single large one.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    #6
    Afraid not. the maximum volume size for FAT32 is 32GBs. Windows will only see 32GBs drive, OS X should as well. FAT32 is also very slow when you reach to near 32GB size.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nylon

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    #7
    I'm afraid you are mistaken in regards to max FAT32 size. I know for a fact that prior to XP you could create very large FAT32 volumes. The limitation in XP is artificial designed to force you to use NTFS. I've also had no problems mounting drives upto 150GB FAT32 in OSX. Additionally OSX can create large FAT32 volumes as well.

    See here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table

    and

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;EN-US;Q184006&

    My only concern is how large would be too large for OSX to see.
     
  8. macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #8
    Yeah, OS X can format large FAT32 partitions. I did it with my 200 GB hard drive and formatted back to HFS+ when I was done.

    XP limits you to 32GB.
     
  9. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Deep in the Heart of Tejas
    #9
    I have a 300GB Maxtor formated FAT32 chained with a 250 GB Maxtor formatted NTFS sharing jpegs and wav/aiff files with a PBG4/Dell Inspiron. No issues.
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    canada
    #10
    FAT32 = 2**32 - 1 sectors * 512 bytes / sector = 2 TB
     
  11. macrumors 603

    solvs

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #11
    I got MacDrive from MediaFour and use it on my external 300GB fw drive. I had issues with FAT32 (file size limitations mostly, not format wise, but other issues as well) and OS X can't write to NTFS. It's $50, but it's worth it for me. If you're just using it for small files, you should be fine with FAT. I'd go with 2x 300GB drives though for redundancy, and if you shop smart, it might even be cheaper. But if you need the space and can afford it, the 500 is nice.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    #12
    NTFS5 has a max size of 2TB per volume.

    As I have said, and some others, Windows XP will only see it a as 32GB volume. Best thing to do is to partition it up to lots of 20GB partitions. 32GB partitions are very slow at write/read.
     
  13. macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #13
    XP will only let you format FAT32 up to 32 GB, but it can read and write much larger FAT32 drives. I use a 40 GB external drive formatted in FAT32 every day on both my Mac and my Windows XP machine. (Well, thanks to Boot Camp, it's the same machine now!) And I use a 160 GB external hard drive formatted FAT32 on a semi-regular basis on both OS X and XP.

    Again, XP's limit is only on formatting. It has no problems using large FAT32 drives. And I've never had any issues with read/write speed. (I use the 160 GB external for video capture and editing.)
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    Danksi

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Location:
    Nelson, BC. Canada
    #14
    If you need to format FAT32 greater than 32Gb in Windows XP, you could use Maxtor's MAXBLAST utility. I've used this in the past to format a 300Gb backup drive. I believe it'll work fine with non-Maxtor drives as well.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Location:
    Jersey
  16. Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #16
    Beacuse OS X cannot write to NTFS. Nor can any other OS besides Windows.
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Location:
    Jersey
    #17
    ah HA

    learn something new everyday.....

    not that i LIKE NTFS....just curious
     
  18. macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #18
    And as others have corrected you, this is wrong. XP will see and mount a FAT32 partition larger than 32GB just fine. XP can not, however, format a partition larger than 32GB w/ FAT32; this is an intended limitation of XP to force users to use NTFS.

    FAT32's file allocation table for 32GB and larger drives (up to 2TB) use 32KB clusters. That means every file is split into a 32KB "piece," even if the file is only 1KB in size. Thus, FAT32 "wastes" space which is why Microsoft (in part) pushes NTFS for volumes larger than 32GB.

    The only benefit of using FAT32 on OS X is that OS X can read and write to a FAT32 partition.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nylon

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    #19
    What are the chances that Leopard will support writing to NTFS based drives? Since OSX can already read the drives would it be a lot of work to enable write support.
     
  20. Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #20
    IMO, none. This is not a limitation of OS X or versions of OS X, it's a proprietary Microsoft format that they are holding onto tightly. Not even Linux boxes can write to NTFS. Only Windows can fully write to NTFS.
    IF Microsoft had been able to get their new drive format (WinFS? The name escapes me) into Vista, then NTFS would have been made available I think.

    But as it is, Microsoft will undoubtedly continue to clutch tightly to NTFS's specs.
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nylon

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    #21
    Ah!, I did not know it was proprietary. Thanks for the info.
     
  22. macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #22
    NTFS is indeed proprietary. There are utilities that let Linux boxes write to NTFS partitions, but they are approximately the same gray legality as the DVD ripping software DeCSS, IIRC.

    One of the big issues is that NTFS supports permissions, and they are linked to the registry. So if you mount the drive on another computer, that doesn't have the same registry, there are all sorts of issues. And when mounting on non-NTFS-native systems (like Mac OS or Linux,) there are the issues of even figuring out what the permissions ARE.
     
  23. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #23
    Indeed!

    Though I think they are in a different category than DeCSS, the most successful Linux NTFS RW utilities make use of Microsoft's own NTFS driver to do the heavy lifting. i.e. the FS was not reverse engineered, but simply accessed using Microsoft's own API calls.

    B
     
  24. macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #24
    Yes, but those drivers are technically only validly licensed when used as part of Windows. It's probably closer to the gray area of running Front Row on computers that didn't ship with it...
     
  25. Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #25
    Ah I wasn't aware of that.. In looking for Linux utils to write to NTFS a while back I came up woefully short. Must not have looked hard enough (or under enough rocks).
     

Share This Page