Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by mcadam, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. mcadam
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    macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2004
    Have been searching around but didn't find anything, so here's my question:

    In disk utilities when you partition a harddrive you get to chose between a number of different formats - one of them is called "Free Space"! What is that??

    The answer I'm hoping for is:"that means both mac and pc can read it!", but I have a hunch I won't get it...


    ps the thread title "diformat" is a result of pressing a number of random keys by accident and not being able to edit the title... it almost sounds like it really means something though :rolleyes:
  2. Makosuke
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    macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Sorry, "free space" is exactly that--space with no format at all on it. That means it can't be used to store any data. Its purpose is to leave a partition open to be formatted at a later date (or, in a handfull of cases, to leave a small chunk of free space after a partition to allow for conversion into another format later). It's totally useless to all but a tiny handfull of people who would already know what it was for.

    If you really want a disk to be readable by both Windows and the Mac, you could use the MS-DOS filesystem (I think that's an option in there), which is I believe actually FAT-32. It won't be blazingly fast on a Mac, there are limits to the flienames you can use, and I think there's a relatively low maximum size for partitions in this format, but it will work if you really need it. It's more useful for cross-platform removeable media, though--things like pendrives and Zip disks.

    NTFS would probably be a better cross-platform option, but I don't think OSX can read that.
  3. mkrishnan
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    Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    MacOS can *read* NTFS but it cannot write it, so yeah, it's pretty much out. :( Unless there's some kind of add-on software for that? I've shared Fat32 partitions before though, without too much trouble, but never hosted on the Mac (as opposed to the PC)....

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