External drive for PC+Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by superspiffy, Mar 31, 2007.

  1. superspiffy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2007
    Can I use the same external drive for a PC and a Mac? I want to take an external drive, and use it for both a PC and a Mac, by swapping it back and forth. I'm new to Macs and I don't know much, but I heard that Macs can't read NTFS, only FAT 32 if the drive is formatted through Windows; and furthermore, Windows can't even read any Mac formatted drive. If this true, is there anyway to make the same external drive work for the PC and the Mac?
  2. Blubbert macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2006
    If you are going to share an external disk between a Mac and a Windows PC, the best course of action would be to format the disk as FAT32. This filesystem however doesnt support files over 4 GB, so if you are going to be working with files of that size, FAT32 is a bad choice. Im not sure, but i think there is an application out there for windows that allows it to read and write on a HFS+ drive, the kind used by OS X.
  3. rjames86 macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2007
    San Francisco
    So I was in the same situation as you are. Stupid windows will not read a mac formatted HD. I have a travel HD for backups of my pictures, video, etc. Sometimes I want to upload pictures but don't have my powerbook with me, so what I did is partitioned the HD so that part of it was windows formatted and the rest was only mac. Not sure if this is a useful idea for you, but it works for me.
  4. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    I have a LaCie ethernet drive. It has embedded XP, and is formatted NTFS. Mac's and PC's read and write to it without any problems. However, this is NOT a portable drive. There may be some which are though? I have not checked. It is Gigabit ethernet (of course). Performance is very acceptable, but not as fast as FW800/FW400/USB2.0.

    I just did a quick read on LaCie's site - Check this out:

  5. velocityg4 macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    As Blubbert said the FAT32 will work unless you are working with files over 4GB in size. Also don't format the drive in Windows XP as it has a 32GB partition limit. While disk utility does not, I think.

    However if you are storing larger than 4GB files such as raw video. Than you can format in HFS+ and use this program.


    Transmac has worked well for me when I had to recover files from my old G4 tower's hard drive, when it's motherboard died (it did not like water very much).
  6. superspiffy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2007
    damn it doesn't support Vista!

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