FAT 32, NTFS, HFS

Discussion in 'macOS' started by JW8725, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. JW8725 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Confusion...........I need to format my external HD (when it finally arrives) and I dont know what to choose. I understand that the mac will only read NTFS. That leaves HFS or FAT32. FAT32 has been around for ages right? Does that mean its somehow inferior to NTFS? Maybe speed wise? I will be storing mainly audio files recorded from CD from my PC. XP doesnt allow HFS right? I would also like to boot up from my external HD (on a temp basis till I get my mac internal HD sorted).

    Thanks
     
  2. DannySmurf macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    #2
    FAT32 is an extension to FAT16, which is an extension to FAT12, which was used in the very early versions of DOS, so yeah, it's been around for quite a while. It mainly exists now (even in the Windows world) for compatibility reasons.

    And that would be the one reason you'd use it as well. If you want your drive to be writable and readable on both Windows and OSX, you need to use FAT32. OSX will only read (not write) NTFS, and Windows can't do anything with HFS, unless you add a third-party tool or driver to your Windows system (and those that exist are fairly disappointing).
     
  3. freiheit macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #3
    Complete (grudging) agreement

    FAT32 is, unfortunately, the best file system for sharing files among multiple operating systems (including Windows 9x/ME and NT/2K/XP). It's the only format supported for both reading and writing by all versions of Windows since 1996, OS/2, MacOS and MacOS X and Linux (which is actually a pretty impressive list of OSes). NTFS is good for read-only access in all those systems, but write support is limited to Windows NT/2K/XP only (unless anyone can prove otherwise - I've heard rumors but seen no proof).
     
  4. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #4
    I use HFS+ on my portable drive. Read/write support on OS X, and read/write support on XP, with MacDrive installed.
     
  5. freiheit macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #5
    MacDrive looks interesting

    This MacDrive 6 looks interesting. I'm going to have a look at it. And with a free time-limited trial, you can't go wrong.
     

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