fat32 drives and OSX

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by zoran, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. zoran macrumors 68020

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    Jun 30, 2005
    #1
    I have a mac and a pc (remote) and i often want to transfer files from one to another using and external hd drive. Now i know that there is an app that makes HFS drives viewable on the pc (macdrive) but it wont work too well for me. So another solution is to format the external drive to fat32 which is able to receive files from OSX (Ntfs cannot because its read only when working on OSX). So my question is, will i encounter any problems using (eg. for copying files) a fat32 external drive on OSX?
     
  2. todd2000 macrumors 68000

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    #2
    Should work perfectly....
     
  3. zoran thread starter macrumors 68020

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  4. clemn macrumors newbie

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    ny
    #4
    it will work, I use a FAT32 partition on my external disk to transfer data between PC and Mac everyday. But you will be limited to 32Gb partitions because the PC cannot handle anything bigger.
     
  5. todd2000 macrumors 68000

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    #5
    It's not the the PC can't handle it 32G is just the the partition limit of the FAT32 Filesystem.
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #6
    I just made a guide. :)

    http://guides.macrumors.com/Drives_and_Filesystems

    The major limitations are that file ownerships and permissions will not be preserved, and you will not be able to use it for single files >4GB in size (e.g. ripped DVDs, large archive files, etc.).

    EDIT: I'm not so sure about the 32GB thing... the iPods are now formatted in FAT32, are they not? And AFAIK, 80GB iPods are single FAT32 partitions. I did some searching and I think the 32GB issue stemmed from limitations in older versions of Microsoft's FAT32 formatting utility. I don't think it's a limitation in either the FAT32 standard or its usage on current Windows or OS X computers....
     
  7. zoran thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #7
    i dont quite understand the permission thing...
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #8
    It's mostly a non-issue as long as you are just transferring documents. If you don't know what it means, it probably will not affect you... but if you transfer applications, system files, etc, it's possible that they could land on the other computer with the wrong permissions and fail to work....
     
  9. zoran thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Jun 30, 2005
    #9
    Oups now that u do mention the prmission thingy, i do have a copy of an application on that hd to make it kinda portable to what ever mac i go to. Will that be a prob on my fat32 drive?
     
  10. numbersyx macrumors 65816

    numbersyx

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    Sep 29, 2006
    #10
    The 32GB limit is not a limit on XP's capacity to see it or manage it but to create it. XP's built in partition utility cannot create FAT32 partitions greater than 32GB but other third party ones (eg. Partition Magic) can.

    The Mac can read/write to FAT32 but can only manage partitions under a certain size (think it is 128GB). So your best bet is to partition the drive to partitions under 128GB and both the PC and the Mac will work with them.
     
  11. dextertangocci macrumors 68000

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    Apr 2, 2006
    #11
    I am SO confused:confused:

    I have my entire iTunes folder on my Lacie 250GB external HD. It is about 100GB's. It seems to be fine:confused:

    But if I want to re-format it, how exactly do I do it. I have looked in disk utility, but it only gives the option to partition it:confused:

    And it doesn't say HFS anywhere:confused:
     
  12. zoran thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #12
    what does that have to do with this post? :confused:
     
  13. dextertangocci macrumors 68000

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  14. dextertangocci macrumors 68000

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    #14
    It is about fat32 drives and OSX:)

    It has a lot to do with this thread;)
     
  15. zoran thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #15
    How to reformat a drive doesnt have to do with this thread, here im asking if fat32 works ok with OSX! ;)
     
  16. dextertangocci macrumors 68000

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    #16
    And now, from reading this thread, I have discovered that HFS is better, and am now asking how to re-format it;)
     
  17. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

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    Apr 8, 2004
    #17
    You format (and split) it from within the partition option. Select "partition" and you'll see the format option. The "Options" button at the bottom is where you select the partition scheme. If you want a bootable drive for Intel Macs, you choose "GUID partition table", for PPC Macs, "Apple Partition Map", for Windows drives "Master Boot Record".

    Disk Utility is the most confusing of any of the Apple Utilities. It needs to be redone. I've used it extensively and I still get confused sometimes.
     
  18. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #18
    If you want a partition that will allow you to read file for Windows and Intel Macs, what do you format it as? Like if I wanted a separate drive just for Windows but wanted to access the content while booted in OS X on a different drive, how is that formatted? What of the reverse? Like being able to access files (not programs) stored on the OS X drive while in Windows? I realize that FAT32 will get me back and forth on separate drives, but the file size limitation makes me hesitate.

    For example, I want to do video editing in Finalcut but be able to have access to the rendered video files when I'm working in a Windows program on a different drive. So, I would boot into OS X... edit some video in Finalcut then render them out to a storage drive, or store on the host drive. Then I would boot into Windows XP and be able to continue working with the video in a "Windows only" type of application such as XSI. When I'm done, I would save the files back to the storage drive or output to DVD.

    Sorry for the long-winded question... I just want to make sure you knew what I meant. I guess an easier way to word the question is: How do you format a drive that you can access file from Windows and OS X from different drives? Are we limited to FAT32? Whew!
     
  19. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    Oct 21, 2003
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    Portland, OR
    #19
    FAT32 or HFS+ & MacDrive for your Windows install.
     
  20. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #20
    Mmm, no, actually, I think this won't be an issue. What I mean is relatively rarely an issue.

    What would be bad is if you did this:

    1) Copied system files out of one computer (e.g. /library or /system) to the flash drive

    2) Overwrote the same system files on another computer with the flash copies.

    I'm not even super sure that this would be bad, but the flash drive would not carry the correct system permissions for those files.

    Anyway, I think for the most part, you can forget I mentioned permissions. ;)

    Dexter, as far as the issue of reformatting goes, do be aware that, as the guide mentions, there isn't really a way to reformat a drive and retain the data. You will need to move the data off the drive to some other location while you are reformatting it....
     
  21. MoparShaha macrumors 68000

    MoparShaha

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    May 15, 2003
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    San Francisco
    #21
    Another issue to watch out for are filename characters. HFS and FAT32 each have characters they won't allow in filenames, and they don't exactly match. If you use funky characters in filenames, you could encounter copying problems.
     
  22. skipsandwichdx macrumors regular

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    May 23, 2006
    #22
    Didn't read thread, but two things:

    1.) FAT32 won't do files bigger than 4GB.

    2.) You can't format a FAT32 drive bigger than 32GB in Windows. I used a DOS utility to format my 250GB external to FAT32. Not sure if OSX can do it, but I don't see why not.
     
  23. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #23
    To be specific:

    HFS+ disallows :
    FAT32/NTFS disallows \ | / ? * " < >
     
  24. dropscience macrumors newbie

    dropscience

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    Oct 2, 2006
    #24
    I'm guessing a USB Flash Drive is FAT32, hence allowing writing on both HFS+ and NTFS file systems, correct?
     
  25. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #25
    Close... would be closer if you read the thread. ;)

    Flash drives *are* mostly FAT32... but they don't get written to by HFS+ or NTFS. Rather, an operating system supports both FAT32 and another format -- NTFS in Windows' case and MacHFS+ in OS X's case. The OS always writes to the disk in whatever format is native to the disk.
     

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