Formating an External HDD

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by illegalprelude, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. illegalprelude macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2005
    Los Angeles, California
    Hi you guys. I just recently purchased a external 320GB HDD for doing some more video editing and not leaving it on my main hard drive.

    when I plug the unit in, a utlity pops up "disk utility" and I select the extrnal HDD plugged in. but im not sure what setting to choose to have it formated to show both on PC and Mac and just have the whole thing ready to be worked on so any light on the situation would be nice.
  2. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    You have two options, you can either format the drive using an older windows file system (FAT32) that OS X knows how to read but has significant limitations on the filenames and performance of the file system. Or you can choose to format the drive using the OS X file system HFS+ and obtain drivers for Windows (MacDrive or MacOpener) that allow windows to read and write to the file system. I've personally used both MacDrive and MacOpener without any problems and this approach has some benefits if you are willing to introduce new drivers onto the windows machine you are using.

    Also, OS X does not allow you to partition drives formated with the FAT32 file system. This means that the entire drive will be used as a "drive". By far the easiest way to setup the drive is to plug it into a windows machine and follow the prompts to format the drive with a FAT32 file system. In the Windows dialogs FAT32 may also be identified as an "MS DOS" file system.

    The main limitation with using the FAT32 filesystem on the drive is that you will be limited to a maximum partition size of 128MB. In your case this means that you either need to partition the drive into at least 3 partitions and the largest file size you can use will be a little less than 128MB since a file cannot cross a partition boundary.

    More details on using an MS DOS (FAT32) filesystem on OS X can be found at the Apple Knowledgebase.

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