formatting ext HD for MacOSX and WinXP?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by hpeezy, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2004
    Location:
    vancouver, bc
    #1
    in what "format" do you format an external HD, in order for it to be used (read and write) on both Mac OSX and WinXP?

    and do you format it from the Mac? or from the PC?

    i've read through dozens of posts and websites regarding this issue, but everyone seems to have different opinions and i've still not been able to resolve the issue myself...

    so far, using one format, i was able to get it reading and writing on the Mac (but not showing up on the PC); and using another format, it's now reading and writing on the PC (but only reading on the Mac)

    i would think there's a way to both read and write the whole drive on both platforms, but i would settle for splitting it into two partitions, with one half working with the Mac and the other with the PC..

    here's my hardware:
    MAC -- PowerMac Dual 1.8Ghz G5, Mac OSX 10.3.7
    PC -- Dell Latitude D600 laptop, WinXP Professional
    Ext HD -- Maxtor OneTouch 200GB FireWire & USB 2.0/1.1

    THANKS! :confused:
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    varmit

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    #2
    Format it as Fat32. Both can read that format well.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2004
    Location:
    vancouver, bc
    #3
    can they both read AND write to it?
     
  4. macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

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    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #4
    Yes.
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    ChrisFromCanada

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario (CANADA)
    #5

    Yes.

    Just make sure all the file names are somewhat short. I think its something like less than 12 characters.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #6
    I tried doing that but I couldn't see FAT32 from Disk Utility so I just used Mac OSX Journaled format. Is it not there or do I need a PC to use FAT32 format?
     
  7. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    #7
    I'm pretty sure you need a PC to do it, and you also need a copy of Partition Magic or some similiar program. Windows XP on its own cannot format FAT32 disks larger than 32g. But, using Partition Magic, it can format it just fine.

    I faced the same dilemma you are facing with a 120g external hard drive. I formatted it in Partition Magic to FAT32, and it now works flawlessly on both OSX and Windows w/read and write on both.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
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    Location:
    vancouver, bc
    #8
    hmm... ok i just checked (cuz it's been a while since i've tried solving this!) and the format that the HD is in now is NTFS. but i also remember, that when i originally formatted it from the PC, there was only ONE option that was selectable.. (and obviously it was "NTFS")

    any ideas? i'll try again, but i'm pretty sure that for some reason, "NTFS" was the only selectable option within the utility.. btw, i'm using WinXP's default "disk" utility... should i be using something else?
     
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2004
    Location:
    vancouver, bc
    #9
    thanks chrisa. i think u just answered my questions from above...

    any other progs besides Partition Magic? perhaps one that's *free*? :D
     
  10. macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #10
    Windows can format a disk as FAT32.

    If nothing else, go to a command prompt and type this command:

    format x: /fs:fat32

    Where "x:" is the letter of the drive as assigned by Windows. I don't have my Powerbook handy, so I can't check the UNIX equivalent, but there is one.

    Also, Windows 2000 and XP have a "Computer Management" utility (Start / Settings / Control Panel / Administrative Tools) which has a "Disk Management" function that can also format a drive to FAT32.
     
  11. macrumors 604

    clayj

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    visiting from downstream
    #11
    Actually, FAT32 supports file names up to 256 characters in length... so does Windows. It's the Mac that's the limiting factor here... 32 characters is the maximum file name length, if I remember correctly.
     
  12. reh
    macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    Arkansas
    #12
    I recently needed to format an 80GB drive as fat32. I just stuck it in my pc and booted to a win98 floppy and ran format from it. It sucks that xp can't do it.
     
  13. macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

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    #13
  14. reh
    macrumors 6502a

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    #14
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2003
    #15
    Since you are so insistant, here is the knowledge base article proving you wrong http://support.microsoft.com/kb/184006. "You cannot format a volume larger than 32 GB in size using the FAT32 file system in Windows 2000. The Windows 2000 FastFAT driver can mount and support volumes larger than 32 GB that use the FAT32 file system (subject to the other limits), but you cannot create one using the Format tool. This behavior is by design. If you need to create a volume larger than 32 GB, use the NTFS file system instead."

    To the original poster, also keep in mind that you cannot have files larger than 2GB on a FAT32 partition. You might want to buy an HFS+ driver for Windows, or try the expiramental write support I've heard exists for NTFS in the newer builds of Panther.
     
  16. macrumors 68000

    AliensAreFuzzy

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    #16
    Fat32 supports up to 4GB files.

    Oh, and this is kind of on the same topic...
    I have a external drive with 2 firewire ports on the back, could I connect each port to a different computer and have access on both?
     
  17. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    CA
    #17
    i dont believe you can. the two ports are for chaining additional hardware (hard drives, disk drives etc.) to your computer.

    also, i dont know if this has been address adequately yet, but if you select "MS-DOS" format when you are formatting your ext. HD, then it will work on both PC and Mac. it shows up as FAT32 when connected to a pc. also, i dont believe it is possible to partition a hfs+ AND a fat32 partition on the same drive using disk utility. you can use fdisk and the command line to do it however. instructions are here:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~athene/notes/fdisk_newfs_msdos.html
     
  18. macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #18
    Well I've got news for you -- my 200GB HDD is formatted as FAT32. And I did it with the stock tools.

    This is incorrect. The limit is 4GB.

    Or he can do exactly what he wants with the software he's got and use FAT32.
     
  19. macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

    Joined:
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    #19
    I tried that once with a pair of Windows machines and managed a BSOD on both. Haven't bothered to try it, on any platform, since. :)

    You can get a firewire hub, though, and plug both PCs (and the drive) into the hub so that both machines can access the drive.
     
  20. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2004
    Location:
    vancouver, bc
    #20
    wow.. lots to cover...

    1) we've established WinXP CAN format external drives as FAT32, BUT only to a maximum size of 32GB..

    2) FAT32 cannot support files no larger than 4GB (or 2GB).. -- i'm an audio guy so this might not be the best thing for me

    3) can anyone provide some more info on the "experimental write support" for NTFS volumes in Panther? what exactly does "experimental" mean? and what versions of Panther support this?

    4) fuzzynavo, i also read about using the MS-DOS format, but when i tried formatting the ext HD using Disk Utility on my Mac, it didn't seem to work properly.. when the formatting was done, it would automatically "jump" back to HFS+
     
  21. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2004
    Location:
    vancouver, bc
    #21
    using the command line in WinXP? or using the "Disk Management" utility?
     
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2003
    #22
    If the "stock tools" were a dos floppy, then yes you did. You cannot do it in Windows 2000 or XP though. And yes it is 4GB, 2GB is for FAT16. Some people work with files that are over 4GB, I was just warning him of the fact as the files in question were not specified.


    As for the NTFS expiramental support, I just remember reading that on the forums here after 10.3.5 came out. I haven't had time to test it myself.
     
  23. macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #23
    Y'know ... I don't exactly remember.

    I didn't use a boot disk, nor did I install any special software. I remember that much.

    I've got a pair of 80GB drives that I need to install and format. If I remember, I'll post here when I finish that.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2004
    Location:
    vancouver, bc
    #24
    if anyone is interested (and to put a conclusion, somewhat, to this forum).. i've used Partition Magic 8.0 to create a FAT32 partition on the entire 200GB of my Maxtor ext HD and it seems to be working perfectly (read and write capable) in both Windows and Mac OSX.

    i guess the question still remains whether or not you can do this without using third-party software.....

    anyways, thanks again to everyone for your input!
     
  25. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #25
    Just wanted to chime in...

    I have an NTFS formatted 80GB firewire drive that has been hooked up to my Windows 2000 PC for the past 2 years. Out of curiosity stemmed from the statements in this thread about 10.3.5 supporting NTFS, I tried this drive on my Powerbook. IT WORKS! I'm running 10.3.8. I had tried this a year ago and the Powerbook didnt' recognize the drive as a formatted disk and thus prompted me to run disk utility. Now, I just plugged it in and everything shows up fine. This is awesome!

    Update: Okay, actually, I still can't write files to this drive. Darn...
     

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