Formatting my iPod harddrive to FAT32.....anything bad about it?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Abstract, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Hey, Powerbook user here. I'm trying to move some files from my old PC running WinXP to my Powerbook using my iPod, but of course, once I plug my iPod into the PC to use as a portable HD, Windows asks me to format the drive.

    I know that Macs can use either a Mac formatted drive (HFS or something), or the Windows harddrive storage format (forgot the name), but is there a downside to using my iPod on my Mac if it was formatted using Windows?

    Basically, I want to know if the HD will be transfer files slower, or be worse off if I format it using WinXP, but leave the iPod this way when using my iPod as just a digital music device with my Mac? Mind you that I regularly use my iPod on my Powerbook and nothing else, so if there's any negative effect of formatting the HD using WinXP, I'd rather just reformat it again on my Mac to restore it back to default format once I'm done transferring files.

  2. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    It might wipe your firmware... I don't know though. Just download the iPod Software Updater (its a combo update) and run it on your Windows box.
  3. Rocksaurus macrumors 6502a


    Sep 14, 2003
    Will mount a few seconds slower on Macs. That's it.
  4. TBR macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2004
    Blackpool - England
    Had my iPod fat32 since i got it, so much easier for connecting to work machines. Very useful for transfering files around.

    Theres only two differences i've found between the two formats,
    1) FAT 32 is slower mounting, (as previously mentioned) Also i think iTunes sometimes has a hard time ejecting the ipod but that miight be unrealted to it being fat 32

    2) I'm sure there are a few interface differences such as when i have the ipod connected after being ejected the tick to say you can remove the ipod stays on till you do where as as a mac drive it starts the big chargeing graphic....I think, not tested this out to double check it's just what i seem to remember.
  5. Jovian9 macrumors 68000


    Feb 19, 2003
    Planet Zebes
    I've done this before. The only bad thing about formatting on windows is that you will not have the iPod picture icon when plugging it in (it will look like the regular drive icon). I believe that the fat32? format does not have the ability to let its icons look like that. I never noticed any other problems. When using the iPod with your Mac (after formatting it with windows) you will not be able to automatically sync it with'll have to drag and drop all the songs (but you'll be able to use it with both Mac and pc's for everything else). If you want to restore it back to it's original Mac-state...just run the iPod Software Updater when you have the iPod plugged into the Mac.
  6. TBR macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2004
    Blackpool - England

    Erm no your wrong, the ipod will work in exactly the same way as if it was mac formatted, it still auto updates etc, if it doesn't for you then you have changed your settings.
  7. Maxicek macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2004
    erm, maybe I'm missing something here, but wouldn't it be easier to take the Powerbook to the PC and use an ethernet cable instead?
  8. brap macrumors 68000

    May 10, 2004
    Or, since they must both have firewire, and the PC windows XP, use firewire networking. Mmm... 400Mbit...
  9. Gerwin macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2004
    There is one flipside that's no problem if you own a PC: you cannot update the firmware of the iPod with a Mac when it's FAT32 formatted.
  10. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Good point. If this is for a one time file transfer, just network the two machines and skip the iPod formatting.

    You can also network the two using firewire if you are really up to the challange.

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