Getting a external wd hard drive to work on mac and pc

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by glennyboiwpg, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    #1
    Hey,

    Just bought an external usb2 western digital drive that i'll want both my windowsXP and Mac OSX systems to use.


    What file system should I put on the drive. Its a 500 gb drive.

    It was suggested that I use linux's ext2 as it shouldn't be too hard to get both the mac and the pc to use it. How about ext3?

    Any other suggestions?
     
  2. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #2
    format in fat32 and you'll be good to go.

    i have a drive with fat32 and use it all the time b/n the both.
     
  3. macrumors 68000

    epochblue

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #3
    Agreed. As far as I know, the only format that's read/writable by just about every OS on the planet is FAT32. I think it's listed as MS-DOS or just DOS or something like that from within Disk Utility, though.

    But TPAM is correct - FAT32 is what you want.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    #4
    Yeah but isn't a 500gb drive kinda big for the fat32 filesystem?
     
  5. macrumors 68000

    epochblue

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #5
    ...should be fine...
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    topgunn

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    #6
    You basically have two options:
    1) Use FAT32
    2) Get MacDrive
     
  7. macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #7
    Why?

    There haven't been logical block addressing problems for years and years.

    You are limited to individual files of less than 4 Gb in size.

    Microsoft intentionally limited the formatting utility in XP and 2000 to 32 Gb volume size. It's not a limitation of the FAT32 system, which can address up to 8 TB. The Windows machine can read a large FAT32 volume, it just can't format it.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    #8
    Thanks canadaRam,

    I didn't know that it was a windows limitation regarding the size of Fat32 partitions.

    Although the purpose of getting this drive is I'm converting vcr tapes to Mpeg files so I can get IDVD to burn them to dvd. (I love idvd's movie intros). So although i doubt to many of my mpeg files will hit 4 gigs, my vcr program that i'll be using for screen capture is capable of kicking out some huge files.

    So I think I might stick to the mac + file system ( can't remember what it's called) and get macdrive for my windows boxes.

    So... does anyone know of the technical specs/limitations of the mac filesystem? what about the new one thats rumored to be out with leopard? ZPR or something like that?
     
  9. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    #9
    I have a Western Digital 320GB drive that I partitioned with Windows XP into 32GB chunks for FAT32. I don't mind the whole thing being FAT32 since it lets both my Macs and the PC read and write, but the partitions are getting full and I need partitions greater than just 32GB. Since Microsoft has limitations on FAT32 partition size, how can I get, say, three 120GB partitions?

    Also, do Macs recognize drives/partitions larger than 120GB? They didn't when I first got my drive, which is why I had to partition on the PC. My Mac OS at the time couldn't recognize it in its default, nonpartitioned glory. Thanks.
     
  10. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    I accidentally my whole location.
    #10

    You're going to have to use something else besides Windows to get anything larger than a 32GB FAT32 partition. Disk Utility does a good job if you can hook the drive up to your Mac somehow. Otherwise GParted is a good open source tool for it. Macs so recognise partitions much much larger than 120 nowadays as well. That limitation ended years ago.


    And as for the OP's question, FAT32 isn't your only option, there's recently been support added for write capability on NTFS volumes with MacFuse. Its a lot freer than Macdrive although I haven't used it myself yet.

    Edit: Need this also for NTFS support: http://www.ntfs-3g.org/
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    #11


    Thanks for the info! If I use Disk Utility, will I be reformatting the drive and erasing what's on it now?
     

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