getting my external PC HDD to work with my macbook

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by mark2288, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. mark2288 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    #1
    Hello all,
    I just got my MacBook Pro today and I hooked it up to my external drive and it's only read-capable, not write-capable.

    I'm going to back up the data on the drive and re-format it, but: which format is both PC and Mac compatible? Also, are there any file size limitations with any of the formats I may be heading towards.

    Also, if my external HDD has one firewire port and one USB port can I do:
    1. USB to PC
    2. Firewire to Mac

    and have both PC/Mac reading/writing to external HDD...

    my external HDD is a 250 GB seagate 2.5 inch in an external enclosure.

    Thanks.

    -Mark
     
  2. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #2
    reformat at least part of the drive with FAT32 instead of NTFS. You may have to use a third party tool or the MacBook to format a large FAT32 partition, but it's not a real limitation, only Microsoft trying to get you to move away from FAT to NTFS.

    Generally, no. You can't mount a hard drive read/write on two separate operating systems. Use a network connection between the two boxes if you need the data on both simultaneously. (In which case you could leave it NTFS).

    B
     
  3. macintoshxiii macrumors regular

    macintoshxiii

    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    #3
    Yea format your hdd to fat32 and like me i had mine working exactly you mentioned... mac [firewire] and win[usb2.0] so no worries...
     
  4. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #4
    :confused: You may have had it working, but it's very dangerous to your data to write to a drive from two OSes. Each OS keeps track of open files and free space and schedules how and where they should be written to the disc.

    How do you handle when the two machines simultaneously try to write to the same "free" sector?

    Particularly since FAT32 is not a journalling FS you really want to keep it as clean as possible or you will get FAT table corruption.

    It would be 100% OK if only one of the computers were on at any given time...

    B
     
  5. wmmk macrumors 68020

    wmmk

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    The Library.
    #5
    Usually true, but if you're working with large movie files, FAT32 will not be good. I believe FAT32 can't handle anything over 4 GB, so if you're backing up DVD's as .iso files, NTFS would be better. If not, FAT32 is fine.
     
  6. macintoshxiii macrumors regular

    macintoshxiii

    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    #6
    I see... thank you for your advise hereby. ackowledge that...
     
  7. macintoshxiii macrumors regular

    macintoshxiii

    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    #7
    Anyway I knew bout mounting a hdd on 2 diff OS is not possible.... thank you sir.
     
  8. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #8
    You are correct wmmk. One of the limitations of FAT32 is that no single file can be > 4 GB. iMovie 6 at least is aware of that and keeps the file size down, so it's not much of an issue...

    B
     
  9. elbirth macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Location:
    North Carolina, US
    #9
    I thought it was 2GB?

    I can't remember off hand... anyway, although it's expensive, I'd suggest getting MacDrive. Then, format the drive in a good Mac-native format (HFS) to get around the limitation of FAT32. This will let the drive mount a lot faster when you plug it into your Mac, and using MacDrive, your Windows computer can recognize and both read and write to it just fine.

    It's a great setup and I highly recommend it.
     
  10. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #10
    That was FAT16...

    MacDrive's a great suggestion if the drive and data are to be primarily used under OS X.

    B
     

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