Hard drive Formatting

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ferrin, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    I have this:

    A 120GB external hard drive and the formatting options are NTFS & exFAT. Currently it's NTFS.

    I also have this:

    A 512MB flash drive with the formatting options FAT32, FAT, & exFat. Currently it's FAT.


    Okay, so here's my question, I am a new Mac user. My MacBook is on it's way to me as I type. I want to use both my flash drive and my hard drive with both my PC and my MAC. I've done a ton of reading in this topic but I need a straight answer. hah.

    I have used my Flash drive on a Mac yesterday at school and it worked fine. I opened files, created and saved files to it and then opened them up on my PC. So does this mean I can leave it formatted FAT?

    I haven't tried my hard drive just yet, but I've read every where that the current format it's in can't do what I want it to do.

    I need to save to, open, edit, etc between both my PC and my Mac.

    :apple: halp!
  2. macrumors demi-god


    Any external hard drive will work with PCs or Macs, as long as the connectors are there (Firewire, USB, etc.) It doesn't matter how the drive is formatted out of the box, since you can re-format any way you like. Formatting in HFS (Mac OS Extended) or FAT32 or NTFS can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility.

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
    • Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
    • To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X: Install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free)
    • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx 33USD).
    • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended)
    • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
    • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner backups of Mac internal hard drive.
    • To Read/Write HFS+ from Windows, Install MacDrive
    • To Read HFS+ (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
    • Maximum file size: 8EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 8EiB
    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • exFAT partitions created with OS X 10.6.5 are inaccessible from Windows 7
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
  3. macrumors 601


    Leave the flash drive as FAT32, and I'd format the HDD to FAT32 as well, provided you don't need files bigger than 4GB
  4. macrumors newbie

    what's the difference between "FAT" and "FAT32" ?
  5. macrumors 601


    I think it's the same thing, just referenced differently.
  6. macrumors demi-god


  7. macrumors newbie

    so the third bullet seems to be the way to go then, i guess? i just wait til i have my mac, plug in my hard drive then install it?
  8. macrumors demi-god


  9. macrumors newbie

    thanks, i'm obviously an idiot when trying to figure this out :( siigh

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