Hard drive partitions

Discussion in 'macOS' started by NateP, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. NateP macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    #1
    Hey all,

    I have a USB external drive that I used with my WinXP machine before it died. I'm replacing the hard drive on the Win machine, just to have a Win machine around. But I want to use the external HD to backup my Win machine and my Mac.

    Currently, the USB HD is formatted in NTFS, so my PB 12 can't write to it. I'd like to set up this drive with two partititions, one for the Win and one for the PB, for backups. So a couple of questions arise:

    1. Is it possible to format partitions of the same disk in different formats, such as NTFS for one and FAT32/HFS+ for the other?

    2. Since I have already got backup data for the Win laptop on the USB HD, would it be possible to create a partition and then format the partition intended for the Mac to an appropriate format? That is, I don't really want to reformat the whole thing, if I don't have to. Can I create a dual format partitioned drive without entirely reformatting? (Assuming the answer to the above question is affirmative.)

    Thanks.
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #2
    1) Yes you can have different formats on the same drive (1 format per partition obviously).

    2) Some utilities can resize a partition in place without loosing data. This ability does not come built into OSX though. You'll probably have to buy something. I have no experience with any of these products so I'd wait for some who has to tell you which are good!
     
  3. varmit macrumors 68000

    varmit

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    #3
    I thought that Apple added NTFS support already, are you sure you can't write to the drive? Well, I believe you might need something like Partition magic, which you can get at any Compusa for only $49.99, then you can move partitions around all you like. Then you should be able to hook it up to the Mac, and format just one of the partitions. Otherwise, you will have to start by using the Mac to setup the partitions, formatting one as FAT, then using the PC to change it to NTFS.
     
  4. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    As robbieduncan said - one format per partition. So you could have one NTFS and one FAT32 or HFS+ partition.

    The easiest way is to repartition the entire drive - but you would lose all the existing data. There are utilities to help you resize your existing partitions and create new partitions in the free space without losing existing data. One good utility I've used (even on NTFS) is BootItNG (http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootitng.html), which runs on a regular PC - this has a trial version that really works. So you could try it and then buy it. Make sure you completely defragment your drive before attempting a resize!
     
  5. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    Except for Windows, no other operating system reliably supports writing to NTFS, because NTFS is proprietary, keeps changing with Windows versions and it's quite risky to attempt modifying its internal data structures. Mac OS X and Linux allow only reading from NTFS - the distributions of Linux that do allow the user to enable write access to NTFS volumes always carry a warning that you could lose data.

    Bottomline, the only filesystem that allows Mac OS X and Windows to reliably share information is FAT32 (which has its own size limitations).
     
  6. Sic macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2005
    Location:
    Southampton UK
    #6
    it's not even that reliable. i had so much trouble sharing data between mac and windows via FAT32. so now i just use my ipod to put stuff on my mac and have it all formatted HFS
     

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