How to make external hard drive work on both Mac and PC? Good idea?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by clutchm3, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    #1
    Hey guys first I want to know if it is even a good idea to use an external har drive on both mac and PC. What are the downsides of doing this? Is speed slower? Is it true that on a mac you will only be able to read files and not write them if it is formatted for both mac and PC?

    How do I go about making an external hard drive work on both Mac and PC?

    Thank you!
     
  2. macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #2
    Go into Disk Utility and format the external drive to FAT.

    No issues. No problems. Just do it.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
  4. macrumors 68020

    danpass

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #4
    So it won't be a format issue?

    A recent thread seemed to indicate it would be.

    If not, great :D
     
  5. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #5
    As long as you format the drive in right format, there won't be any issues. FAT32 can be natively accessed by both OSs, which makes it the best option. The downside is 4GB file size limit so for big files it's a no-go. However, exFAT is an option if you have Windows 7.

    Other than FAT, there is NTFS which is Windows' file system and readable by OS X. Write support can be added via 3rd party software such as NTFS-3G.
     
  6. macrumors 68030

    Taz Mangus

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #6
    You would have to format the hard drive under windows as NTFS format and download MacFuse for the Mac. As I understand it, using MacFuse to write to the NTFS hard drive is a bit slower then using HFS+.
     
  7. macrumors 68020

    danpass

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #7
    Will stuff that OS X writes to an NTFS drive using NTFS-3G be readable and usable by a Windows machine?
     
  8. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    #8
    I would use exFAT. It's native in both. (at least since 10.6.5 and Windows Vista but you can download a hot fix from Microsoft for exFAT in XP I think)
     
  9. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #9
    Of course. Once the format is accessible by the OS, all of the files are too (as long as there is an app to open the file. E.g. .exe won't work in OS X without 3rd party tools).
     
  10. macrumors 65816

    gorskiegangsta

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #10
    Then go with exFAT
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
  12. macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #12
    Seriously. Somebody tell Microsoft to get with it, already.
     
  13. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    #14
    Yeah man, it only lacks support for the unpopular stuff, you know, like Ubuntu. Who uses that, right?
     
  15. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    The Hague, the Netherlands
    #15
    Format it into 2 partitions.
    One that works with Mac OS X, where you can make your backups on etc.
    One that works with Windows.
     

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