iPod as FW HD question

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by macguymike, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. macguymike macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2003
    I have a new 40GB iPod which I use primarily with my PowerBook for iTunes/iCal/Address Book things.

    However, since I have all this extra space which i do not see myself filling completely with music any time soon, I'd like to use it as a backup/transfer device as well for my two systems.

    My question is, since my iPod is primarily set to be used on my Mac, would it even show up on my Windows-based Dell if I were to buy a Firewire card for it?
  2. Dreadnought macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2002
    Almere, The Netherlands
    Yes and No

    Confused? Well, it is a firewire disk so yes, it should pop up on your windoos pc. But it will probably not mount because it's a Mac formatted iPod. Windoos doesn't recognize Mac formatted harddisks, unless you have a special program/driver that does. There are a few programs out there, but you have to pay for all of them.

    Edit: You could also format your ipod into a windoos formatted harddisk. Your mac will recognize it also and you can still use it as a ipod for mac.
  3. macguymike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2003
    How would I do this?

    Would it erase the files I currently have stored on my iPod and will I still be able to sync my iCal and Address Book with it if it's Windows formatted?
  4. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Important caveat

    If you format it as a "Windows iPod", meaning using the FAT32 filesystem, you won't be able to use it as a backup for your Mac unless you are willing to zip everything up first.

    The Mac's HFS+ filesystem uses a resource fork + data fork structure for every file. This is incompatible with FAT32 (as well as every other filesystem in existence, except for the original HFS). So you can use a FAT32-formatted iPod to move files between your computers; you can store files where the data fork is basically irrelevant such as your MP3s - but it won't be a good place to backup your home directory.

    If you zip up files on your Mac, though, StuffIt will combine both forks into the archive - so you could put the zipped files onto this reformatted iPod.

    My suggestion would be to first look at the Windows utilities out there that enable HFS+ access. Not sure if there are any free ones however.

    Edit: This one isn't free; it's $30 - but it lets you keep the iPod as HFS+ so it's still fully Mac-compatible. There's a free trial you can download as well:

  5. macguymike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2003
    Re: Important caveat

    Thanks for the info. What if I format the iPod as NTFS? Same deal?

    I'm thinking I might just grab a 80GB LaCie d2 FW drive and use that as a secondary / back-up drive for my Dell instead. It's a more expensive solution but it's also seems a lot more simple.
  6. mim macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2003
    flesh, melbourne.... heart, london
    I'll just clarify what Westside guy is saying about the resource fork:

    The resource fork stores things like what program should be used for opening the file it's associated with. In a really dumb way, it's kind of like the extensions in a filename on a PC (.doc, .mp3, etc).

    So you can transfer files between Mac & PC without much hassle...but when you're transferring from Mac to PC, you just have to remember to put the .extension after the files you're moving (so name your documents *.doc if you want to open them with Word for example.) Coming back the other way isn't so bad, as the mac makes a guess at the program you need by looking at the PC extension. You can still assign a program to open the files with by changing the options under 'Get Info' (in Finder's file menu).

    Someone may be able to correct me if I'm wrong on this, but I think that all that happens when you copy Mac files to a non HFS drive is that the resource forks become visible - so you end up with a load of folders with names like Resfork.000 or something, and that if you copy them all back everything works out fine? Been years since I did this, so I can't remember.

    Ok, too much info maybe. The upshot is that, yes you can use the 'pod to transfer files to and from your Mac & PC (and although the stuff above may seem a bit of a chore, it does work pretty easily in practice). You will have to reformat the 'pod's drive to Fat32, and so you will have to restore all your contacts/music/etc.

    The way to do this is download the iPod Windows updater from Apple, plug your pod into the PC, then run the updater once the pod shows up as a drive. I did this with my 10Gig pod when the first windows pods came out, and it worked fine.

    However, I have since changed it back to a Mac formatted ipod, and I find that many of the glitches I was having have gone away. It may also be wishful thinking, but i think the battery is lasting much longer now too.

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