Many questions about external firewire HDD's...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ArkabaS, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. ArkabaS macrumors member

    ArkabaS

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Location:
    The Moon
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    I'm in the market for a firewire 400 usb 2 dual interface external HDD for backup purposes. I have several questions, hopefully someone can help me out. Sorry in advance if this post is in the wrong place, I couldn't find a more suitable forum category. Also sorry for the long newbie-style post.

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    1. About booting from an external HDD. Firewire only? PowerPC (openfireware) only or also on Intel (efi/bios)? Currently I have an iBook G4 1.33 MHz. If the HDD is connected to the computer at startup, holding option will allow for the choice between internal vs. external HDD boot. Right?

    2. How does Tiger handle mounting external HDDs? If I was to partition the HDD, say 60 GB (my internal HDD size) for external booting and the rest for storage and media. Will Tiger mount both partitions?? I don't have too much screen space, and this would be super annoying.

    3. How does openfirware and efi/bios handle sleep and power downs with an external firewire drive?? My iBook likes to sleep a lot. What would Sleep do to an external HDD? What happens to the HDD when the computer is shut down? Does this depend on controller inside the drive?

    4. About booting from Mac OS X from the external drive, how would I go about doing this? Is there any free software to backup the internal drive completely to an external drive? I assume that this does not involve imaging, but instead simply copying over every file. I hear Dantz Retrospect isn't bad. But I would rather use the Disk Utilities that came with Tiger.

    5. Anyone hear anything about G-Tech G-Drive external HDDs? They look nice and seem well-built.

    6. About NTFS vs. FAT32 vs. HFS... I would like to increase compatibility and decrease limitations. But this is tough to do. Can Windows handle HFS? Read-only? Write and read? What about Mac OS X and NTFS? Friends or bitter enemies?
     
  2. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    Citizens Bank Park
    #2
    Here are a couple to get you started:

    1. PPC only boots from firewire. Intel boots from firewire or usb. Option will let you choose.

    2. It will mount both. It won't take screen space other than an hard drive icon on the desktop.


    6. FAT32 would be my choice. Windows cannot read/write HFS without purchasing extra software. OS X cannot write NTFS. FAT32 does have some problems though. All files must be smaller than 4GB minus 1 byte. OS X apps do not always run properly from FAT32.
     
  3. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #3
    I will trying answering your question to the best of my abaility, but I don't have an Intel Mac, so I can't answer those questions.

    1. About booting from an external HDD. Firewire only? Yes, but even some fw drives will not boot. Look for a drive with an Oxford chipset. PowerPC (openfireware) only or also on Intel (efi/bios)? Don't know. Currently I have an iBook G4 1.33 MHz. If the HDD is connected to the computer at startup, holding option will allow for the choice between internal vs. external HDD boot. Right?Yes, I believe that is correct.

    2. How does Tiger handle mounting external HDDs? If I was to partition the HDD, say 60 GB (my internal HDD size) for external booting and the rest for storage and media. Will Tiger mount both partitions?? I don't have too much screen space, and this would be super annoying.
    Both partitions will be mounted as separate drives.

    3. How does openfirware and efi/bios handle sleep and power downs with an external firewire drive?? My iBook likes to sleep a lot. What would Sleep do to an external HDD? What happens to the HDD when the computer is shut down? Does this depend on controller inside the drive?Some drives will sleep, some will not. Some will power down, some will not. I don't know of a way to tell without trying or asking the manufacturer.

    4. About booting from Mac OS X from the external drive, how would I go about doing this? Is there any free software to backup the internal drive completely to an external drive? I assume that this does not involve imaging, but instead simply copying over every file. I hear Dantz Retrospect isn't bad. But I would rather use the Disk Utilities that came with Tiger.
    There are multiple choices. I use SuperDuper!; the free version can do what you need, and the shareware version adds features. The exernal drive becomes a bootable copy of your internal drive file-by-file (not an image), so it doesn't jave to match exactly in size.

    5. Anyone hear anything about G-Tech G-Drive external HDDs? They look nice and seem well-built.
    No experience with them.

    6. About NTFS vs. FAT32 vs. HFS... I would like to increase compatibility and decrease limitations. But this is tough to do. Can Windows handle HFS? Read-only? Write and read? What about Mac OS X and NTFS? Friends or bitter enemies?This is really only an issue if you are going to be physically connecting the drive to both Mac and Windows (at different times, of course). Mac can read NTFS, but not write; it can read and write FAT32, but there are size and permission limitations. Windows can read and write HFS+, but only with a utility such as MacDrive (not free).

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    sitting on your shoulder
    #4
    3. When sleeping or shut down, the disks spin down. They spin up again at boot.
    4. Carbon Copy Cloner (free, somewhat geeky, uses cron), SuperDuper (shareware, less geeky, also uses something for scheduling), or Disk Utility (already there, not really geeky, but no scheduling or any other options)
    5. OWC, LaCie, MacPower (which supplies stuff to OWC), and WiebeTech are all good, and what little I've seen of G-Tech looked good.
    6. FAT32 also doesn't allow partitions over 32GB. You can do HFS+ if you get MacDrive for the PC. Also, i'm not sure if OS X can boot from FAT16/32 or NTFS. I believe it only boots from HFS+ or UFS.
     
  5. JayMak macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    #5
    3. I have an ADS external and the drive does power down as expected, the fan may keep running but I have the case open and the fan disconnected for quieter operation.

    4. Take a look Carbon Copy Cloner, I used it to clone the internal drive to to an external firewire one, which then booted just fine.
     
  6. ArkabaS thread starter macrumors member

    ArkabaS

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Location:
    The Moon
    #6
    Wow that was fast! Thanks everyone for the quick and helpful responses. I greatly appriciate the help. So I have a little dilemma with HFS+ vs. NTFS. Hmm..

    Is there any way for a WinTel box to read files from an HFS+ formated hard disk without the MacDisk software? I am mainly interested in sharing my media (e.g., backed up DVDs) with either my own or a friend's WinXP PC. If the WinTel box cannot read from an HFS+ hard disk, would it be possible to simply file share over LAN? I can file share between OS X and Windows without a problem, but between Windows and an external firewire drive connected to OS X... That is new territory for me. I suppose I could use tunneling software like Direct Connect/ShakesPeer. Any thoughts?
     
  7. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #7
    Sure, you can file share all you want over a lan between Windows and OS X, and it won't matter what the underlying disk format is at all; the os will do any conversion necessary. For example, if the external disk is connected to your Mac in HFS+ format and the Windows machine has permission to write to the disk, then the Windows box can write any file it wants to the disk over the lan, and OS X will take care of the conversion. The only time you need be concerned about a compatible disk format is if you are physically moving the disk between machines of different types; in that case, you need a file system that is understood by every os concerned.
     

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