MS-DOS or exFAT?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Epiphron, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    #1
    Hey guys, what's the best format for my external hard drive so that Mac OS X and Windows 7 (via bootcamp) can read/write to it. I'm using disk utility to partition my external drive. Anyone have experience on this matter?
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    bmcgonag

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
    I would say boot up in boot camp, connect the drive, and format it with Fat32. There are some free ustilities for mac that will let it write to NTFS as well, but I've found it to be a bit buggy at times. It's NTFS-3G if you want to google it and read about it though.

    Brian
     
  3. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #3
    MS-DOS isn't a disk format; it's an operating system. Your best bet is NTFS.


    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.
    • 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)
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB

    You don't have to boot up in Boot Camp to format FAT32. Mac OS X can do that. Tuxera has been known to be buggy, but not NTFS-3G for Mac OS X. It's quite stable and reliable.
     
  4. macrumors P6

    -aggie-

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    #4
    I’ll second the vote for NTFS. I’d never heard of exFAT (FAT64, but not exFAT), so thanks to GGJstudios for that post.
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    bmcgonag

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    Didn't mean to insinuate that NTFS-3G is buggy in general, just meant that I have found it to be buggy. Sorry for the confusion.

    Thanks for all the info on the different file system types. Good info to have.
     
  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #6
    NTFS-3G is buggy as hell, mine craps out all the time. Sure it's fine for small occasional transfers, but i'd never want to rely on it.

    Personally, I'd go exFAT unless you've already paid for paragon's NTFS drivers.

    So create the drive in Windows. Gah.
     
  7. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #7
    If you're having problems, it's most likely because something else is causing it. The free NTFS-3G is very reliable. Only the paid Tuxera is known to have problems.
    exFAT has many limitations, as the links will show. It's not the best choice for compatibility between Mac OS X and Windows, since only certain versions of both will handle it.
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    Portugal
    #8
    I'm having the same dilema!
    I bought a WD External HDD with 2TB to use it together with a LCD TV from Samsung as a Media Center.
    Since I'm the only one in the house that uses Mac, it needs to be in a format that both systems can handle.
    Also, I don't know if the Samsung LCD can handle exFat or HFS+.
    Is the only option NTFS?
    It is very slow to transfer files and the main use for the HDD will be to have very big video files in 720p or 1080p.
     
  9. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    I listed all the options in my first post. Either NTFS or HFS+ will work. In both cases, something needs to be installed on either the Mac or Windows PC to make it work. FAT32 has a file size limitation.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    Portugal
    #10

    Well HFS+ is out of the question since the Samsung LCD does not support that format.
    Can I format an External HDD to NTFS on my Mac?
     
  11. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #11
    Yes. Install NTFS-3G on the Mac and then you can format any drive as NTFS. (See my first post in this thread)
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    Portugal
    #12
    OK. Got it and it is formatting.
    It will take years for what I'm seeing!

    EDIT: Estimated time: 21 hours!
    Seriously?
     
  13. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #13
    It probably won't take that long. It's an estimate and as such, it will continually change as the estimate gets more accurate. How big is the drive?
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    Portugal
    #14
    Never mind.
    It was the security options that were messing with it.
    Now its done and working.
    It 2TB.
    Thank you!
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    Portugal
    #15
    Something happened!
    I was transfering to the HDD some tv episodes and all of a sudden I got a message on screen that the HDD was ejected incorrectly.
    I connected it again and now I cannot access the folder I was putting the episodes in.
    It give me an error -43.
    Did I lost everything I just put inside?
     
  16. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    #16
    That's why I don't trust 3rd party solutions (read NTFS on a Mac) to handle my data.

    You didn't say you needed support for files greater than 4GB so unless you need that (and can't work around it), you should format your 2TB HDD to FAT32 on a PC. Then you can use it with Macs and your Samsung, too.

    P.S. If you couldn't guess, another vote for skipping NTFS and jumping straight to exFAT for those only using OS X 10.6.5 and Windows 7/Vista/XP! :eek:
     
  17. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #17
    Hopefully, you were copying files to the HDD and not moving. If so, you haven't lost anything. It's a good practice to first copy to external drives, to make sure files transfer successfully, before deleting any source data. I assume you had the HDD connected only to the Mac when this happened?
    FAT32 and exFAT are not options. You didn't read their posts closely enough:
     
  18. daiei27, Dec 26, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010

    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    #18
    Actually, FAT32 could be an option. He did not specify how big the files were. Lots of people split or compress large video files.

    Also, I did not suggest exFAT as a solution for his particular problem. I was just making a general statement (note the P.S.) since so many were quick to dismiss it for NTFS. Perhaps you didn't read these posts closely enough. :p

    I will admit exFAT does have its faults, though. IMHO, everyone should decide for themselves rather than blindly relying on advice from strangers.
     
  19. GGJstudios, Dec 26, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010

    macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #19
    This is pretty clear:
    Knowing that this is the purpose, it doesn't make sense to use a file system with that known file size limitation.
    They already expressed that exFat is not compatible with the Samsung.
    Facts are facts, whether received from a stranger or someone you know.
     
  20. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    #20
    Facts are not necessarily helpful facts if they don't apply to the situation. Logic is obviously not your strong suit so get off your high horse.

    I'm not gonna waste any more of my time explaining my words to you.
     
  21. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #21
    Here are the facts that apply to this situation:
    FAT32 - not a good choice, because it has a 4GB file size limitation
    exFAT - not a good choice, since it's not compatible with the Samsung device
    HFS+ - not a good choice, since it's not compatible with the Samsung device

    That leaves NTFS as the only logical choice that meets both the compatibility and file size criteria.

    It's really not that difficult to understand, if you slow down and read the posts carefully.
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    #22
    hi i am sorry if i hijack this post, however i am in the same situation (Samsung tv, Windows Vista, and MAC OS X 10.6.7) the only difference, i have another factor, i was planning to use this HDD for Time Machine, apparently TM can only detect HFS+ (unless i am missing some pieces from this puzzle) i have installed Tuxera NTFS but had no luck with TM detecting the drive.
    FAT32 is also not a good option for me as i would like to copy files over 4gb.

    Should i possibly partition my 2T drive (1T Tuxera NTFS/1T HFS+)?

    Thank you all, i spent 2 days already figuring this out, and researching.
     
  23. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #23
    Yes, that's exactly what you need to do.

    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
     
  24. macrumors member

    dgbowers

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Location:
    Alabama
    #24
    The best way that I've found is to split the drive into 3 partitions.

    950GB as HFS+
    100GB as FAT32
    950GB as NTFS

    You can read and write from both OS X and Windows on the FAT32 partition, and use that as a transfer drive to go between the two different OSes.
     
  25. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #25
    There is no need for a FAT32 partition, as NTFS can easily be shared between Mac OS X and Windows.
     

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