reformat HFS+ to Fat32

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by cephoto, Nov 11, 2003.

  1. macrumors newbie

    I'm trying to reformat a 120GB Firewire HFS+ drive to Fat32. Although other forums suggest starting in OS9 and formating to Fat32, this option is not listed in the format window. Only Mac formats.
    So I hooked it up to my Vaio PC, running XP and formated it with PowerQuest Partition Magic to Fat32. Problem is, when I hook it up to my Mac, it still sees it as a HFS+ drive and all the old files put on when it was HFS+. It does not see the drive as Fat32, which is what I want.
    I've tried wiping the free space but that doesn't work either.

    How can I get rid of the Mac HFS+ directory, or whatever allows a Mac to still see the old drive format and files?? I want to be able to use this drive on both PC(XP) and Mac OSX.
  2. macrumors 604


    why dont you try formatting again using windows built in formatting. just right click the drive and format. you can also use some of the system tools to format it if my computer doesn't see it.

  3. macrumors newbie

    ok, I tried that and it only allows me to choose NTFS. That's what the Vaio HD is.
  4. macrumors 604


    fat32 and ntfs do have their differences, but for the most part the average user doesnt need to pick one or the other. ntfs is more commonly used now with newer computers. unless you have a specific reason for using one or the other just use ntfs.

  5. macrumors newbie

    yes, and one of the differences is that a Mac can't see NTFS. I want to be able to use the drive on both.
  6. macrumors 604


    ohhh i see. well im not sure what to do, but with my setup i have all my firewire hard drive formatted as hfs+, and i have macdrive 5 installed on my pc so i can open the hard drive just fine.

  7. macrumors newbie

    I looked up MacDrive 5 and it looks like an option but surely we both see the best way is to be able to format the drive in Fat32, wipe all old data, and then the drive will work on both PC and Mac with no additional software or expense.
  8. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Open up Disk Utility, click the Erase tab, select the drive on the left, and choose MS-DOS File System from the Volume Format list. I haven't tried this, but I don't see any reason for it to not work.
  9. macrumors regular

    I've Done This Before....

    Okay here what you have to do, this is for XP, not sure if its the same on onything else.

    1- Bring the drive to a windows computer and plug it in.

    2- Right click on My Computer > Manage...

    3- In the left pane click on Storage > Disk Management.

    4- Then, in the right pane, right click on your external drive > format...

    5- Select your settings. Then let it format.

    I did this to my external because I wanted to be able to use my external on both PC and Mac. But when I when to reformat the drive to FAT32 found that the PC did not even detect the drive. This was the only way that it recocnized it.

    Also if you are doing this for the same reason that I did, I have to tell you that I ended up reformatting back to Mac OS FS. Theres drawbacks to the FAT32 FS. Long filenames will be messed up, and many of my files that were on the external got corrupted. Also, the drive worked ont he Mac, but was very touchy. Many things could not be renamed and some characters were not ever displayed.

    But....then again...thats just me.
  10. macrumors newbie

    I really appreciate the response. You've made me rethink the situation and I'v e decided to leave as is for my trip out of town and think about what you said. I did look at software, MacDrive 5, that ijon mentioned and it may be a good solution.

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