Sharing External HD between PC and MAC

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by smacman, Feb 7, 2006.

  1. smacman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    #1
    Hello all,

    I am the proud new owner of an Intel iMac. I have spent the last day transferring my documents, music, pictures, etc. from the PC to the Mac. So far so good. I have been using an external Hard Drive to move things back and forth but one thing I noticed is that the Mac con only read the drive. It seems that if I format a drive in windows then it is read-only to the Mac. Is there any way around this? Ideally I was hoping to be able to write to the drive from both machines.

    Thanks
     
  2. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #2
    The drive is probably formatted NTFS. Mac OS X can only read NTFS, it has "limited" write capabilites (read: none). You have 2 choices, each with inherant problems/perks.

    1) Format the drive as FAT32. It's free and will work fine for both, but you have a limit of a 4GB file size.

    2) Format the drive as HFS+ and buy MacDrive for your PC. Your PC can't read/write to HFS+ without 3rd party software. After installing it, it'll work great on both, but if you drag it to another PC, you'll have the same problem.
     
  3. smacman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    #3
    Thanks for the quick reply. I think option 2 will suit me perfectly.

    Thanks again.
     
  4. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    South of the border
    #4
    i'm pretty sure FAT32 can go up to 2TB (i've certainly formatted a 200GB drive successfully with it) - but it is slower and clunkier than the more intelligent (but proprietary) formats like NTFS (Windows) and HFS (Mac).
    You'll have to format it on the Mac tho (where it's called MS-DOS format) because XP will only format a FAT32 drive to 30GB without a third-party utility even tho it can work with larger drives without issue.

    [edit] i stand corrected... :)
     
  5. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #5

    The issue isn't the volume size, it's the FILE size, which is limited to 4GB. So if you work with movie files/etc/ FAT32 is not for you.
     
  6. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #6
    I think you still have th file size (not drive size) issue though no matter how you format the drive as FAT32.
     
  7. baummer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Southern California
    #7
    Are you sure? I was able to write a 6GB video no problem...and yes the drive is formatted FAT32.
     
  8. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #8

    Pretty sure.

    This is from the Horse's Mouth.

    http://www.microsoft.com/resources/...Windows/XP/all/reskit/en-us/prkc_fil_tdrn.asp

    And junst in case you needed it, here's the same thing from Apple:

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=93866
     

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  9. baummer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Southern California
    #9
    Hmm..I wonder if doing it over a network had anything to do with it? I transferred a 6GB movie file from my iBook at school to my external HD connected to my Mini at home using AFP, and as near as I can tell, the file is completely intact.
     
  10. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #10
    Nope. Network has nothing to do with it as the limitation is on the filesystem.
     
  11. shrimpdesign macrumors 6502a

    shrimpdesign

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    #11
    If it's an iMovie, the project is just a folder with an extension. It's seperate files, but OS X treats it as one if it's an iMovie project, so as far as FAT32 knows, it's just a folder with files in it.

    Of course if it isn't an iMovie project, I have no idea.
     
  12. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    #12
    an option would be to perhaps network both machines and just have the external drive plugged into one machine.

    though this is only if your machines are close. its a system I plan on using when I get both my gaming PC and my 'for the fun of it' G3 iMac.
     
  13. tivoboy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    #13
    that works fine

    yeah, I just left my 300 gb seagate formatted for windows, and then write to it as an external drive from the mac. Reads and writes fine, just have to have the pc on for it. And, limited to the 1000 mbs network speed.

    I WOULD like to find a good formatting solution that will allow one to go back and forth, read write for the two of them. Don't really want to buy more software at the moment.
     
  14. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #14
    ^ What they all said above: FAT32

    As far as a 'good' solution, without spending money, there isn't.
     

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