Switching External HD from PC to Mac

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by abciximab, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. abciximab macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    #1
    I'm a new mac convert, and I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this, but I have an external HD that I used with my old PC. When I connect the drive to my mac, I can read/copy files to my mac, but not write. Is this because the external HD is in a Windows format and Macs cannot write to this, thus I'll have to reformat the external HD? Or, is there something that I don't know about yet that I can do to allow me to write.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #2
    Sure sounds like you have an NTFS formatted external HD. MacOS can only read from that, and writing to NTFS using anything other than Microsoft's drivers never seems to be "safe".

    You could reformat it HFS+ for use only on the Mac or FAT32 if you want to be able to share the drive between Mac and Windows.

    B
     
  3. tutenstein macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Location:
    Maryland
    #3
    I was going to submit a post similiar to this.

    I recently made the switch to Mac also, but plan on keeping my PC.

    My wife needs the PC for work. Her tele-work software is not available in Mac.

    So I was going to ask if it was possible to use an External HD to back up both a PC and Mac or should I just get a separate one for Mac?

    Exactly how do I do this?

    Thanks.

    Sorry for hijacking this thread.
     
  4. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #4
    you should be able to use one, just make sure it's formatted as FAT32 not NTFS (PC only) or HFS (Mac). and your wife will have to put up with you leaving .DS_STORE files everywhere, and you with her leaving thumbs.db files everywhere.
     
  5. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #5
    If the external drive is for backup only, and is bigger than the two internal drives combined, you could also just create two partitions on the drive, one to back up your Windows (NTFS) and one for the Mac (HFS+). If need be You can read the NTFS from the Mac and (with Macdrive) read the HFS+ from the PC.

    B
     
  6. tutenstein macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Location:
    Maryland
    #6
    Thanks for the reply. I was thinking about using it not just as a backup though. If that is the case, I won't be able to use it for both the Mac and PC then?
     
  7. dops7107 macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Oztrailya
    #7
    If you format it as FAT32, both Mac and PC will be able to use the drive. But there are size limits on a FAT32 drive I think - Google for it.

    If you format NTFS, Mac won't write. If you format HFS+, PC won't read except with a third party application (Macdrive).

    What you could do is have two partitions, one HFS+ and the other FAT32. The HFS+ can be used for Mac backup purposes only, and the FAT32 can be used for Windows backup and any file sharing that you might want between both computers. If you wanted to get technical I guess you could set up a networked, dedicated fileserver that both computers could see.
     
  8. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Location:
    Stuck in the middle with you
    #8
    if it's not bigger than both your PC and Mac drives combined, I'm not exactly sure how you're going to back them both up, unless you're only going to backup bits and pieces. If it's bigger than both hard drives combined, i'd suggest something that looks like this:

    Partition 1: Exact size of your mac drive (HFS+ - mac only)
    Partition 2: Exact size of your PC Drive (FAT32)
    Partition 3: All other space (FAT32 - PC and mac can read this)
     

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