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Using an External HArd Drive with a PC & Mac...

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Greg_C, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. macrumors member

    (First Post!) Quick question, hope this is the right place for it... I just purchased an 80Gig external HDD for backup/data transfer (http://www.g-technology.com/Products/G-DRIVE.cfm). Currently, my only computer is a PC :( (Dell 8250). However, I will be getting a new 12" Powerbook in the next couple months :D What I'd like to know is this: If I format/initialize the drive on Windows now, can I use it to transter all my important stuff (basically the "My Documents" folder) to my PowerBook when it arrives? I'm pretty sure I'll have to reformat it in OS X if I want to be able to write to it, but will I at least be able to transfer everything ok? Thanks in advance.

  2. Moderator


    Staff Member

    If you format it as FAT32, you can read/write to it both in Windows and Mac OS X.
  3. macrumors 603


    OS X recognizes FAT32 and previous and can read and write to it.
    In 10.3.5 you have hit and miss abilities to write to NTFS disks. But FAT32 is the best for Mac/PC file transfer.
  4. macrumors member


    Thanks for the quick replies! Sounds good, even better than I expected.

  5. macrumors member

    One caveat - Windows' built in disk formatting tools only let you format up to a 32 GB partition in FAT32. It's not a limit of the file system, it's just something Microsoft does to coax people into using NTFS. So you'll have to pick up a third-party disk formatting utility in order to format the full drive in FAT32 using Windows.
  6. macrumors member


    Haven't heard that, thanks for pointing it out (stupid Microsoft :mad: )...Any recommendations on a partitioning software?

  7. macrumors member

    Well, I believe you can just hook the hard drive up to a Mac and use OS X's built in Disk Utility to format it in FAT32. Unfortunately, if you don't know someone with a Mac and don't have one yourself, that isn't an option. Outside of that, I have heard of a program called Partition Magic that should be able to do all sorts of stuff. I'm not sure how much it costs.

    Try asking at a hardcore PC forum like AnandTech or Ars Technica for more software suggestions. I am not super knowledgable of Windows software so I'm not sure what your best option would be. There are people there who definitely know what they're doing and will certainly be able to help you.
  8. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Right you are. Maybe one of the MR "family" members would be happy to meet at a cafe with the iB or PB and do the formatting. If they are in the DC/NOVA area, I would be glad to help. Or maybe the Apple Store or local reseller might help out.
  9. macrumors 603


    Just walk on into an Apple Store and use a computer... if they ask you what you are doing, tell them that you are switching to a Mac and need a Mac to format the disk. The Genius Bar people are usually very nice and helpful. If they know what you are trying to do, I bet they will help.
  10. macrumors member

    Thanks everyone

    I really appreciate all the quick replies! Seems to be a nice online community around here :) . As for the formatting, I think I'll probably just try to find a free (or something with a free trial period) piece of software to get my disk formatted in FAT32. There is actually an Apple Store near me (northeast Ohio), but I'd rather try to take care of this myself first. Can't wait for the PB though!

  11. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    That is why I suggested the Apple Store. They are generally helpful as long as you can show them that you are not looking to to rip off software.

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