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What kind of file system does Mac use?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by wako, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. macrumors 65816

    I was just wondering what kind of file system does Mac use?

    I was wondering because I have an external HDD and I was wondering if it were to be on FAT32 would it be compatible with a Mac? (im a PC user FYI)
  2. Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    FAT32 will work with Mac for sharing files and day-to-day use but I don't think it'll let you boot from it, if that matters. I'm pretty sure it's HFS+ on OSX.
  3. macrumors 68020


    Yup, it's HFS+ on Mac, but Windows can't read it without 3rd party tools...

    sooo.... FAT32 is your best bet if you want something that can be read from and written to on both Mac and Windows, as long as you're going to just it for data, not actually install OS X on it.
  4. Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Yeah, dubbz has the more eloquent answer. Go with FAT32. :)
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Doesn't OS X support NTFS as well? I thought it did...
  6. macrumors Penryn


    You can only read from NTFS. I just formatted my 60 GB homemade external drive to FAT32. I now have permission to delete files off of it now. It really helps when transfering lots files between my PC laptop and my Mac desktop.
  7. macrumors 6502


    Due to the closed nature of NTFS (and its revisions), it is poorly supported by other operating systems (like Mac OS X and Linux). Although NTFS write support is available, it's quite risky to write to an NTFS partition from anything other than Windows and could result in loss of data.

    NTFS read is well supported by Mac OS X and Linux.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    I'm guessing that this isn't an issue with networks? i.e. hfs+ can be read/write on a pc - the drive being on a mac over a network, and visa versa with ntfs?
  9. macrumors newbie

    Soon-to-be switcher with similar question

    I am a lifelong PC user that is planning on making The Switch (leaning heavily towards the iMac 20"), possibly as soon as today. The Mac will become my primary machine, with my ancient Dell remaining in the picture as a portable for the immediate future.

    Now for the bit that pertains to file systems...

    I have quite a bit of music that I'm contemplating archiving on an external HDD and have some interest in making it available to both machines. I've always been under the impression that FAT32 partitions cannot exceed 32 gb, or at least XP will not format larger than that. Can OSX a) format an external HDD to FAT32 and b) do so in a partition greater than 32 gb?

    Obviously, I don't have much more than a rudimentary understanding of all this so any help would be greatly appreciated.

  10. macrumors 6502

    I've got FAT32 partitions larger than 32GB, but I didn't use XP to format them. I used "format C:". So it can be done. Also partition magic will work. As far as OS X, I don't think OS X can format a disk in FAT of any flavor, but I don't really know. I just don't remember having the option using Disk Utility.

    I think where everyone keeps getting this 32GB thing is that PC BIOS can't boot past a certain sector w/o Large Disk Support or something. Or maybe I'm crazy.
  11. macrumors Penryn


    I just reformatted my 60 GB drive to FAT32 using the Disk Utility included with Mac OS X Tiger.



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