Backing up MBP, can I partition the back up hard drive?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by zoobaaruba, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. zoobaaruba macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2010
    I've got a 1TB external hard drive and a 250GB internal hard drive in my MBP. Could I partition the external HD into a 250GB part that is Mac OS extended format, and 750GB part that is fat32 format?

    Basically, my question is: can I partition a hard drive into parts with different formats? or do they all have to be the same format?
  2. shootist macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2011
    You can partition it into as many partitions as you like. But you can't have one FAT32 and the other Mac Extended. I believe Mac extended need to be on a GUID partition table and FAT32 won't work on that partition table. For FAT32 it has to be MBR.

    Als for time machine to make backups it has to go to a drive formatted Mac extended with a partition table of GUID.
  3. BL4zD macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2010
    FAT32 *will* work inside a GUID partition table (GPT).

    Windows Vista onwards will recognize GPT.

    FAT32 has a 4GB file limitation whereas NTFS does not.

    OSX will read NTFS natively and can write to it with 3rd party software.

    So depending on what you want to do with your external drive you have many options available.

    The direct answer to your question is that you can use disk utility to create a GUID partition table then format the first partition to FAT32 and any afterwards as HFS+.

    You may not have to format the first partition as FAT32 but early versions of windows (XP and earlier) used to have problems recognizing partitions that weren't the first on the drive. That may not apply anymore or it may have just been that they couldn't boot from partitions that weren't first. I don't remember as it's been a long time since I dual booted with a FAT32 partition.
  4. zoobaaruba thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2010
    Ok, thanks for the help :)

    I need one partition that can both read/write by both mac and windows, what is the 3rd party software to let mac write on NTFS? Also, I'm assuming NTFS can be made on a GUID partition table?
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009

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