Best Filesystem to use for Mac/Win

Discussion in 'macOS' started by zw-gator, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. zw-gator macrumors 6502a

    zw-gator

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #1
    I have a WD My Book that I need to reformat.

    It’s currently NTFS.

    Is there a file system that would allow me to read & write from both Mac and Windows? Is it any good?

    If I can’t do both, what’s best for Mac only format (let’s assume I never you Windows again)? HFS+?
     
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #2
    You'd need to format it to FAT32 for it to be able to read and write it on both operating systems. Although you can't transfer any files larger than 4GB to it, so you should be aware of that limitation.
     
  3. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #3
    FAT32 will allow you to do both
    But it is limited to 4GB file transfers

    You can format as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) which is HFS+ and install NTFS-3G (with MacFUSE) and it will allow you to read/write NTFS (Windows)

    I am at work so I don't have the links handy, but you can Google NTFS-3G

    Also, there is a Guide here on MR giving all the details on the various file systems

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  4. zw-gator thread starter macrumors 6502a

    zw-gator

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    #4
    Thanks guys!

    That 4GB limitation sucks, although I don't have any files that big right now, who knows when you'll get a full ISO disc.
     
  5. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    #5
    When you say that you want to access it from OSX and Windows, do you mean that you want to use it with a separate Windows PC that is always on your network? What I do is always format my external hard drives as HFS+ and then only ever have them connected to a Mac. If I want to access them from a Windows PC, then I share it on the Mac and access it over the network. If I had an external HD that I wanted to format as NTFS, then I would do the opposite (always connect it to the Windows PC and share it over the network).

    I wouldn't do FAT32 as it's too easy these days to reach its limitations.
     
  6. zw-gator thread starter macrumors 6502a

    zw-gator

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    #6
    ^ Basically I use my WD My Book as a storage/backup drive for movies/music/school work.

    I was just thinking that if I ever needed to transfer a file from a Win machine to my mac, that I wouldn't SOL.
     
  7. kasakka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #7
    Then you definitely want the drive to be NTFS. On OSX you can read it without any extra software and read/write works nicely with NTFS-3G or Paragon NTFS. Paragon is not free but it is faster.

    If you formatted it for HFS+ then you'd need MacDrive (again, not free software) to read/write or you'd have to use the free HFS+ Explorer to read files from it, which is a bit of a pain in the ass.
     
  8. elppa macrumors 68040

    elppa

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    #8
    Snow Leopard will come with HFS+ (Journaled) drivers for Windows.

    So I think this will be the best option, as read/write NTFS isn't supported on the Mac without tools like MacFuse.
     
  9. zw-gator thread starter macrumors 6502a

    zw-gator

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    #9
     
  10. elppa macrumors 68040

    elppa

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    #10
    No, this has to do with Windows reading Mac (HFS+) disks. The NTFS support for OS X can only (officially and fully) be provided by Microsoft. This will save you from buying something like MacDrive.
     
  11. pjmburg macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    #11
    I'd just keep it in NTFS. I've found that it's much easier to get a Mac to work with NTFS (via NTFS-3G) than it is to get Windows to work with HFS+.
     
  12. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    Sep 22, 2006
    #12
    fat32 is crap, use ntfs and install ntfs-3g, its free
     
  13. zw-gator thread starter macrumors 6502a

    zw-gator

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    #13
    I just installed NTFS-3G.

    Works great, no problems. Are there any issues with this though? It seems to be almost too good to be true. Like, why would anyone format with HFS+ when they could do NTFS with NFTS-3G?
     
  14. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #14
    It is a journalled, relatively modern file system that supports POSIX permissions, and features at least limited automatic defragmenting of files. Mac OS X is capable of mounting these volumes for reading and writing, and has full capabilities to utilize them. Mac OS X systems can also only boot from hard disks formatted in this system (as well as bootable optical media).
     
  15. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #15
    I've found large file transfers are slower using NTFS-3G or Paragon NTFS compared to Macs natively transferring to HFS+ or Windows natively transfering on NTFS disks. So if you occasionally transfer several hundred gigabytes like I do this is not a great option. It will also be slower for saving edits to large video files in iMovie or Final Cut to an NTFS drive.

    edit: Also with NTFS-3G the drivers can become buggy preventing your system from booting or NTFS volumes from mounting. If the disk is not properly disconnected or Windows is not shut down properly NTFS-3G will not mount it until it has been remounted in Windows and disconnected properly.

    Personally since you have a separate Mac and Windows PC I would leave the drive as HFS+ and set up file sharing. Then you can simply transfer files back and forth directly. Therefore not having to mess with disconnecting and reconnecting the external whenever you want a file.

    Heck you could even set up Remote Desktop for the Mac and Windows. This requires Windows XP Pro or Vista/7 Business/Ultimate. There are hacks and third party software for the home editions of Windows.
     

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