Best Format for external harddrives

albatronic

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 23, 2012
7
0
Hi guys,

Having just bought my first MAC and being new to this forum I have what is probably a fairly simple question.

All my external hard disks are formatted in NTFS at the moment, now, my understanding is this, MAC's will read NTFS but will not write to NTFS formatted disks, is this correct?

Are there any programs out there or workarounds that will allow me full use of NTFS formatted drives? Also if I format a drive using my MAC will users on Windows PC's be able to read the drive?

I'm really looking for the best solution to be able to use drives both in my MAC and windows based PC's.

Thanks in advance for any replies.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
763
Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)

Choose the appropriate format:

HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

NTFS (Windows NT File System)
  • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
  • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
    [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
    • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon ($19.95) (Best Choice for Lion and Mountain Lion)
    • For Mac OS X 10.5 and later, including Lion, FUSE for OS X
    • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
    • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
    • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36), which is an enhanced version of NTFS-3G with faster performance.
    • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and later versions, but is not advisable, due to instability.
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
  • Maximum file size: 16 TB
  • Maximum volume size: 256TB
  • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.

exFAT (FAT64)
  • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
  • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
  • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
  • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
  • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
  • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
  • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
    [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
  • Maximum volume size: 2TB
  • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.
 
Comment

albatronic

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 23, 2012
7
0
Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)

Choose the appropriate format:

HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

NTFS (Windows NT File System)
  • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
  • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
    [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
    • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon ($19.95) (Best Choice for Lion and Mountain Lion)
    • For Mac OS X 10.5 and later, including Lion, FUSE for OS X
    • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
    • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
    • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36), which is an enhanced version of NTFS-3G with faster performance.
    • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and later versions, but is not advisable, due to instability.
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
  • Maximum file size: 16 TB
  • Maximum volume size: 256TB
  • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.

exFAT (FAT64)
  • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
  • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
  • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
  • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
  • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
  • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
  • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
    [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
  • Maximum volume size: 2TB
  • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.
Thanks for the reply, that has answered my initial question. Now, just to clarify on another question, if I want to create a backup using time machine I need to use a drive that is formatted using MAC native HFS +?

Thanks again.
 
Comment

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
763
Thanks for the reply, that has answered my initial question. Now, just to clarify on another question, if I want to create a backup using time machine I need to use a drive that is formatted using MAC native HFS +?
Yes, as stated in the first bold bullet point in my post.
 
Comment

Stooby Mcdoobie

Contributor
Jun 26, 2012
821
36
Now, just to clarify on another question, if I want to create a backup using time machine I need to use a drive that is formatted using MAC native HFS +?

Thanks again.
That is correct. Under Disk Utility, you will find this labeled as Mac OS Extended (Journaled); don't use case-sensitive.
 
Comment

albatronic

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 23, 2012
7
0
Size matter?

For HFS+ backup disk, what size of disk would you recommend. I'm unsure obviously of the general size of the backups. I have a few drives of different sizes I could use for this.

Thanks.
 
Comment

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
763
For HFS+ backup disk, what size of disk would you recommend. I'm unsure obviously of the general size of the backups. I have a few drives of different sizes I could use for this.

Thanks.
It should be at least the same size as the drive or data that you're backing up. I use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a bootable backup of my entire drive onto a same-sized drive. If my internal drive ever fails, I can immediately boot up from the backup drive.
 
Comment

albatronic

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 23, 2012
7
0
It should be at least the same size as the drive or data that you're backing up. I use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a bootable backup of my entire drive onto a same-sized drive. If my internal drive ever fails, I can immediately boot up from the backup drive.
OK so it's like a full on copy rather than a compressed image? Superb, thanks for the info.
 
Comment

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
763
OK so it's like a full on copy rather than a compressed image? Superb, thanks for the info.
Yes, it's an exact clone of your drive, including the OS X Recovery Partition. It's not compressed in any way.
 
Comment

albatronic

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 23, 2012
7
0
Yes, it's an exact clone of your drive, including the OS X Recovery Partition. It's not compressed in any way.
OK, last one, I've installed the trial version of paragon, I was expecting to find it under Applications, it's not there, does this program run in the background or should it appear somewhere else?

Thanks
 
Comment

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
763
OK, last one, I've installed the trial version of paragon, I was expecting to find it under Applications, it's not there, does this program run in the background or should it appear somewhere else?

Thanks
It runs in the background. After you have installed it, restart your Mac. Then when you go to Disk Utility and are selecting a drive format, you will now see NTFS as an option. Also, you can try writing to one of your existing NTFS drives, such as right-clicking within a drive in Finder and try creating a new folder.

You can also see it in System Preferences as this icon:
ScreenCap 2012-10-24 at Wed, Oct 24,10.44.49 AM .PNG
 
Last edited:
Comment

albatronic

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 23, 2012
7
0
Thank you.

It runs in the background. After you have installed it, restart your Mac. Then when you go to Disk Utility and are selecting a drive format, you will now see NTFS as an option. Also, you can try writing to one of your existing NTFS drives, such as right-clicking within a drive in Finder and try creating a new folder.
Fantastic, thanks for your time.

----------

It runs in the background. After you have installed it, restart your Mac. Then when you go to Disk Utility and are selecting a drive format, you will now see NTFS as an option. Also, you can try writing to one of your existing NTFS drives, such as right-clicking within a drive in Finder and try creating a new folder.

You can also see it in System Preferences as this icon:
Superb, I was wondering how I could remove it if it wasn't showing up in applications but I see there is an option for uninstall through system preferences.
 
Comment

rhett7660

macrumors G5
Jan 9, 2008
12,456
2,418
Sunny, Southern California
Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)

Choose the appropriate format:

HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

NTFS (Windows NT File System)
  • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
  • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
    [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
    • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon ($19.95) (Best Choice for Lion and Mountain Lion)
    • For Mac OS X 10.5 and later, including Lion, FUSE for OS X
    • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
    • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
    • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36), which is an enhanced version of NTFS-3G with faster performance.
    • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and later versions, but is not advisable, due to instability.
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
  • Maximum file size: 16 TB
  • Maximum volume size: 256TB
  • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.

exFAT (FAT64)
  • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
  • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
  • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
  • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
  • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
  • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
  • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
    [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
  • Maximum volume size: 2TB
  • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.
Excellent post. The vote up was not doing it for me, so I thought I would also comment. :)

I would also add if you are going to use iPhoto on an external drive or back up to an external drive doesn't it have to also be in the Mac OS Extended format?
 
Comment

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
763
Excellent post. The vote up was not doing it for me, so I thought I would also comment. :)

I would also add if you are going to use iPhoto on an external drive or back up to an external drive doesn't it have to also be in the Mac OS Extended format?
Regarding backups, note the first bolded bullet point in my post.
 
Comment

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,000
9,660
California
I would also add if you are going to use iPhoto on an external drive or back up to an external drive doesn't it have to also be in the Mac OS Extended format?
Both iPhoto and Time Machine to an attached external drive will require the Mac OS Extended (HFS+) format.
 
Comment

rhett7660

macrumors G5
Jan 9, 2008
12,456
2,418
Sunny, Southern California
Regarding backups, note the first bolded bullet point in my post.
Correct, but I was more looking outside of using a back up application, I have script that fires off and copies my iPhoto library to an external drive. I have a time machine setup on my NAS which is just the OS and Applications. I keep my iPhoto folder on another drive that is not covered by TM. That is all I was saying.

Both iPhoto and Time Machine to an attached external drive will require the Mac OS Extended (HFS+) format.
Thanks!
 
Comment

frankblundt

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2005
1,271
0
South of the border
OK so it's like a full on copy rather than a compressed image? Superb, thanks for the info.
CCC is a full copy, so the same size as your original data but Time Machine (beyond the first synch) isn't.

Time Machine works in a similar way to rsynch, making a full backup up and then adding only changed data to it incrementally until it runs out of space, at which point it deletes the oldest data. So if you're using Time Machine, the larger the drive you use, the longer the history of it you can keep.

How fast you fill it up will depend on how often you change files and how large they are. If you are constantly adding and removing 4gb movie images for instance, you'll find your TM space disappearing rapidly.

OS X Mountain Lion introduced the ability to use multiple volumes simultaneously for Time Machine operations. When the user specifies more than one volume to use, OS X rotates among the desired volumes each time it does a backup.
 
Comment

Similar threads

Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.