Best Format for external harddrives

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by albatronic, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. albatronic macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    #1
    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.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    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.
     
  3. albatronic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    #3
    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.
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    Yes, as stated in the first bold bullet point in my post.
     
  5. Stooby Mcdoobie macrumors 6502a

    Stooby Mcdoobie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    #5
    That is correct. Under Disk Utility, you will find this labeled as Mac OS Extended (Journaled); don't use case-sensitive.
     
  6. albatronic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    #6
    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.
     
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #7
    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.
     
  8. albatronic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    #8
    OK so it's like a full on copy rather than a compressed image? Superb, thanks for the info.
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    Yes, it's an exact clone of your drive, including the OS X Recovery Partition. It's not compressed in any way.
     
  10. albatronic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    #10
    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
     
  11. GGJstudios, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #11
    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
     
  12. albatronic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    #12
    Thank you.

    Fantastic, thanks for your time.

    ----------

    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.
     
  13. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #13
    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?
     
  14. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #14
    Regarding backups, note the first bolded bullet point in my post.
     
  15. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #15
    Both iPhoto and Time Machine to an attached external drive will require the Mac OS Extended (HFS+) format.
     
  16. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #16
    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.

    Thanks!
     
  17. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    South of the border
    #17
    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.
     

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