can a external drive be partitioned while half full?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by excalibur313, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. excalibur313 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2003
    Cambridge, MA
    I have an external hard drive that is half full. Can disk utility be used to partition the rest into a msdos format to enable that half to be seen in windows?
  2. Mac_Freak macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005

    Disk Utility will not do it without erasing all the data. You need software like VolumeWorks or iPartitioner, but you have to pay for both of them. I haven't yet found a free program that would be able to dynamically repartition my drive.
  3. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    The drive needs to use a Windows partition table to be usable under windows. So ultimately you need to find somewhere to copy data to, reformat the drive under windows creating an FAT partition and then connect the drive to your mac and create a HFS+ partition in the remaining space before copying the files back onto the drive.

    There are also limitations to using a FAT partition under OS X.

    An alternative to all of this is to buy a HFS+ driver for windows. Both MacOpener and MacDrive are stable and will allow Windows to access a HFS+ formatted drive. Last I checked these drivers cost around $40.
  4. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the only reason to have an msdos partition is if the disk will be physically connected to a Windows box. If the drive stays connected to a Mac, then the drive can still be formatted in HFS+ and the Mac will do the file format translation on the fly when Windows connects via the network. Do you have a need to physically move the disk to a Windows machine?
  5. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    I once followed a trick on to partition external hard disk into two: (1) HFS+ for Mac and (2) FAT32 for Windows. Although the hint worked well, eventually it became a hassle to manage two volumes. Windows computer needed to access data off of HFS+ volume from time-to-time and frankly, FAT32 isn't very efficient nor robust.

    So I bought MacDrive for Windows, which is great for reading and writing HFS+ volume. It was well worth it.

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