Can one format a hard drive to HFS+ easily?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Yasin1, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. Yasin1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    #1
    Hey everyone, I'm rather new to all of this, but I was just wondering if it is relatively straightforward to format an external hard drive (for use with time machine) which comes as FAT or NTFS formatted (out the box) and format it to HFS+ (journaled)?

    I only ask this because it seems a bit strange how companies like wd and seagate will charge extra money for a special 'mac formatted' version of their hard drives (take the wd passports and the seagate freeagent Go's as an example)

    If this formatting to HFS is fairly easy to do, once a standard drive has been formatted to HFS file-system, will it essentially be the same as buying one of their 'mac formatted' drives??

    Oh yes...how do I go about reformatting this new (out of the box hard drive...disk utility?) - I haven't bought it yet...just wanted to know if your actually paying for someone else to format it for you, or whether there was some other differences.

    Thanks for your help, and sorry its a bit long winded!
     
  2. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #2
    You start Disk Utility, which is in the Utilities folder inside the application folder (in the Finder, press Command-Shift-U, which will go to the Utilities folder). Disk Utility will show the drive, and then you can partition it any way you want, and format each partition as HFS+.

    Selling a "Mac-formatted" disk is just trying to get your money. Actually, if you format it with Disk Utility, you know it's done right. If you buy a "Mac-formatted" disk, you don't know what you will actually get.
     
  3. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #3
    Absolutely easy, and yes it will be done in Disk Utility. The extra cost for a Mac formatted drive is sometimes for more than formatting. In the case of the FreeAgent Desk series by Seagate, the price difference comes from the available connection possibilities-- those marketed for PCs have only USB connections, while the ones specifically marketed for Macs have USB as well as FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 for example. That does not mean you can't format a PC one for Mac use if you only need USB 2.

    As far as Western Digital, other than the format I can't see any difference between the only desktop drive they market as for Mac specifically (MyBook Mac Edition) is otherwise identical to the PC marketed MyBook Essential Edition.

    The main thing to remember when preparing a disk for Mac that has previously been formatted for PC (and is often missed in instructions) is to make sure that the Partition Map Scheme has been changed from MBR (a PC specific partition table) to GUID (for use with Intel based Macs) or APM (for use with older PowerPC based Macs).

    And BTW- the Mac format type to use is no longer called HFS+ in Disk Utility- it is now Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Wanted to mention that to avoid confusion ahead of time.

    When you have your drive in hand, post back and somebody will give yo specific instructions to format and make sure the partition map is correct, or even better you can use the forum search as the process has been described many times by myself and others.
     
  4. Yasin1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    #4
    If its just for a simple time machine backup, I only want one partition right? - are you able to have different partitions for a time machine backup - i.e. I thought time machine will only let you use the entire drive for its backups??
     
  5. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #5
    No TM does not require a whole drive- it can backup to an individual partition on a drive just fine.
     
  6. meisyong macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #6
    Hi guys... pretty new to this. if i have formatted it to HFS+ or FAT32. can the hdd be use(read & write) in windows?
     
  7. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #7
    If a partition (or a whole drive) is formatted as FAT32 in can be read in and written to by either Mac OSX or Windows.

    It cannot be used for TM backups, making a backup clone of your Mac hard drive and cannot be used with individual files larger than 4Gb.

    If the drive is formatted with Mac OS Extended (Journaled) (which used to be called HFS+), you can only read from or write to it in Windows by adding the commercial software called "MacDrive" to your Windows installation.
     

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