can't copy files to the external hard drive

testtry

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Original poster
Aug 7, 2006
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why? had no problem doing that in Windows, what is wrong with OS X?
 

elisha cuthbert

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2006
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Melbourne
it might be a good idea, if you dont have anything on it open disk utility and select the hard drive in question and then select the erase tab and then select MS-Dos file system and then click format
ive dont it with dozens of mine
 

testtry

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Original poster
Aug 7, 2006
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elisha cuthbert said:
it might be a good idea, if you dont have anything on it open disk utility and select the hard drive in question and then select the erase tab and then select MS-Dos file system and then click format
ive dont it with dozens of mine
so there is no way I could use it under both Windows and OS X systems?
 

elisha cuthbert

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2006
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Melbourne
yes if yo format it into ms dos file system it will work on both windows and mac
if you have stuff on it i suggest you find a willing pc, copy all the stuff off it and then format it and then put the other stuff back on it
 

timnosenzo

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Jun 21, 2004
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I could be wrong, but if the disk is in NTFS then only Windows will be able to read it. If you format it in FAT32, then your PC & Mac should be able to read it.
 

testtry

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Original poster
Aug 7, 2006
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elisha cuthbert said:
yes if yo format it into ms dos file system it will work on both windows and mac
if you have stuff on it i suggest you find a willing pc, copy all the stuff off it and then format it and then put the other stuff back on it
will do as you said. thanks.
 

testtry

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Original poster
Aug 7, 2006
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nosen said:
I could be wrong, but if the disk is in NTFS then only Windows will be able to read it. If you format it in FAT32, then your PC & Mac should be able to read it.
both PC and Mac can read the external drive, but I can't copy files to it in Mac
 

timnosenzo

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Jun 21, 2004
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testtry said:
both PC and Mac can read the external drive, but I can't copy files to it in Mac
Hmm, you may not have permission to write to it then. Try to highlight the drive, then "Get Info" and see what your Ownership & Permissions is set at.
 

stevehp

macrumors 6502
Sep 4, 2006
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It's not a house, it's a home.
nosen said:
Hmm, you may not have permission to write to it then. Try to highlight the drive, then "Get Info" and see what your Ownership & Permissions is set at.
My brother in law has the same problem. It's a formatting problem.

My suggestion. If you have enough HD space on your mac, transfer all the files from your external onto your HD - reformat the external and then you will be able to put the files back.
 

testtry

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Original poster
Aug 7, 2006
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nosen said:
Hmm, you may not have permission to write to it then. Try to highlight the drive, then "Get Info" and see what your Ownership & Permissions is set at.
it says I only have read permission
 

testtry

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Original poster
Aug 7, 2006
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stevehp said:
My brother in law has the same problem. It's a formatting problem.

My suggestion. If you have enough HD space on your mac, transfer all the files from your external onto your HD - reformat the external and then you will be able to put the files back.
then will my PC be able to read/write to it?
 

CyberB0b

macrumors regular
Apr 19, 2004
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Writing to NTFS disks from OS X isn't possible. All NTFS disks are mounted "read only" in OS X. Formatting the drive as FAT32 will allow it to be used on both Windows and OS X.
 

Veritas&Equitas

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Oct 31, 2005
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It's not your fault. PC's and Mac's can both read NTFS and FAT32. Mac's can only write to a FAT32 partition, not NTFS. PC's can read/write to both FAT32 and NTFS. The reason that most hard drive's are default formatted NTFS is because it's a more efficient partition format, especially for Windows.

Another reason is because you can only create a max 4 GB partition with FAT32 with Windows.
 

testtry

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Original poster
Aug 7, 2006
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CyberB0b said:
Writing to NTFS disks from OS X isn't possible. All NTFS disks are mounted "read only" in OS X. Formatting the drive as FAT32 will allow it to be used on both Windows and OS X.
how can I format the drive to FAT32?
 

sushi

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Jul 19, 2002
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Veritas&Equitas said:
It's not your fault. PC's and Mac's can both read NTFS and FAT32. Mac's can only write to a FAT32 partition, not NTFS. PC's can read/write to both FAT32 and NTFS. The reason that most hard drive's are default formatted NTFS is because it's a more efficient partition format, especially for Windows.

Another reason is because you can only create a max 4 GB partition with FAT32 with Windows.
I would add the following:

- NTFS is also used for security issues that FAT32 does not posses.

- FAT32 can be formated for larger partition sizes that 4GB. I believe the current limit is 2 TiB.
 

sushi

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testtry said:
how can I format the drive to FAT32?
On the Mac, you can use Disk Utility. Format as a "MS-DOS File System" drive.

If you have a PC, you can use the built in utilities for format the drive.

Either one should work fine.
 

CyberB0b

macrumors regular
Apr 19, 2004
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Veritas&Equitas said:
Another reason is because you can only create a max 4 GB partition with FAT32 with Windows.
You can only create a max 4 GB file with FAT32. The partition can be up to 2,000 GB.
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
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CyberB0b said:
You can only create a max 4 GB file with FAT32. The partition can be up to 2,000 GB.
I learned this the hard way. Western Digital external drive was formatted FAT32. I didn't notice and after loading all of my junk onto it, I was told that I cannot transfer files larger than 2gb or there abouts to my external because it's FAT32. So today I am formatting it MSDOS.
 

SimonTheSoundMa

macrumors 65816
Aug 6, 2006
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Birmingham, UK
Best way to transfer files is in terminal using cp.

You may also need to use sudo, just incase your account does not have permissions.

sudo cp -Rp pathfrom pathto


pathfrom being what you want to copy, for example, your Pictures directory, ~/Pictures

Pathto being where you want to copy to, type the path to your external drive and where you want to the file to go, for example /Volumes/external_hard_drive/Pictures.

You may need to have the paths inside " " as you may have split names for folder or files like hello kitty.jpg.

-R switch will copy files recursively, -p will copy all metadata such as permissions, date created, modified etc.


Using terminal is far quicker than finder, terminal just copies, it doesn't sit there 'preparing' and calculating which finder does.


And as for partition size, OS X can only see a fat32 partition as a maximum of 32GiBs. Windows XP SP1 or higher can see more, up to 2TiB.
 

ddekker

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2006
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Michigan
external drive format

Have this exact problem, I found that OS X can read NTFS but not write to NTFS, windows read and writes it fine, but can't see apple file system, so I've had the best luck having the drive plugged into my windows machine and just transfering my apple data through the network, its not the best solution but it works... my original maxtor drive was formated fat32 (160 gig) no idea how they got one partition in fat32 that large, but I lent it out and the person formated it AFS and I can never get it back, I even called maxtor... ohh well...

DD

check out the rest of my apple experiences on my blog