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harrisonjr98

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 15, 2019
340
200
hey all! Longtime user of a couple of exFAT external hard drives, finally after a few months on the M1 Mac Mini I've committed to the Apple ecosystem enough that I'm fine giving up interoperability with Windows and I'm going to change those drives to HFS (macOS Extended Journaled). Upon researching the ins and outs of HFS I learned that exFAT is more error-prone than I ever thought. I haven't had issues with it that I know of, but have used it in the past to store some pretty precious data. The drives in question that I'm switching over to HFS are used for photo and music archival. Short of just navigating to a bunch of random files, is there any way to tell if them being in exFAT for a few years might've corrupted anything?
 

Honza1

macrumors 6502a
Nov 30, 2013
933
433
US
I do not believe you can change in place exFAT into any Apple format, so you always need to backup the disk to other media, reformat the disk and then copy data back. If these are large disks, you may find this not worth the effort as it may take huge amounts of time (100MB/sec is reasonable max you can expect and if files are small, even less). I tried to copy 8TB of data from HD recently and, well, I gave up.
If you copy the data from exFAT somewhere, you will test each file. To test in place, you would need to find software which would read each file completely and checked that the file is fine. That is not available in DiskTools, so you need separate program. And that will have to effectively do the same thing as copy would do, so it will take serious amount of time.
And finally, HFS is obsolete. Apple now suggests on all media APFS. However, if you have HFS drive, that can be converted in place into APFS, even though, I would still prefer to have backup myself. Actually, Disk tools today format drive first to HFS and then convert to APFS. Not sure why, but that seems to be the procedure based in DiskTools messages.
 
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harrisonjr98

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 15, 2019
340
200
I do not believe you can change in place exFAT into any Apple format, so you always need to backup the disk to other media, reformat the disk and then copy data back. If these are large disks, you may find this not worth the effort as it may take huge amounts of time (100MB/sec is reasonable max you can expect and if files are small, even less). I tried to copy 8TB of data from HD recently and, well, I gave up.
If you copy the data from exFAT somewhere, you will test each file. To test in place, you would need to find software which would read each file completely and checked that the file is fine. That is not available in DiskTools, so you need separate program. And that will have to effectively do the same thing as copy would do, so it will take serious amount of time.
And finally, HFS is obsolete. Apple now suggests on all media APFS. However, if you have HFS drive, that can be converted in place into APFS, even though, I would still prefer to have backup myself. Actually, Disk tools today format drive first to HFS and then convert to APFS. Not sure why, but that seems to be the procedure based in DiskTools messages.
Thanks for your response! A couple of clarifications:

1) I’m aware, and should’ve worded it better. I moved the data to another disk, am reformatting and moving it back.

2) yeahhh I probably just won’t worry about checking for corruption unless I specifically notice some weirdness. Life’s to short to fret about that kind of thing I guess.

3) I don’t know if I’d call HFS “obsolete.” The drives in question are mechanical external hard drives, and APFS is very much optimized for SSDs over hard drives. HFS still seems to be the go-to for HDDs as far as I can tell. See this article for example!
 

fisherking

macrumors G4
Jul 16, 2010
11,149
5,494
ny somewhere
all my external drives (and there are quite a few) are mechanical drives, and APFS-formatted, and i have had a stellar experience using them with my (intel) imac. just mentioning...
 
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Cayenne1

macrumors regular
Jun 21, 2016
128
117
Knoxville, TN
I reformatted several NTFS drives and some exFAT partitions left over from my Windows days. I had been using NTFS for Mac to mount those drives. It does take some time copying to a scratch disk, erase/reformat and copy back. I've had no issues.

Also I continue to use Parallels running WinXP and Win10 VMs for legacy Windows apps. Parallels VMs can read/write MacOS Extended drives just fine from within the Windows VMs. So to simplify I converted all my drives to run natively from my Mac.

I now have two external 8TB drives with Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner partitions on each. Time machine is configured to run to both drives (hourlys). Carbon Copy Cloner runs two nightly serperate tasks one for each bootable clone partition (dailys). Google Back up and Sync is setup for the desktop and critical personal files (offsite).

So I don't have a complete 1-2-3 as I do not have all my TBs of files offsite. I do have a another copy of my photo files and financial files on one of those reclaimed NTFS disks set aside off-line. It takes a manual task to updated it. If the house burned down, I'm at risk for my photos. But, can't afford placing TBs in the cloud.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 604
Dec 19, 2004
7,330
4,719
Georgia
I reformatted several NTFS drives and some exFAT partitions left over from my Windows days. I had been using NTFS for Mac to mount those drives. It does take some time copying to a scratch disk, erase/reformat and copy back. I've had no issues.

Also I continue to use Parallels running WinXP and Win10 VMs for legacy Windows apps. Parallels VMs can read/write MacOS Extended drives just fine from within the Windows VMs. So to simplify I converted all my drives to run natively from my Mac.

I now have two external 8TB drives with Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner partitions on each. Time machine is configured to run to both drives (hourlys). Carbon Copy Cloner runs two nightly serperate tasks one for each bootable clone partition (dailys). Google Back up and Sync is setup for the desktop and critical personal files (offsite).

So I don't have a complete 1-2-3 as I do not have all my TBs of files offsite. I do have a another copy of my photo files and financial files on one of those reclaimed NTFS disks set aside off-line. It takes a manual task to updated it. If the house burned down, I'm at risk for my photos. But, can't afford placing TBs in the cloud.

$50 per year per computer on Backblaze with no limit. It will backup externals too. Just be aware if you backup then remove external. Backblaze will no longer consider them part of the backup. Removing them after 30days.
 
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