Changing Hard Drive Format?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by lynkynpark86, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. lynkynpark86 macrumors 6502

    I currently have an external hard drive that is 640GB. It is currently in MS-FAT. I am just now realizing the mistake I made. I want to change it to HFS+ (Mac OS Extended), but it has 155GB of data on it, which, after OSX, is more than my Mac's internal HD space. I only have about 2GB of cloud storage, and no other external storage, besides a 32MB SD. I have a Windows 7 machine, too, but that doesn't support HFS+. I thought of creating a new partition, moving the files, and deleting the ond one, but adding the partition would erase my files. Are there any ideas for how I could do this? I can't justify to myself buying a larger HD just for this.

    EDIT: I just checked, and about 60% of my HD space is movies I've imported. I'd rather not do this because of the hours and hours it would take to re-rip every DVD with my crappy disk drive, but this is a possibility if there is no other option.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    If your Windows 7 computer has enough disk space, copy the data onto that, format the HDD in any format you like (exFAT for example would be a good fit for sharing between Windows and Mac OS X, but use Windows to format in exFAT) and if the format is not Windows compatible, just network both computers and copy data that way back to the newly formatted HDD.


    Overview of the four major file systems (called "Formats" in Mac OS X) used on Windows and Mac OS X, compiled by GGJstudios. You can use Disk Utility to format any HDD to your liking.

    Any external hard drive will work with PCs or Macs, as long as the connectors are there (Firewire, USB, etc.) It doesn't matter how the drive is formatted out of the box, since you can re-format any way you like. Formatting can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility, found in the /Applications/Utilities folder. Here are your formatting options:

    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 (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion)
      • 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).
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, 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. lynkynpark86 thread starter macrumors 6502

    I didn't think of networking. Thanks!

Share This Page