Disk Utility: What's the proper way to give file format to a brand new external HDD

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by doxavita, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. doxavita macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    #1
    What's the proper way to give file format to a brand new external hard drive?

    It's a Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable Drive (USB 2.0, 3.0)

    I know it involves opening the Disk Utility app, selecting the drive, and then going into Erase? what else?

    Which file format should I give it? I need to backup all my data, perhaps FAT32? what is ExFAT? and all those other file formats? which is best?

    Thanks
     
  2. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #2
    You haven't said what you're backing up, but I'm assuming it's the internal disk of a Mac, or perhaps an external drive connected to a Mac. In that case, you almost surely want to format as "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)". That's the default for Macs (at least relatively recent Macs -- my experience only goes back to 2008).

    Picking one of the "Mac OS Extended" flavors will ensure that all of the extended attributes for your Mac files will be able to be copied to the new disk, and you probably don't need the Case-Sensitive or Encrypted flavors unless you have special requirements or desires. Thus, "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)".

    However, if you need to be able to read your new disk from a Windows machine, you might use the less desireable FAT or exFAT. I think that's the only common reason to use them. FAT is widely supported, but individual files are limited to 4 GB and the volume size to 2 TB. exFAT raises those limits, but still doesn't support OS X extended attributes or ACLs, to my knowledge.

    ----------

    This is what I do:

    open Disk Utility
    select the new drive
    pick the "Partition" tab
    Partition Layout: 1 partition
    give it a name
    format: Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
    size: leave it alone
    options: verify that it defaults to "GUID Partition Table" (the newest format)
    click Apply

    If you do that, you should be fine. (WARNING: this erases ALL files on the disk you've selected in Disk Utility! But I hope you knew that... if it's a brand-new drive this is OK.)
     
  3. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 6, 2010
    #3
    Well, right now it seems I have a failing internal Hard Drive, so I bought the external one to quickly backup all my data.

    I would do lots of drag and dropping into this new external drive to save all my files/documents.

    Then, later on, I might create a partition for an entire Time Machine Backup.

    I do have some files that can be used in Windows 7 through a Parallels installation.

    My current internal drive is about 250GB. Can I first format all the drive (1TB) to say FAT32? and from there create a future partition for Time Machine? kind of unsure as to what file format to choose
     
  4. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Atlanta
    #4
    Not a great idea putting data and backups on the same drive. When the drive dies so does the data.
     
  5. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 6, 2010
    #5
    Correct. A basic file backup is all that's needed. Just need to buy some time. What file format should I use though?
     
  6. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #6
    The standard one for Intel based Macs: OS extended journaled
     
  7. doxavita, Sep 5, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014

    doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 6, 2010
    #7
    Will that format let me use my Windows 7 files in a future Parallels install?

    maybe copy the files to a future Windows system?

    EDIT:
    I think I can go with either FAT 32 or ExFAT, both should work in both Windows and Mac environments, right? thoughts?
     
  8. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #8
    I personally know zero about running Windows on a Mac. I leave this topic to others who know this area.
     
  9. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Virginia
    #9
    Windows under Parallels can read and write a mac formatted drive. It's a little slower since you're adding another software layer. All my backup drives are formatted OS extended journaled. I only use FAT for devices connecting to Windows machines.
     
  10. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    #10
    I assume the external hard drive I just bought can be formated to Mac OS extended journaled right?

    But ExFAT should work just as well under a Mac Environment (Read AND Write)
    right? and I would have the flexibility of being able to copy it's contents to Windows shall the need arise in the future? right? thoughts?
     
  11. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Location:
    USA
    #11
    You should be really clear about your needs. If Windows storage is mission critical to your hard drive, then I oppose the choice of exFAT. Use NTFS. Virtually every Windows computer still in use can read and write NTFS. Your Mac can read it. With a third party driver like Tuxera's free NTFS-3G driver or a commercial driver like Paragon NTFS, your Mac can read, write, and format NTFS.

    BTW, if this hard drive is a replacement for your internal hard drive, then neither exFAT nor NTFS is an option--at least not for your boot partition. Your boot partition should be formatted HFS+ Journaled [Mac OS Extended (Journaled)].
     
  12. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Virginia
    #12
    If you plan to use Time Machine it requires a mac formatted drive. I don't deal with Windows machines very much in my household so I don't worry about it. If my Mac Pro dies I have 3 other macs to read the drive on.
     

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