Do regular external harddrive work with iMac??

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by LittleGwen, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. LittleGwen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #1
    Hi,

    First of all, this is my first iMac so if my question seems ridiculous or stupid, please bear with me.

    I'm planning on purchasing an iMac and using it bootcamp to have access to both Windows and OSX system, Windows mostly because of gaming. I have an external harddrive that I use to store movies and music and such on my PC and I was wondering if I can use the same harddrive on my future iMac when it's running windows. I asked a sales associate at Apple and he said he's not 100% sure. When the iMac is running Windows, can I just play the external harddrive and open and play movies and open files normally as I would with a PC??
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    It all depends on the format of the drive.

    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. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Edit* What this man said! ^^^^^

    Im guessing that the existing partition of the HDD is NTFS?

    If so you will need to install NTFS for Mac on your new iMac. You can then read and write to NTFS partitions, or in your case play movies on both the Mac and Windows.
     
  4. LittleGwen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    Yes, my external harddrive is NTFS. Thank you both for your help and your detailed explanation. To be perfectly honest, I don't understand 100% what you said :p but what's important is that it's POSSIBLE... right? haha! but do I have to install NTFS for Mac even if I'm only going to open the external harddrive while using windows and not osx?
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    Mac OS X can natively read from NTFS drives, but can't write to them. If all you're doing is reading, you're fine. If you want to write, install Paragon. If you're accessing the drive from Windows, you don't need to do anything different.
     
  6. LittleGwen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    yay! exactly what I wanted to know. thanks a bunch!! guess I'm getting my iMac this weekend!!:D:D:D
     

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