Drive formats that the Mac Mini can read???

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by scottw324, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. scottw324 macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    I wanted to check on something now before it gets too late and I find out when the Mac Mini arrives. I just bought a 2.6 Ghz mini with 16GB of RAM and Fusion Drive. I am currently using a Lenovo laptop (Windows 7 Home) with a Intel Pentium Processor T3400 (1M Cache, 2.16 GHz, 667 MHz FSB) Socket P with 3 GB of RAM (Windows is a 32-bit version).

    Anyway, I am currently using a 3TB Seagate external that is formatted as NTFS. Will my new Mini be able to read the data that is on there? Sorry for the noobish question. This mini is my first Mac computer (have always used Windows in the past) so there is going to be a lot of learning for me going on. All my other devices are idevices (ipads, iphones, ATV3).

    Thank you very much for your time and help. I really appreciate your input.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Yes, Mac OS X can read NTFS-formatted drives natively. They can't write to them natively, however. You need an app for that, such as Paragon. (see under NTFS below)

    Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)

    Choose the appropriate format:

    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 ($19.95) (Best Choice for Lion and Mountain Lion)
      • For Mac OS X 10.5 and later, including Lion, FUSE for OS X
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36), which is an enhanced version of NTFS-3G with faster performance.
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and later versions, 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. scottw324, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013

    scottw324 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    Ok that is going to take a little reading to get through that. Glad I asked now. I have this model

    It says it is compatible with Mac but requires a reformat to HFS+, which I assumes that the data on the drive is erased during that process. So I would need to backup the movies and TV shows on there along with anything else, reformat the drive, connect it to my Mac then connect the backup as well and proceed to copy/transfer the files to the HFS+ drive. Then reformat the backup drive.

    I guess I shouldn't have thought it would be super easy to transfer everything. I have 1.67 TB of movies and video on the drive.

    Plus once I format the drive the windows laptops I have won't be able to read it right?

    EDIT: Disregard, I see what you mean I think with the Paragon or Tuxera software, just use that and I should be able to keep the drive as is and still be able to read/write to it. This sounds like a much better idea since when I travel I will be bringing either my laptop or netbook both of which run Windows 7. Found both and will wait until the mini arrives to download and install the trail software and see which one works better.
  4. Billit macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2013
    Somehow, someway, I am able to read/write to a shared NTFS drive on a Windows 7, 64 bit computer from my new mini without installing any software or by "enabling NTFS support" within OS X (unless it's on by default). According to what GGJstudios posted, it should be read only.

    Can anyone explain why this is?
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If the drive is shared across a network, you don't need to worry about the format, since the computer sharing the drive can read/write to the shared drive. The format restrictions apply only if the drive is directly connected.
  6. Billit macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2013
    Thanks for the reply. The read/writes are across the network.
  7. scottw324 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    Good info. Thanks for sharing. I went ahead and started using the Tuxera free trial for the last few days and it seems to work just fine. So far I haven't noticed any issues with being able to access and write to my NTFS 3TB ext HDD.

    Is there any reason to try Paragon at this point? I mean is there a write speed difference between the two?

    My 3TB is USB 3.0 hooked up to the 3.0 ports in the back of the mini.
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If Tuxera is working for you, there's no need to switch. Some have reported problems with it, so I recommend Paragon as first choice. There is little or no performance difference between them.
  9. scottw324 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    Any ideas on what type of problems people saw with tuxera.
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If you search the forum, you'll find threads on it.
  11. scottw324 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
  12. MrOpTiC macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2013
    I bought a Mac mini and it has no(internal,external) hdd what so ever !! But I have a asus note book and it has windows 7 on it ! I took the hdd out and then put to the mac mini it started good then it took to the recovery screen and so I started the recovery and It didn't have no problems detected! It restarted and it still did the same !!! Why is it not reading it ? And where can I get an hdd that (is ready to use )has windows7 or Mac OS X mountain lion
  13. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    You have no OS (OS X). The drive you are using is a Windows formatted (NTFS) and WINDOWS OS (Win7).

    If you think you can plug in a windows 7 NTFS formatted OS drive and boot into it in a Mac then either you are joking or being silly with the post or you seriously need to do a little research on Macs.


    You need to load OS X (Mountain Lion for example). Hold command+option+r all at the same time at boot and boot into internet recovery. If you use an Apple BT keyboard then hold the sequence the second you hear the chime. I you use a USB keyboard then hold the sequence a second after start. You should get a spinning globe. Then load a new OS (it will download). You will need to format the HDD first to 'Mac OS Extended Journaled' in the Disk Utility in Internet recovery as well. You will lose all data on the drive when you format it to journaled.

    Alternately, if you have an older Mac mini then you need to load OS X via a USB or DVD that has the OS X software on it. Loading is similar to internet recovery except you hold option at boot and choose the install drive and proceed from there.
  14. Celerondon, Oct 20, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013

    Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    There may be two reasons to switch that working Tuxera driver for the Paragon version. If I am not mistaken, the NTFS Driver for Mac OS[/URL] is part of the Seagate software package for your drive. I think is also free through Seagate! Are your original files still intact on the GoFlex drive? Check to see if you have something called NTFS_for_Mac_with_restart.dmg among the Seagate software suite. If not you can follow this link to the Seagate download page to find the driver.

    I just read the data sheet for your drive and that NTFS Driver is the original supplied driver from Seagate! They mention it several times in the two page PDF.
  15. MrOpTiC, Oct 20, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013

    MrOpTiC macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2013
    So I have this 2012 Mac mini with no hard drive what so ever in it !!! Where can I get a hard drive that has windows 7or8 or mountain lion installed in the hdd ???
  16. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    I answered the question above.

    You cannot just buy a hard drive with OS X preinstalled/preconfigured on it. You need to install OS X on the hard drive.

    If you want to purchase a hard drive with OS X installed on the hard drive then go to and buy a 2012 Mac mini. Take out the hard drive out of it and put it in your Mac mini.

    I have no idea what you are talking about with wanting a hard drive with Windows 7 or 8 on it to put in a Mac. Once again, if you want to run Windows in boot camp or on a VM on the Mac mini then you need to install Windows on the boot camp partition or on the VM partition.
  17. Sean869 macrumors member


    Nov 7, 2012
    Dorset, United Kingdom
    This is very true. I have a 2tb Western Digital My Book Live NAS drive. I just plugged it in and my Mac and a Windows laptop were able to both read and write to it.
    Just make sure you connect with cat5e cable or better then you will get gigabit speeds. Wireless access can be a bit rubbish.
  18. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    For big files like movies: format it using Exfat. Exfat is not recommended for OS installs and tons of tiny files though on regular hard drives (it is focussed towards solid state).
  19. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Well to me the Exfat was made for small drives and thumb drives. If you use it on a larger hard drive IMHO your asking for future problems.

Share This Page