ExFAT: The best solution for external drives?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MacNoobGuy, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. MacNoobGuy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    #1
    Hey guys, I've got a mix of Windows 8, Windows 7 and OSX Mavericks 10.9 here. All of my external drives are in 'NTFS' so Mavericks is unable to write to it.

    Converting the external drives to ExFAT will take me some time so I just wanted to know if this is the best solution for me and if I'll still be able to write to the ExFAT drives in the future: Will ExFAT always be supported by Apple and Microsoft?

    What are my alternative options?

    Thank you!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    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 (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion and later)
      • 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. MacNoobGuy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    #3
    Hi, thanks for your reply, but I've already looked into that.

    Does anyone here use a third party NTFS app for OSX? Are there any risks with this?
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #4
    A lot of forum members here use Paragon NTFS. The only downside is sometimes new OS releases will break utilities like this.
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    I've used Paragon for years with zero problems. Updates to OS X could cause incompatibility with such apps until they are updated, but that's not a certainty.
     
  6. MacNoobGuy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    #6
    Alright, thanks. Can anyone tell me if there are any risks in me using Paragon NTFS? I've never used anything like this before.
     
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #7
    No, there are no risks.
     
  8. -Eden macrumors member

    -Eden

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    #8
    To answer your original question, I found exFAT to be the best format for external drives. Works in OSX, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Lets you copy files that are above 4GB in size for all operating systems.
    But I found that Disk Utility in Mountain Lion did not format drives to be exFAT, even if you select it. What I did was I connected the external HD to a Windows machine, and formatted to exFAT using that.

    Best of luck
     
  9. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #9
    The only issue I have seen is sometimes when a new OS X versions comes up it can cause troubles for Paragon NTFS and apps like it. Sometimes a patch from Paragon is needed to resolve this.
     
  10. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    #10
    ExFAT is the best option. You can read and write to it across Mac / Windows. There is software to make the format of one system work on the other, but that is not a great option if you are ever going to connect to other computers. Will your friends or organisations allow you to install the software? Will you have the software with you anyway?

    My Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner drives are HFS+. But other than that, I use ExFAT or FAT32 (for drives that might be connected to a Playstation 3).
     
  11. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #11
    Like others, I always use exFAT and have never had a problem with it. It's perfect for cross-platform.
     
  12. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    #12
    I like Fat32, but it doesn't handle huge files.
     

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