External Drive Formatting

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Bigbord, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. Bigbord macrumors newbie


    Oct 8, 2010
    Hi, I have a USB external hard drive in which I formatted with the Utility on my iMac to MS-DOS (FAT)

    Am I correct in the understanding that this external drive can now be used by both my iMac and my Windows Vista PC? I want to be able to share the files (whether it be documents, photos or video) on the external hard drive with both my iMac and PC.

    Additionally, is this type of formatting as stable as any other format? I am just concerned about losing any data long term. I will be backing up my files on two separate external drives using the same formatting. The duplication is in case one of the external hard drives crash.

    I am a little paranoid about Hard Drives crashing since my iMac HD crashed after only 7 months. Glad I purchased that extended warranty!
  2. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
    I can't speak to the stability of the file system format, but FAT32 is the correct file system for the most compatibility between Macs and PCs. NTFS is readable by a Mac, but only writable by a Mac with additional 3rd party software. HFS+ is the best for Macs, but is not readable or writable by a PC without additional 3rd party software. HTH.
  3. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    FAT32 is the best bet, but you are limited to a maximum size of 4GB per file.

  4. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England

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