external drive partition question

Discussion in 'iMac' started by kleef, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. kleef macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    #1
    Hi all, I tried searching but didn't see this subject. I have a PC and just bought an Imac which I love! I have a SimpleTech SimpleDrive external hard drive that I'm using to transfer files from the PC to the iMac. But on the Imac, the drive only allows read, not write. I guess because it's been formatted for MS-DOS. My question is: I think in Disk Utility I can partition the drive, but can't seem to figure out what will happen to the files I already have on there that are from the PC. I want to be able to put files on the drive from the Imac and also from the PC. How do I configure the external hard drive on the Imac using Disk Utility? HELP!! :confused:
     
  2. nigrunze macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #2
    There's a pretty good chance that the external drive was formatted in NTFS. You'll have normal functionality under Windows, but not with OSX. You'll be able to read the drive, but not write to it. Time to fix that.

    You'll want to back up your files from the external drive back to your PC since you're going to be formatting the drive.

    Don't try to format it in Windows. You can only format FAT32 partitions up to 32GB in Windows. Use Disk Utility.

    Go to disk utility. Select the drive, and click the erase tab. Choose MS-DOS(FAT) and name the drive whatever you want. Last step, click erase.

    You should now be able to easily transfer your files between your computers.
     
  3. kleef thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    #3
    Will try that, thanks. I thought I would need to partition the hard drive, but I guess not? After I've transferred everything from my PC to the iMac, I want to delete that stuff from the external drive, and be able to use that drive either on a PC or a iMac in the future, for read/write on either platform. Will MSDOS(FAT) allow that or would I still need to partition and make one volume that, and the other MAC OSX (or whatever it's called in Disk Utility?) Thanks!
     
  4. nigrunze macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #4
    When you format using Disk Utility, the MS-DOS(FAT) option will format the drive in FAT32. That's the best option for Mac OS X and Windows compatability.

    There actually is another option which is having your drive formatted as NTFS and using NTFS-3G for compatibility. I think the performance is slower than normal though when using NTFS-3G. Using FAT32 is simpler because it has native read/write compatibility with OSX.

    To answer the question about partitioning. Technically, when you fully format a drive, it gets formatted with 1 large partition.
     
  5. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #5
    Using Window's Disk Manager, this is true. However, you can create a partition as large as you want (within the 32-bit address limit, but no single HDD exceeds that in capacity) if you do not choose a file system.

    You can then use a program called Fat32Format which will allow you to format the entire partition in FAT32. You need to run it from the Windows command line.

    I use this program to format a couple of 80-120GB 2.5" HDDs in FAT32 so I can use them between my Macs and PCs.
     

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