External hard drive compatibility


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 7, 2005
I ordered an iMac G5 last Saturday, and according to package tracking, it is scheduled for delivery tomorrow. I am switching from a PC laptop with a 300 GB external hard drive. Currently it is an NTFS formatted drive.

I am wondering about the best solution for getting the external HD to work with the Mac. At this point, I think I am going to back up all my data and try to convert it to FAT32 with Partition Magic so I can use it with the Mac and the PC if needed. In this situation, FAT32 is not the most efficient when it comes to speed, from what I have read. Is the speed really that noticable?

I have considered converting to HFS or HFS+, but it is apparently not compatible with a Windows platform. And of course, if I keep the drive in NTFS, the Mac will not be able to write to it.

I realize that I could potentially write to an NTFS drive from the Mac by setting up a network server, but that is not a course of action I want to take.

Given my situation what would you guys suggest is the best solution?


macrumors 65816
Jul 28, 2004
Portland, Oregon
FAT32 is the (free) way to go. I don't think that any speed differences will be that prevalent. Don't know if you can get a 300Gb single FAT32 partition though, maybe have to split up into smaller partition sizes?


macrumors 6502a
Mar 22, 2004
United States
Go with FAT32. As you said, it's compatible with both platforms. Not sure about speed differences between the formats, but I would assume it's difficult to notice.

Good luck and congratulations on the new Mac,