External Hard Drive for MBP Retina

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Robert27191, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Robert27191 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    #1
    First post, apologies if it's in the wrong section.

    Been a Windows user all my life and am close to making the jump.

    Slightly anxious, with obvious reasons - moving to an entirely new operating system will require more than just a few tweaks - it will mean losing 20+ years of muscle memory and familiarity.

    However, one of my main concerns is my external hard drive. I have a Seagate Free Agent DESK External Hard Drive (1TB) which contains all of my work and music projects. From what I understand, as it exists at the moment in NTFS, a MBP could read it, but not write to it.

    I know that I could format it, but that would then render it useless to a windows PC - something I have no wish to do.

    I am aware that there are now external hard drives that are compatible with both PC's and Macs at the same time - without requiring any reformatting of the drive. Are these now standard - and if so when did they come about? Mine is only 4 years old and does not have such a feature.

    Is it easier to just buy a new xternal drive which is compatible with both?

    Many thanks,

    Robert
     
  2. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #2
    If it fits your internal hard drive, copy the stuff over from your external to the Mac. Open up disk utility and format your external to either fat32 (this limits the single file size to 4gb) or to Exfat. Both formats can be read and written to by windows and OS X.

    Copy the stuff back over. You're done.

    Ever since the switch to Intel back in 2006 (perhaps even earlier), OS X has been able to read and write to windows file system and vice versa, AFAIK. This is not new, and a new external is not needed, it's all about proper formatting. A hard drive's a hard drive, period.
     
  3. Robert27191 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    #3
    I did think of that, but the HD is close to full (800+GB) and my (intended) MBP has a hard drive of 512GB.

    Thanks for the very quick reply, but what do you sugget?
     
  4. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #4
    I'd suggest borrowing an external from a friend for the switcharoo, but the same technique applies.
     
  5. Robert27191 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
  6. OldMacUser macrumors member

    OldMacUser

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #6
    Paragon NTFS for Mac and Tuxera NTFS allows you to write to NTFS-formatted volumes.

    Another method (if you are getting an entirely new external hard drive) is to format it as ExFAT - OS X can read/write to ExFAT volumes as can Windows 7/8. Earlier versions of Windows may require a driver download for ExFAT.
     
  7. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #7
    Get something like Paragon NTFS. It's not free, but it's very good. Performance is excellent. It lets you read and write to NTFS drives in Mac OS X.

    In Windows environments, I use MacDrive to read and write to HFS+ disks. Their Pro version lets you connect to Mac Disk Utility created RAID volumes as well.
     
  8. Robert27191 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    #8
    Why only if it's a new drive? Is there a problem with reformatting my current one to exFAT?

    Also, are there any downsides to formatting it to exFAT? I know that FAT only allows files up to 4GB for me, which is no good.

    R
     
  9. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #9
    exFAT is fine for most uses when there is cross platform needs. I'd go with that over any solution of loading a drivers like paragon's ntfs product.
     
  10. Robert27191 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    #10
    That's exactly the answer I was hoping for - thanks. So if I've understood it correctly, I should copy everything on the HD onto another drive, format the original drive to exFAT, and then put everything back on - and it should then read and write to both Mac and PC?
     
  11. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #11
    Yes.
     
  12. Robert27191 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    #12
    Thanks.

    In which case I must ask, why would anyone buy a new one and not just reformat their existing ones?

    Also, does it matter if I format it on my PC, before I actually a mac, or does it need to be done on the Mac itself? Does it make a difference?
     
  13. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #13
    You could do it from your PC with no ill effects.

    As far as why anyone would buy another one? I guess the shiny "For Mac" sticker. Same goes for internal hard drives or RAM, there is no such thing as "For Mac" ever since the switch to intel processors. It's nothing but a marketing gimmick used by companies to make non-tech-savy people dish out more money for a product that's the exact same as the one right next to it that does not have the "For Mac" sticker.

    A Mac is a PC in a pretty case that runs OS X. If it can run on a PC, it's nearly 100% sure you can make it work on a Mac.
     
  14. mfram macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    San Diego, CA USA
    #14
    The only difference between the "For Mac" drive and the "For PC" drive is how it is formatted. Formatting a drive takes a couple seconds, so this isn't a big deal.
     
  15. Robert27191 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    #15
    Thanks for all the replies.

    My main concern is I have heard people have issues with exFAT (which is what I would format it to if I go ahead with it). It isn't journaled which increases data loss and users have encountered some general compatibility issues.

    Those are the things holding back from doing it right now.
     
  16. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #16
    I've had a hard drive and thumb drive formatted to exfat for the last 2 or 3 years and have not run into any issues. This is all anecdotal and not very significant statistically, but there you go.
     
  17. OldMacUser macrumors member

    OldMacUser

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #17
    No problem at all but I read in another reply that you have lots of data on the current drive (>800GB) and didn't mention another spare drive to transfer the data to before you reformat the drive.

    Thus my reference to a new external hard drive should you be needing more than your current.

    If your *current* concern is how to read/write to your *existing* NTFS-formatted external, then the Paragon or Tuxera software should suffice.
     
  18. thunng8 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    #18
    I use Paragon. It works well. No issues reading and writing to an ntfs drive. It is seamless. Well worth the small investment
     

Share This Page