External Hard Drive for MBP Retina

Robert27191

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 25, 2014
17
0
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
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,903
481
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
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.
 

Robert27191

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 25, 2014
17
0
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?
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,903
481
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?
I'd suggest borrowing an external from a friend for the switcharoo, but the same technique applies.
 

OldMacUser

macrumors member
Jan 10, 2011
56
1
Melbourne, Australia
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
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.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,163
1,166
NYC
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.
 

Robert27191

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 25, 2014
17
0
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.
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
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
64,182
30,760
Boston
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.
 

Robert27191

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 25, 2014
17
0
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.
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?
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,903
481
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?
Yes.
 

Robert27191

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 25, 2014
17
0
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?
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,903
481
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?
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.
 

mfram

macrumors 65816
Jan 23, 2010
1,056
138
San Diego, CA USA
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.
 

Robert27191

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 25, 2014
17
0
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.
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,903
481
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.
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.
 

OldMacUser

macrumors member
Jan 10, 2011
56
1
Melbourne, Australia
Why only if it's a new drive? Is there a problem with reformatting my current one to exFAT?
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.
 

thunng8

macrumors 6502a
Feb 8, 2006
821
206
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.
I use Paragon. It works well. No issues reading and writing to an ntfs drive. It is seamless. Well worth the small investment