external hard drive format suggestions sought

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by killmeplease, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. killmeplease macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2011
    sorry for the noob question but...

    i just learned about fat32, jouraled etc. formats. it came as annoying news to me that fat32 has a 4gb file size limit. i already have more than 500gb of data on my 2tb external which unfortunately is formatted in fat32. i have lots of files larger than 4gb i want to move. ive used split and concat to move them and thought that then i could re-join them, but i still run into file size limits and when i rejoin them they are missing data.

    i would like to be able to play files directly from the external using vlc, but cant without rejoining them. and i cant rejoin them in the external b/c they are larger than 4gb:rolleyes:

    copying them back to my mac mini to join and watch is a pain in the neck of a work around. suggestions?

    i dont have anyplace to put my 500gb to reformat to mac journaled, and i would like to be able to use the drive with both mac and pc if possible.

    is there a video splitter that can handle hi-def .ts .mkv files that split the files into parts that can be loaded into vlc playlist and watched seamlessly?

    im a cheapskate, so i prefer opensource options.

    thanks in advance.
  2. treestar macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    I think you are pretty screwed. Find a friend that can help you store your media temporarily, reformat, and copy your data back. 2 TB is a huge amount of space to format under an old and featureless file system. You probably do not need to use your drive with PCs.

    I was a PC user, I also started using Macs. I tried to keep my external drives Mac and PC friendly. It was a waste of time. Anything I need to transfer I can do over ethernet and it is faster. Further, I was really taking my chances not using a Journaled file system with an external. What if I got disconnected?

    Then SL came along with exFAT support and I thought it was great, but while exFAT works with Windows 7 and 10.6, it hardly works at all for older OS's. Sharing files with anyone but myself was hopeless.

    I don't know the specifics of FAT32 in this case, but if it were Mac OS Extended then you could make a partition of empty space and reformat it. If you can do that with FAT then you can make a new partition in HFS+, copy your data there, then reformat the other partition and maybe be able to reunite them.

    If you do get to reformat your drive, keep a small partition in FAT to exchange files between PCs. You don't have to format all 2 TB in one file system. If you want you can leave the partition unformatted and then format it as NTFS on a PC when you get a chance. OS X can read NTFS natively.
  3. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    What I did on my Windows partition was install MacDrive so windows can see and write to my already Apple formatted drives. I also could format in windows 7 (with MacDive installed) and format an external Drive for Mac OS Extended.

    This setup works real well for me and it might work well for you.

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