External Hard Drive Formatting Issue

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by nmaxwell, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. nmaxwell macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
    #1
    Kinda stuck, any help would be appreciated. Here's my dilemma:

    Used to have a Windows laptop, have 2 external hard drives (NTFS) that were used on windows. Now I have a 2011 MacBook Pro, and my hard drives are obviously read only on it. Which makes them somewhat useless if I want to use them as a back up, or even to add/remove/rearrange files on them.

    What I was hoping to find out is:
    1) if there's any way to get write permission without losing the data
    2) what format should the drives be in (can't use FAT32 because I have dozens of video files larger than 4gb)

    I THINK I'm stuck here, because even if I had space to empty my drives and keep the information on them elsewhere (which would probably take a month to move the ~1 TB of info), I cannot put a lot of it back if the .mkv files are too large for the new format.

    Help!
     
  2. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #2
    Like you said, you can read NFTS form your Mac but not natively write to NTFS. To write to NTFS from a Mac you need to add a third party software package like Paragon.

    If you are going to be using the external drives only with your Mac, the best format is the native Mac HFS+ format. This is listed in Disk Utility as "Mac OS X Extended." HFS+ can handle the 4GB+ files no problem.

    If you want a format that works natively with both OS X and Windows, exFAT would work and it also does not have the 4GB limit of FAT32.
     
  3. orvn macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
  4. nmaxwell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
  5. nmaxwell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #6
    At the moment none of the free NTFS utilities work with Mountain Lion. I have read you can kludge together MacFuse (here) with the old NTFS-3G, but have not tried it myself.

    (If someone has more current info please correct me :))
     
  7. orvn macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #7
    Old NTFS-3G was free and is working well on my 10.8.1 install.

    The version I'm using is 2010.10.1
     
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #8
    Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)

    Choose the appropriate format:

    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

    NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
      [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
      • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon ($19.95) (Best Choice for Lion and Mountain Lion)
      • For Mac OS X 10.5 and later, including Lion, FUSE for OS X
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36), which is an enhanced version of NTFS-3G with faster performance.
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and later versions, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.

    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
    • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
      [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.
     

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