External Hard Drive Formatting Suggestions for Windows and OSX

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Tudeski, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. Tudeski macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #1
    I am seriously considering purchasing an iMac after the next update.(whenever that comes, be it a month or 5 months) My biggest concern is the fact that purchasing an imac will not allow enough storage for my current needs. I need to purchase an external HD. My problem is that I currently have to store around 300 gigs of info on my current external (pc) hard drive.

    PROBLEM: How do I format an external HD for both OSX and Windows? Can I partition one external HD for both operating systems, and will it let me read/write effectively? I have read that FAT is crippled for a windows option, as it caps the size of your files. Can I format the HD for NTFS, and OSX? AND Will I be able to read and write effectively to the NTFS part of the HD by using XP on the mac?
     
  2. i-cubed macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Central PA
    #2
    Hello,

    The only method I've found to make the drive readable with both OSs is to use the ERASE tool in DISK UTILITY. For 'Volume Format' you need to choose 'MS-DOS (FAT)' which will set the drive up as a FAT-32 drive. As far as I've researched, FAT-32 is the only format that supports both read and and write to OSX and Windows. I just bought a 500GB Western Digital drive to share across platforms. Once it was 'erased' it was showing it had 465GB of available storage.

    Good luck!
    -Dennis
     

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  3. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #3
    With free software, OSX can read/write NTFS. It only works at USB 1.1 speeds on my MBP though (which is painfully slow). I gave up on that idea and use OFS+ for the majority of the drive and 100 gigs of NTFS as a transfer disk. You can also by software for $30 or $40 that allows you to read OFS+ in windows. It may be called MacDrive, can't remember right now.
     

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