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

    Jul 17, 2008
    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

    Jul 9, 2008
    Central PA

    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!

    Attached Files:

  3. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    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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