External Hard Drive Help?!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jdmtsx06, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. jdmtsx06 macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2010
    Today, I found my old iPod and decided to move movies from the iPod onto my desktop. I wanted to move the movies from my desktop to the external hard drive which is SeaGate FreeAgent 750GB hard drive. I try to copy and paste and drag and drop the movies from the desktop to the external hard drive and still does not paste. Help?
  2. JediMeister macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    The drive is most likely NTFS formatted which means your Mac can read but not write to it. Either format it to use Mac OS Extended or FAT formatting (with Disk Utility) before you try to copy data to it again.
  3. elreymago macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2010
    Hey JediMeister, sorry if this is obvious but I was wondering: I'm about to buy a Macbook Pro, and have a couple of WD external hard drives I was planning to use to transfer my files from my old pc... they all seem to be NTFS formatted...

    So from your post above I guess I can use them to transfer stuff to my macbook but after that I won't be able to use them to back up my mac - will Disk Utility work to convert these as you're describing above so they're then fully mac compatible?
  4. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Disk Utility can format the external HDD to HFS+ (Mac OS Extended) but not convert from NTFS to HFS+.

    You can either use NTFS-3G, to give Mac OS X write capability with NTFS formatted volumes or backup the data on the NTFS formatted volumes, format it with HFS+ and copy the data back.

    Windows is not able to read or write to HFS+ formatted volumes, unless you use Mac Drive.
  5. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    With NTFS, Mac OS X can read them but not write to them. So you would be able to transfer the files from the external hard drives to the MacBook Pro but not vice-versa. However, there is a workaround for this that you can find here which allows for Mac OS X to write to NTFS hard drives.
  6. appreci8itall macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2010
    Using pc external hardrive on my mac

    Can I get the music off my seagate external hardive (put on from a PC) and load it into my Mac?
  7. macnewguy macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2010
    chime in with similar question

    I, too, am (hopefully) getting an iMac soon and have read many conflicting posts all over the net regarding whether or not I can even TRANSFER FROM my WD passport essential (NTFS) to my Mac just to get my files over to the new machine!!

    I've read everything from "must be FAT32" and "OSX won't detect the HD" to the simplest transfer advice, ironically, from Apple's own website which doesn't have ANY caveat in doing a transfer with any external drive - just plug it in and transfer!

    I'm slightly frustrated and would love a explanation. I have no intent to do anything other than transfer/import my music and my documents.

    If the Mac can READ my WD to allow me to simply transfer data from PC-to-MAC simply by dragging and dropping - that's all I need to hear!

    Please, clarify! THANKS! :) (exasperated) :eek:
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Mac Guide on External Hard Drives

    Any external hard drive will work with PCs or Macs, as long as the connectors are there (Firewire, USB, etc.) It doesn't matter how the drive is formatted out of the box, since you can re-format any way you like. Formatting in HFS (Mac OS Extended) or FAT32 or NTFS-3G can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility.

    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
    • No individual file larger than 4GB.
    • Read/Write HFS from native Mac OS X
    • To Read/Write HFS from Windows, Install MacDrive
    • To Read HFS (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
  9. macnewguy macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2010
    Thanks GGJstudios for breaking it down for me. I find that searching posts and forums can be helpfuly and mis-leading since I don't have any Mac experience to be able to discern which information is relevant or not.

    So I'm going to take away that I can simply plug in the drive and treat it as any other usb storage device (just like a flash card) and transfer my data manually.

    If I want to use the Passport as a constant external drive for Mac OSX then I HAVE to reformat for future read/write ability, but presently, for transfering purposes NTFS will suffice.

    Feeling much better now about the transition - thanks!
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    NTFS will be fine if all you intend to do with the Mac is read from it, and not write to it.

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