external hard drive questions

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by 2012new2mac, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. 2012new2mac macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2012
    Hello! New Mac user here and honestly, I don't have the greatest knowledge when it comes to computers in general. I have had a pc in the past and have quite a bit on my external HD's (Both are Western Digital). I am a photographer and the main thing I have on my external HD's that I need to access is my photographs and also HD family videos. My videos are M2TS files that I have already installed a VLC player to view them.

    I now want to be able to write to these HD's and also read from them as I keep my photographs/videos on the external HD's and not on the Mac HD. I understand that I need to format my external HD's to Mac OS extended or Mac OS extended journaled. Which would be best for my use? I'm afraid that I won't be able to view my videos any more if I choose the wrong format. Also, with everything on there now is from a PC (which I now can read from my Mac) Once I change the format will I still be able to read everything? I have already backed up one the external HD's to my Mac HD so that I'm ready to erase and format.

    This is for video (M2TS) and Raw/jpg files. Is there anything else I need to know? I'm just concerned I will not be able to access my current files once I format. Thanks for your time.:)
  2. dadudeness macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2007
    I don't really get your problem.

    First, Mac OS extended journaled will be the right format for your external drive.

    Changing the file system results in an entire wipe so make sure you copy the data before - which you seem to have.

    Your data doesn't care about the file system it's saved on. Your machine needs to be capable of reading the format. Since you can open, view and work with the images/video you already copied from the external drive to the Macintosh HD you will be able to do the same after you changed the format of the external one.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I would leave the external HD's you already have alone for the moment.

    And... I would supplement them with at least one new HD that is Mac-formatted.

    You can move your most valuable pics and vids to the Mac-formatted drive, and still retain copies on the older WD drives, as well.

    For important files, you always want AT LEAST TWO COPIES, on different drives, since all drives will someday fail.

    You don't have to spend lots of money. In fact, for about $20-25, I'd suggest one of these gadgets:
    (many items shown, they all work the same, just pick one you like that's cheap)

    You may even be able to scrounge up a used SATA drive somewhere. If not, a replacement "bare" drive doesn't cost much these days.

    The "dock" will come in handy for all sorts of things. You can even boot from them.
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Mac OS Extended (Journaled) is fine.
    You need to backup the content to another drive, then reformat the drive, then copy the content back after it's reformatted. Yes, you'll be able to read/write any content on the drive.
  5. 2012new2mac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2012
    Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I guess it wasn't really a problem but just wanted to confirm before I reformatted anything. Sometimes the biggest mistakes come from something so simple. I do have the same information saved on both external HD's. I think I will format one and keep the other one as is and then get 1 additional (I will check out those Docks). Thanks again for the advice, I'm sure I will be asking more questions as I set up my workflow. I will also search the forums for advice.

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