External Hard Drive that can be used between MacBook and Windows PC?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by GuyOnTheCouch22, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. GuyOnTheCouch22 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Long Island
    #1
    I don't know much about external hard drives at all but i remember i got one 2 summers ago when i got my original MBP and i would have format it differently to use on my MBP and then format it again to use on my windows pc.

    I really don't use windows anymore but i have a lot of tv episodes on my old pc and some music that i want to get on an external hard drive to use on a pc or mac. Is this possible? Any help/advice or information would be helpful
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #2
    Pretty much any drive formatted to FAT32 will be read/write on both OSes. Sounds like you were using HFS+ (Mac) and NTFS (Windows) previously. Both are better than FAT32, but if you want interoperability FAT32 is the easiest...
     
  3. GuyOnTheCouch22 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Long Island
    #3
    excellent so i can format it fat 32 get all the files off my pc that i want, transfer them to my mac. then ill format it to the better version and put all the stuff from the mac back onto the external because i really just want to get it off the pc for future use on the mac i don't need to be transferring things back and forth.

    thanks for the help.
     
  4. bstreiff macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    #4
    Yeah, it has nothing to do with the drive itself, it's what filesystem the drive is formatted with. A drive that comes preformatted as, say, FAT32, could be reformatted to be HFS+ or NTFS, or vice versa.

    As far as interoperability goes: FAT32 is the simplest approach, although it's not without issues (one common one is inability to store a single file larger than 2GB in size). You'll run into a problem formatting a volume larger than 32GB in size as FAT32 in Windows-- this is a software limitation in Microsoft's tools likely in place to force users to migrate to NTFS. OS X should be able to create a larger-than-32GB FAT32 volume without any complaints.

    Alternatively, you can install a filesystem driver in either Windows (for HFS+ support) or OS X (for NTFS support). I use NTFS-3g on OS X, and it seems to work pretty well.

    Also, if you use Time Machine, note that it will only work with a HFS+-formatted volume; on my external drive, I have a HFS+ partition (for TM) and a NTFS partition (for Windows).
     

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