External hard drive with Mac and PC

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ukitali, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. ukitali macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    #1
    So I'm getting a Macbook in a few days and I have a WD External Hard Drive that I would like to use with my work PC as well as my Macbook. Is that possible? Do I have to format it in any way?

    Another sort-of-related question...My old PC notebook has a dead screen but the computer still turns on. What are my options in terms of transferring files from there?
     
  2. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
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    #2
    You can format the external HD as FAT32. Both the Mac OS and Windows can read and write to that file system. There are some limitations, but for most it works fine.
     
  3. ukitali thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 20, 2008
  4. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #4
    I would format using your PC as FAT32.

    Both the Mac and PC will be able to read and write to the disk.
     
  5. Clayne macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    #5
    Once you've formatted it, and added data, is it possible to format it back to Mac-only?

    I'll be transferring data from my PC to Mac.

    Thanks,
    Clayne
     
  6. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #6
    The Windows Disk Management utility will only allow the creation of a FAT32 partition 32GB or smaller. So what you will want to do is create a partition with no file system. This will allow you to create a partition the entire size of the drive. Then use a third-party FAT32 formatter (I use a freeware command-line progam called FAT32Formatter) to format the entire partition as FAT32.


    Yes, use Disk Utility under OS X.
     
  7. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #7
    I am not sure I understand your question.

    Can you reformat a HD, to FAT32, then Mac OS Extended, then back to FAT32, etc. Yes. However, each time you format, you will loose the data stored on the HD.

    I believe these are the steps that you want to do:
    - Format external HD as FAT32.
    - Copy files from the PC to external HD.
    - Copy files from external HD to the Mac.
    - Format external HS as Mac OS Extended.
     
  8. Clayne macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    #8
    Yeah, I think that's what I'll end up doing. Only I don't know if I want all of that on my Mac - so my next step is moving some of it BACK to the hard drive.

    Also, isn't the first step unnecessary? I read that Mac's can read hard drives that are formatted for PC's, just not write on them.

    Confirmation?

    Thanks,
    Clayne
     

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