External Hard Drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by iphone joe, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. iphone joe macrumors regular

    iphone joe

    Feb 10, 2011
    Buying my first MBP soon so I want to be prepared. What kind of external hard drive should I use? Are there MBP specific ones? or could I use the one I currently have for my PC? Thanks.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    You can use any external HDD available with a USB 2.0 or Firewire 800 port, or even ones with a Thunderbolt port, though they are still rare and expensive.
    As it just comes down to the file system you use on that external HDD, there is no need for a Mac HDD, as they just come pre-formatted with the correct file system and are more expensive, but you can just use Disk Utility to format any HDD to the correct file system.

    Overview of the four major file systems (called "Formats" in Mac OS X) used on Windows and Mac OS X, compiled by GGJstudios. You can use Disk Utility to format any HDD to your liking.
    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
    • Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
      [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X: Install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free)
    • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx 33USD).
    • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended)
    • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
    • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner backups of Mac internal hard drive.
    • To Read/Write HFS+ from Windows, Install MacDrive
    • To Read HFS+ (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
    • Maximum file size: 8EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 8EiB
    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB

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  3. jackrv macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2011
    Sim above pretty much nailed everything. I have 2 primary external drives. One (fw800) I keep attached to my Mac for time machine and other external storage. I use hfs+ for that. The other is a shuttle between work and home. I use exfat for win compatibility and have had no issues.

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