External Hard Drive

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by TWR Motorsport, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. TWR Motorsport macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2011
    Hi there,

    What 1tb (or bigger) external hard drive should i buy for my Mac? I want it to work with windows aswell. With full read and write capability on both systems.

    At present i have a WD one which only allows me to read and write in windows and read only in OSX. To solve this i installed Tuxera NTFS which was trial period and has now ended. I do not want to pay the cost of the full version and i need a bigger HDD anyway

    I have heard that you can format it into FAT32 but then the single file size cannot be bigger than 2gb??? This WILL be a problem so is of no use to me whatsoever.

    So then, what do i buy?

  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Can this help?


    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.

    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 can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility, found in the /Applications/Utilities folder. Here are your formatting options:

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
      [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.
    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, here are some alternatives:
      • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion)
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, 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
    • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)
    • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
    • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! 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
    • You can use this format if you only use the drive with Mac OS X, or use it for backups of your Mac OS X internal drive, or if you only share it with one Windows PC (with MacDrive installed on the PC)
    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
    • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

    Btw, you can format any HDD via Disk Utility to your liking.


    Links to guides on how to use Disk Utility, the application Mac OS X provides for managing internal and external HDD/SSDs and its formats.
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    It does not really matter. But whichever brand/configuration you like and partition/format to suit your needs.

    The big decision is do you want a portable drive with no power supply, or a larger, powered desktop drive.

    For backups I usually just buy whatever USB portable drive I find on sale.
  4. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    For powered 3.5"-based desktop drives, I'm a huge fan of the Western Digital My Book Studio series since the silver color blends well with Macs and they have FireWire 800.
  5. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    For 3.5" external powered take a look at the WD My Book Studio Edition II.
    Two drives in one unit set up in RAID - either striped or mirrored.

    For 2.5" self powered take a look at the WD My Passport Studio drives.
    The newer drives are a full metal enclosure.

    Both the above are designed for use with the MAC, but can also be reformatted and used by Windows.
    Both drives can be used via USB2, but also via FireWire800, which is much faster.
    The My Book drive also comes with eSATA connectivity, should you ever need it.

    My YouTube videos show both units, if interested in a short review.
  6. Badrottie, Jan 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012

    Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Not sure if you are looking for powered or not hard drive. I am happy with Seagate GoFlex portable hd. They have many different kind of upgrade cables like USB/Firewire 800/any future new upgrades.

    Seagate Upgrade cables
  7. radiogoober macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2011
    Just a note on the Seagate external drives:

    Sure, they are nice external hard drives. But do not, under any circumstances, install the software that come with the HD, and do not download and install their software for the HD. The software is a brutally written turd that can literally ruin your computer.

    I had been using the HD for months with no problems. Then I saw a link and downloaded their software because it would make the harddrive lights act as a "gauge". It brought my computer to screeching halt. Finder would crash. The HD would freeze when trying to copy to it. Reboots took almost 5 minutes. I had to google search how to get rid of the software. A clever search in finder allowed me to eliminate it from my system, because the horrible software doesn't even have an uninstall. Luckily a user on the seagate forums identified the problem and posted how to undelete the software. This is over 6 months ago and Seagate hasn't fixed the crappy software (that literally renders your computer useless) and still has it for download.

    P.S. Really weird: after I deleted their crappy software and rebooted, my bluetooth preferences pain disappeared. I had to shut down, clear the PRAM and then everything was back to normal.



    Google search: remove seagate freeagent software mac
  8. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    I am glad I didn't use Seagate software when I bought it. :) but thanks for the warning though.
  9. WRP macrumors 6502a

    Jul 20, 2011
    NewerTech Guardian MAXimus
    OWC Mercury Elite Pro

    in that order.
  10. jay69 macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2012
    Problems with my hard drives

    Having problems with external hard drives.

    Imac was moved and hard drives were not ejected properly. Now I consistantly get the Message "The disk not ejected properly" on my screen. Have tried re formatting hard drives but still get this message. These drives are used for my time machine backups. What do I have to do to get rid of message.

    Have tried re booting but to no avail.

    Any help appreciated.

    Imac 2 GHz intel core duo version 10.7.2

    Attached Files:

  11. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
  12. jay69 macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2012
    Problems with my hard drives

    Yes, Have tried Hardware reset, and everything in disk utility but to no avail. Have unpaged, ejecting correctly , erasing drive but still receive the same message. Time machine is backing up to the drives but the message will sometime crash the program I am in when it appears.

    Any help appreciated

    Attached Files:

  13. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    Get a NAS and connect via a GB LAN, much easier.
  14. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    With "hardware reset" do you mean an SMC Reset?
  15. jay69 macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2012
    Problems with my hard drives


    "Resetting the SMC for intel based iMac"

    1. Shut down the computer.
    2. Unplug the computer's power cord.
    3. Wait fifteen seconds.
    4. Attach the computer's power cord.
    5. Wait five seconds, then press the power button to turn on the computer.

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