External Hard Drives: Is the Best Buy Guy full of B.S.?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kelly528, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. kelly528 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2010
    I finally got sick of my 4 year old crapper PC laptop (read: punched it, breaking the backlight) and to bring it back up to scratch at this point would cost as much as a new laptop. So I started looking at a Macbooks for a computer to take back to university in the fall.

    I think I have isolated the best deal at Best Buy although I also want an external Hard Drive to back all my stuff up on. Best Buy seemed to have some pretty crappy deals on external HDs, considering all I will need is a MAX of 500GB. When I asked the salesguy he steered me away from "regular" external HDs, telling me that only external HDs made just for Mac would work on my macbook.

    Is this a load of BS? I loathe and distrust anyone employed in the overlapping fields of computers and customer service. Problem is, I am too clueless about computers to think for myself! I have been reading over some forums and it seems that it is possible to use a "regular" external HD on a mac... is this true?

    The other question I had is whether it would be possible to transfer all of my music, documents and movies from my old Toshiba to the Macbook using the external HD? Or would this not be possible if my external HD is only formatted for one system?

    Thanks in advance for the patience and advice,
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    BS. You can format any drive with Disk Utility. If you format the drive as NTFS, your Toshiba can write it and your MacBook can read it.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    The Best Buy guy is full of BS! There's no such thing as a "Mac external (or internal) drive" or a "Windows drive". They're just hard drives, and are OS independent. They can be formatted for whatever OS you choose.

    Mac Guide on External Hard Drives

    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 in HFS (Mac OS Extended) or FAT32 or NTFS-3G can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility.

    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
    • No individual file larger than 4GB.
    • Read/Write HFS from native Mac OS X
    • To Read/Write HFS from Windows, Install MacDrive
    • To Read HFS (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
  4. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Never met a BB guy or girl who wasn't full of BS.
  5. kelly528 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2010
    Whew! Great because the drive he was trying to sell me was more space than I needed and more money that I had!!!

    But to confirm, what I need to do is to format the drive as NBTFS (I'll look that up later haha) and then can I write it with my Toshiba, read it with the Mac AND write on it with the Mac? Or once I write it with Toshiba will it be read only with Mac?

    One other dumb question: Why do they sell external HDs like 'Mybook Mac', etc. with the name Mac tacked on? Is it just a big advertising ploy to nail newbie Mac owners or am I missing something?
  6. Gator24765 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 13, 2009
    I have 4 western digital external portable hard drives. Love em, easy to reformat in disk utility.

    I buy then new on craigslist. There always seems to be this guy in my city selling brand new hard drives for very cheap. He is kinda sketchy but they have worked perfect for me.
  7. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    Follow GGJstudios' guide above and you can't go wrong. Many of the "For Mac" drives have an additional FireWire800 interface which is faster than USB and available on most Macs (except the MacBook). They are usually pre-formatted HFS+ for the Mac, thus saving you a few seconds from doing it in Disk Utility.
  8. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
    yep format the external as NTFS (may already be) and copy everything you want from your Toshiba laptop onto it. then plug into your Mac and you will be able to 'see' the files, i.e. read, so just drag and copy them off onto your Mac.

    however you wont be able to write to an NTFS drive from your Mac so when you have finished copying over your files choose a format that suits you.

    the Mac branded external drives are just pre-formated as HFS to avoid format confusion for novices. they also may have Firewire 800 ports as most PCs dont really have one and no eSATA port as no Macs come with one.
  9. kelly528 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2010
    Well that pretty much sums it up... I'll get to the formatting when I get to it but at least I can sleep easy for now knowing I don't have to turn my pockets out for an external HD!

    Thanks for all the help... school is expensive enough as it is without getting gouged by the BB guys.

    On that topic and while I have you guys here, I was wondering about some other advice he gave me:

    a) He said that Norton for Mac was the only antivirus I could use for Mac. Is this true and is Norton worth it? I thought that viruses were built to take down popular antivirus systems like Norton and MacAffee?

    b) I am letting them set the computer up for me and install Office for Mac. And they are making backup discs. Bear in mind I am a useless newbie. Still worth it or no?
  10. brucem91 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2009
    Nope, they are just trying to make more money off of a customer. Every mac come's with two discs, one that reinstalls the OS, and the other that reinstall's iLife(iWeb, Garageband, iMovie, iDVD). Setting up a mac is very easy, you just follow a few basic steps, watch a short hello video, and you will be on your way.

    And you can buy Office for Mac yourself, don't have Best Buy do it for you, as it is a very easy process.

    And as far as Norton is concerned, don't get it. The main purpose for Mac based anti-virus software is so that you don't "accidentally" transmit virus's to windows users. At the current time, you have no need to fear viruses while running Mac OS X. So do not worry about it at all.
  11. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Agreed, in no way, shape, or form should you buy norton or any other antivirus, and do not install an antivirus program from the internet, especially iAntivirus. That program is by far the worst, and norton is just a waste of your money.

    As far as office goes, buy it yourself, and pop in the disc, and it will tell you exactly what to do. No expertise required. Even the setup process is very easy, something anyone that has ever used a computer before could do.
  12. ct95 macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    If you're going back to university, you should take advantage of the back to school sale. You buy the Macbook at the university discount price plus iPod touch and get $199 back for the iPod touch. Then you turnaround and sell the iPod for $150.

    You can buy from your university, online Apple store or local Apple store.
  13. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Mac Virus/Malware Info
    Not worth it at all. It's simple for you to install Office or any other app, and being a "newbie", you'll feel less "useless" if you learn to do it yourself. There's really nothing to it!
  14. kelly528 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2010
    Haha... where I live in Canada the deals aren't quite as good. All they do is pick a model of macbook that's "more than I need" and discount it for $50. When I can get a baseline macbook 2.26 ghz with Office for Mac for 899 from best buy!

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