External Hard Drives on Lion?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by macinnv, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. macinnv macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2011
    Phoenix, AZ
    Hey all,

    I have been shopping around hard drive and have a few questions. I need an external HD to store my iTunes content, time machine back up, and general storage for the computers. I'm confused about external hard drives and their compatibility with Lion or Mountain Lion. I have read on some forums where additional software is required to access things in Lion or higher. Is this true? And if so, what software do I need?

    The devices I have setup are:

    iMac (2007 model, Lion)
    iBook (2008, Snow Leopard)
    2 Apple TV's
    2 iPhones
    Airport Extreme and Express (to extend network)

    The second question I have is will USB 2.0 work for my needs or do I need to have Firewire 800?

  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Format the drive as HFS+ and you'll be fine. There is no difference in compatibility between Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion or Mountain Lion.

    Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)

    Choose the appropriate format:

    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

    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 ($19.95) (Best Choice for Lion and Mountain Lion)
      • For Mac OS X 10.5 and later, including Lion, FUSE for OS X
      • 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 later versions, 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.

    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.

    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.
    While not as fast as Firewire, USB 2.0 will work fine.
  3. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I have a Western Digital external My Book formatted in HFS+ that has successfully made the move from Tiger to Leopard to Snow Leopard to Lion and now Mountain Lion. :)
  4. Axemantitan macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2008
    How is your experience with the My Book? Is it the one that uses ethernet for its connection? I looked them up on Amazon.com and got some strongly polarized reviews.
  5. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Mine have all been FW800 and they have worked great. Used the 1TB, 2TB and 4TB models and will soon be moving to the 6TB units.
  6. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2012
    exFAT is for flash media. It's not well suited for HDD or SSD. The usage is for predominately "large" files (music, photo, video files), with operations that are predominately read or write rather than mixed read and write, and operations with sequential writes (or reads), one file at a time like what you'd expect a camera dumping Raw or JPEG files to flash media; or the user importing those same files from flash media.

    In other uses in particular across platforms, the incidence of file system corruption goes up. exFAT has only one FAT, whereas FAT32 has two FATs making repairs more successful. If an exFAT volume experiences corruption, there's a better chance of data loss.

    The most cross platform file system is NTFS, for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

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