External Harddrive format questions

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by ncerniglia, May 4, 2004.

  1. ncerniglia macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2004
    I just bought a seagate 160gb external firewire/usb2 drive. I want to be able to share it on my winxp pc and the mac g5 (osx) at school. It worked fine at first, straight out of the box, but of course im stupid and disconnect the drive without telling osx to release/remove it. when i tried to connect it a 2nd time on the mac, it wouldnt work. it just gave me an error saying it was unformated, even though it wasnt. i plugged it into my windows system and it was also being detected as unformated, doh!

    I reformated it in win me, using seagates utilities, and even tried maxtor utilities.
    Its now 1 partition 160gb fat32. am i correct that fat32 can be read by osx? it worked before when i first go it, so it must. you see now my hard drive only works in windows and not the mac g5 osx at school.

    I read that the max for partitioning fat32 is 32gb, and ive read that people have full 1 partition 250gb drives in fat32 and some say 128gb partition is the max, and works with windows and mac. and to add to my confusion, i contacted seagate, and they said that while mac osx will work with my 160gb fat32 drive, it is highly unstable unless it is has no more than 80gb per partition. I know that everyone can get their drives to work on macs with fat32, but i have yet to see anyone truelly say that they got it working and how with a drive or partition bigger thant 80 or so gb.

    Like i said above, when it stoped working after the first try on mac i had to reformat it, becuase it wouldnt even work on my windows comp anymore. After it was reformated, it worked on my windows comp perfectly, but nothing happens when i plug it in the firewire port and turn it on on the mac. no error, nothing.
    I need to figure this out soon, since this next monday is my last chance to try it all out on the mac osx comp at school until fall 2004 semester starts.

    So now i guess i need to format it correctly, what should i do? and i dont want to have to use extra software to work on my pc.

    Format to:
    1:a whole bunch of 32gb fat32 partitions?
    2: two 80gb partitions?
    3: one big partition? (which i tried already but didnt work) I used seagate tools and maxtor tools for this one. should i have done fdisk in winme instead?

    For the hell of it here is the response from seagate:


    In order to share the drive higher than 80Gb or a partition higher than
    80Gb, you need to format it in the Mac OS extended format and use a third
    party program on the PC side to read the data.

    Sharing a high capacity drive between the Mac and PC is not stable in
    partitions larger than 80Gb and it was only a matter of time before it
    This is the only resolution we have for the use of the External 160Gb in
    both systems.

    Edmond B.
    Seagate Technical Support

    Thanks for the help!
  2. superbovine macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2003
    go with the two 80gb partition.
  3. ncerniglia thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2004
    Thanks for the opinion. :D I went ahead and formated the drive into 2 80gb partitions. Its more like 79.5gb and 80.5gb. The seagate or maxtor utilities wouldnt let me get exactly 80gb on each. Thats ok though.

    Before i used seagate tool i checked it out on fdisk. The one big fat32 partition i had before, was saying it was "5fat32" dont know what that is, but that could be the reason it wasnt working on the mac.

    After i reformated with the 2 80gb partitions, i went back to check it on fdisk, and this time each drive actually said "fat32", so hopefully it will work this monday on the mac :) all is looking good!

  4. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    It might just be my own superstition--but I rarely have problems when I follow my intuition--but I'd format it using Disk Utility in OS X.
  5. ncerniglia thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2004
    yah, i could do that, but then i would have to install extra software to get my drive to be read on my windows comp. Im gonna be using this drive mostly on my windows comp, and only to transfer files back and forth for school once a week on their macs. Do i would rather have it formated on windows using fat32.

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