External HD question (PC to Mac)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by erl, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. erl macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2007
    Hi, all.
    My wife and I are currently a PC-only family (wait, don't stop reading yet).
    After Leopard is released, I plan on getting her a 24" iMac to do internet, photos and video editing (camcorder home movies).

    I ordered a 500gb Seagate external hard drive. I would like to use this to back up all of our pictures that are currently on her computer and then, when we get the iMac, use the external drive to copy the pictures back over (and, subsequently, use it to back up the iMac).

    Here is what I'm thinking would be best, from the limited Mac knowledge that I have:
    1) Use the HDD in NTFS file system and copy the pictures
    2) Since Mac can READ NTFS, hook it up and copy the pictures to the iMac
    3) Reformat the HDD in [insert the Mac file system name here]
    4) Use with iMac

    Do I have that right? Mac can READ-ONLY NTFS, correct?

    Thanks, gang. Apple will get my money when Leopard is released.
  2. bluefiberoptics macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2005
    As long as you don't have any single files that are over 4 GB, just leave the drive formatted as FAT32. That way both Windows and OS X can read/write to the drive. :)

    (You don't want to be stuck somewhere and not able to use your Mac-formatted HD on someone else's PC)
  3. jvencius macrumors regular

    Jun 28, 2007
    I did something like that, but once I was satisfied that everything had transferred to my MBP acceptably, I re-formatted my external HD to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) since the chances of needing to use it portably are slim-to-none. If I had a portable external HD, I might leave it in FAT32 but for desktop-only external HD, I'd stick with OS Extended.
  4. erl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2007

    Yes, but I don't think I want to have 15 32gb partitions.
  5. theman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 26, 2007
    Actually, if you have a Windows 98 bootdisk, you can create volume sizes as large as 127gb with FAT32. Just insert the disk, do something (i forgot), and then run FDisk and format. so, you would only end up with 4 partitions. still annoying....

    Just go for NTFS.
  6. Not-a-cliche macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2007
    FAT32 doesn't have a 32GB limit, OK? STOP MESSING WITH MY MIND AND SAYING IT DOES!
  7. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2007
    Balham, London
    If she's going to be using it for video editing of any kind, 4GB file restrictions would be really annoying!
  8. nyc2socal macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2007
    Technically there is no limitation on the 32GB, BUT, Windows XP/2000's format program only allows formating 32GB FAT32 partitions. If you wish to format a larger partition, you need 3rd party tools (free).

    But yes, I agree, the only limitation of the FAT32 is the 4GB file size that can be problematic for video.
  9. bluefiberoptics macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2005
    No, it's just a 4 GB limit for individual files. Not total.

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