External hdd back-up problems!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by dunnigan, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. dunnigan macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2009

    I have an external HD that is loaded with 100G. It is now crashing and needs to be re-formatted and has alerted me to do it asap. I do not have enough room on my iMac to back-up the files, and I have tried creating .dmg files but that is going to take days at the rate they compress. I have another external HD borrowed from a friend, that has enough free space, but it is formatted to a PC. I am currently running 10.5.
    I don't have the $$ for an external, (I know they're fairly cheap)

    1. Does Anyone have a suggestion to back up these files before I lose all of them? :(

    2. Is there a way to partition the PC external and create a temporary space to back-up the drive, then delete the partition when finished? (Without much headache?) :confused:

    please help me.


  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I assume the external you borrowed is formatted NTFS; if it were FAT, you'd have no trouble copying files to it, but NTFS is read-only under the MacOS.

    This leaves you two options:

    1) If your friend doesn't mind you temporarily erasing his external drive, you can just use Disk Utility to reformat it as HFS+ ("MacOS Extended"), at which point you can copy your files to it, come up with a new drive, copy them back, and then reformat your friend's drive to whatever it was before and give it back.

    2) If that's not an option, you could try installing MacFUSE, which should allow the MacOS to write to NTFS volumes, and thus copy files onto your friend's external without doing anything to it. Link:


    Note, though, that if your drive is actually *dying*, reformatting isn't going to make a bit of difference--when the hardware goes, the hardware goes. If it's directory corruption, then a reformat will get you back in business, though you can usually fix that without even resorting to a reformat by running the repair routine in Disk Utility.
  3. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    if you do wind up installing MacFUSE, be sure to read the "how to" link- as it has an additional link to the NTFS-3G driver file that MacFUSE is useless without. Be sure to install MacFUSE first, then NTFS-3G. Then restart your system and you should be able to write to the friend's external ok as it stands.

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