External HDD

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jmfel1926, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. jmfel1926 macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2012
    i have a Westrern Digital external HDD and i want to backup my MBA files there (as it asks whenever you plug in a HDD) and be able to read and write on both windows and ML . please don't paste any links , just tell me the steps . i am new to mac os ..thx
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Windows can't natively read/write HFS+ formatted drives, which you need for backups of Mac OS X to an external drive. Mac OS X can't natively write to NTFS files, which Windows reads. Sorry, but you've got to deal with some links, if you want the information you need. Pay special attention to the bold text.

    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), which is an enhanced version of NTFS-3G with faster performance.
      • 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.
  3. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Why do not past any links, if they explain those steps?

    Anyway, as of now, you have three choices.
    • Backup manually and have an HDD readable and writable by Mac OS X and Windows without additional software.
    • Backup automatically via Time Machine or CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper! and have the HDD readable and writable in Mac OS X and buy MacDrive for Windows to be able to read and write to it in Windows.
    • Backup manually by installing an NTFS driver for Mac OS X, thus your Mac can write and read an NTFS formatted HDD, which is the file system for Windows based computers.

    Above** is more, pasted*, info:

    * Why not paste already existing info? Am I too lazy? Probably, otherwise I wouldn't be a smartarse.

    To learn more about Mac OS X: Helpful Information for Any Mac User by GGJstudios

    ** that bastard, Mister GGJstudios, was faster
  4. pickleydoo macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2011
    If you have OSX 10.6.5 or later, and Windows Vista or later, you can format the drive using the exFAT file system and both operating systems will be able to read the drive. However, I think you have to format it with the Windows system for it to be readable in both OS's.

    The caveat is that most people say not to format hard disk drives with exFAT, and that you should only use it for flash drives. I did it with my Western Digital 2TB drive and so far it's been working well.

    As GGJstudios suggests, you won't be able to use it with Time Machine.

    **CAUTION: This will delete everything on your drive (or the partition that you're formatting).**

    Plug the drive in the Windows system, right click it in Explorer, and click "Format..." Then choose the exFAT file system and use the default allocation table size unless you know what is best for your system (Google it), and click the "Quick Format" box. Click Format and you're good to go.

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