External Storage Needed

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by gazfocus, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. gazfocus macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #1
    I currently use a PC for my university work (as I do an IT degree) but my preferred system is my Mac.

    I'm looking for a storage solution that I can use on both my Mac and my PC. Would a Network Hard Drive be suitable?

    I know you can use USB memory sticks on both Mac and PC but every time I've used an external hard drive, you either have to format it as a PC or as a Mac drive and one can't be read on the other.

    Does anyone know of any solution?

    Thanks for any suggestions/advice
     
  2. Jasonbot macrumors 68020

    Jasonbot

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Rainbow Nation RSA
    #2
    You're using the wrong format.

    By default Mac format is HFS+ which cant be read/written by a PC by default.
    By default PC format is NTFS which can be read by Mac but not written.

    The solution is to use the slightly archaic FAT 32 format which can be read and written by both PC and Mac. Network storage isn't that suitable.
     
  3. gazfocus thread starter macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #3
    The first hard drive I tried this with was already Mac Formatted when I purchased it from Apple. I copied some files onto it but then Windows XP wouldn't read it.

    I have since been given a Western Digital portable USB hard drive for work, had some files on it, and the drive couldn't be read on my mac.

    The only problem with Fat32 is that it's limited in size and I'm looking for something in the region of 500GB.

    Is it possible that the mac formatted drive was wrongly formatted? If I format my work hard drive to HFS+, will I still be able to use it on my work PC?
     
  4. wallaby macrumors 6502

    wallaby

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa
    #4
    Jasonbot speaks the truth. Best solution would be a portable 2.5" Hard drive formatted to FAT32 (or at least with one FAT32 partition) or an external 3.5" hard drive (bigger, less portable) with the same setup. FAT32 can be both read/written from a PC or a Mac.

    A caution, though. FAT32 really was designed for partitions no larger than 32GB. I had a large 200GB FAT32 partition on my external, and when I tried to erase the volume, it destroyed all the data on the entire external (outside the partition). So a good rule of thumb would be to have a 32GB FAT32 partition, and then partition the rest as either HFS+ (for Mac) or NTSF (for Windows). Then you can safely transfer everything off the FAT32 volume.
     
  5. wallaby macrumors 6502

    wallaby

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa
    #5
    This is because Windows is incapable of reading HFS (Mac-formatted).

    That's strange, since even if the drive is NTFS, it should be able to be read in OS X. Does it work on a PC? Perhaps it needs to be formatted.


    Not really, you could format 500GB under FAT32 if you want to. Stability of the files on the drive would be questionable though. 2.5" portable drives currently don't exceed 250GB anyway (ones that don't require external power). I suggested a solution in my last post (a FAT32 partition with the rest as your preference).


    No to the second part, unless you get some outside programs to help you. There's one that allows Windows to read/write HFS, and another that allows Macs to write to NTFS...I forget their names (MacFuse?), but someone around here ought to know.
     
  6. gazfocus thread starter macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #6
    Thanks for all your advice. If anyone knows of any software than can enable Windows to read/write a mac partition, please let me know. (obviously would prefer free software but would be happy to pay if necessary).

    I am hoping to some day move over to Mac completely so would prefer it this way round.
     

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