FAT or NTFS selection for bootcamp setup?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by bonanza jb, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. bonanza jb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    #1
    Hi all, I am a brand new MAC owner and definitely on my L plates! Just switching from PC and I want to partition for Windows in Bootcamp but have a burning question...in selecting FAT or NTFS, are you simply partitioning for software applications or for all related documents/files? IE; can you store your Windows documents/files, etc on the Mac partition and just access from Windows side when needed, or do you have to allow enough space required for all applications plus documents/files. I am trying to figure out if the 32GB max for a FAT partition is big enough, or if i need to have NTFS of 32+GB. I want to use CAD and a few other Windows programs, thus the need for the partition, and I figure all my windows programs are about 25GB, leaving 7GB for updates, files, etc.if i choose Mac friendly FAT. Not really sure the significance of Mac having a happier relationship with FAT files over NTFS, as i wont be able to write to CAD files in Mac anyway! Any help would be much appreciated. Kind thanks in advance.
     
  2. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #2
    FAT32 is not a usable file format for Macs. There is a file size limit of 4 GB which is very akward. Any ISO file you need to handle for an installation or even a big video or email archive can exceed the limit. Besides only XP can use it. Vista and Win7 require NTFS. XP must be installed with SP2 only and takes endless time to update. You can have it only in 32-bit variety because Apple doesn't support the 64-bit edition. It cannot support more than 2 GB of RAM which makes it useless for many modern apps.

    So a reasonable proposal would be Vista64 Business or Win7-64 Professional for a Mac with NTFS. With Bootcamp 3.0 drivers Windows can read from OS X partitions but cannot write. OS X can be fittd with NTFS drivers (3G NTFS or Paragon) which would read and write to the Windows partition. The other solution is also available to read/write to HFS+ from Windows (MacDrive).
     
  3. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

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    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #3
    NTFS.

    FAT (for an OS anyway) is an old format, and has a 4 GB file limit. Meaning one single file can't be over 4 GB's in size. NTFS is a modern filesystem. In fact, Vista and 7 won't even install on FAT, and require NTFS.
     
  4. bonanza jb thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 26, 2009
    #4
    Thank you both. I should have said I will be running XP with SP3 and have OS 10.6.1. So it sounds like FAT is a no go. Did I understand correctly that with XP (and having selected NTFS) the largest file size is 2GB? Also, what is the difference between 3G NTFS/Paragon and Macdrive? And would you recommend one direction over the other? Have read a little about both options on forums but dont know which is relevant to my situation (which is basically needing to use AutoCAD in Windows, plus a few other apps, with the rest going on in the Mac side). Why would I need to be able to write anything in OS X or Windows with no app to do so in eachother? For one case scenario, if I have a CAD file that i want to email (either as a CAD file or a PDF), Im guessing I would save it in the Bootcamp folder (from Windows), and then reboot to OSX and retrieve it from Bootcamp folder and email it from there???? My humble appologies for my ignorance - as i said I am new to Mac and am just feeling my way through! My kindest thanks again for your generous help!!!!:confused:
     
  5. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #5
    XP SP3 is not recommended. Apple supports XP SP2. If your Partition size is 32 GB and more it will automatically force you to format NTFS. In NTFS there is no limit on file size. I would not recommend a partition size under 80 GB for the uses that you describe. You need at least 30% free space on a partition and your apps and data space are likely to grow quickly. Another disadvantage is that XP comes only in 32-bit. Vista and Win7 come in 64-bit and will make proper use of your RAM above 2 GB. In XP all your RAM above 2 GB will be ignored by the system which may be a bad idea for CAD.

    My recommendation for you would be using Win-7 64-bit Professional (OEM System Builder) or an educational version if you have an edu email account. You would need no transfer of files between operating systems because you can email in both systems. All you need is an app called email client which can be used from Windows or downloaded for free. If you store a PDF file in Windows you can read it from OS X and vice versa. That capability is included in Bootcamp 3.0 that is included in OS X 10.6.1. So don't worry about additional drivers at the moment.
     
  6. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

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    Mar 24, 2003
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    California
    #6
    +1 on the Windows 7 64-bit. Basically everything gugucom said is spot on. And yes, XP SP3 isn't "officially" supported by Apple (yet?).
     
  7. bonanza jb thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 26, 2009
    #7
    Oh BuGGer!! I juat bought XP with SP3 because i read that its fine with Bootcamp (and figured better not to have so much updating to do as with SP2).

    Can anyone explain the significance/benefit of being able to read and write in both platforms? Is this something I need(or would be beneficial) to work with AutoCAD in Windows?

    Also, I dont fully understand the difference between the 32 and 64 bit advantages - what does it mean when you say I wont be able to make use of Ram over 2 GB? Thank you all so much for your help so far!!!!
     
  8. bonanza jb thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 26, 2009
    #8
    And my apologies for being ignorant! I feel extremely inadequate right now...so thanks for being so patient.
     
  9. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

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    California
    #9
    Don't worry, XP SP3 isn't "officially" supported, but it should work fine. Windows 7 is technically supported either (yet) but the Vista drivers work pretty well (although Apple did say they'd be releasing official drivers for Windows 7 specifically later this year).

    What kind of Mac did you say you had again? This will be the easiest way to tell you if 64-bit will really benefit you or not.
     
  10. Nikolai01 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #10
    Just to put in a little support for FAT, while everything the previous posters said was true, if you aren't going to run astray of the 32GB limit or the 4GB file limit, FAT is in many ways more convenient--you can simply transfer files back and forth from MacOS without any additional driver workarounds. I've been using it with XP SP3 (which does work fine) without any issues.
     
  11. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

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    #11
    This is very true, and a good point. However, the OP mentioned using CAD, which means it's likely they might run into the 4 GB file limit.
     
  12. bonanza jb thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 26, 2009
    #12
    Stridder44 - I have 17 inch macbook pro 500GB 4GB RAM 2.8Ghz 5400 rpm and basically need to run AutoCAD and Sketchup (3D) plus a couple of other less significant apps on the windows side. i am currently having issues even installing XP SP3 although remain positive i will find work arounds due to bloody brilliant info to be found on forums! I have decided to partition as NTFS with 100GB due to my paranoia of running out of space, and no one has told me why being able to write form OSX to Windows is any use - so it musnt be (ie not FAT)! perhaps if i find i need them, the work around drivers mentioned above will be able to sort me out (whatever they are, and if i will need them). My knowledge is so limited, but am doing my best to get to where i need to be. cheers:D
     
  13. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    May 21, 2009
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    #13
    The Bootcamp driver AppleMNT.sys in BC 3.0 is currently causing an installation issue with XP SP3. The bug will probably be fixed in 3.1 next month.

    Writing from OS X to NTFS is a convenience. Writing from Windows to HFS+ is a risk as Windows is exposed to virus attacks that can extend to OS X that way.

    CAD programs use great amount of data concurrently in RAM. If they run out of RAM it forces the program to use the very much slower disk memory (page out). 32-bit Windows by design cannot use more than 2 GB of RAM and thus will run significantly slower due to page outs. 64-bit Windows has no such limitation and will use the maximum RAM your Mac provides.
     
  14. bonanza jb thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 26, 2009
    #14
    thanks Gugucom - you have been great!!:p For the moment i have just finished installing XP as that is the version i have in my hot little hand. Will see how i go re upgrading to Win7 64 bit in the future but for now (and after a hellish install of XP) i am glad to just be up and running. Will try installing CAD later today, so may yet have more questions. Kindest thanks to you all!!!!;)
     
  15. admo macrumors member

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    Aug 24, 2009
    #15
    I encountered that problem when trying to install sp3. I thought I had run into a problem by simply going from the bootcamp beta to the non-beta version on the SL install DVD. I followed some instructions on the internet, which involved simply changing the name of that file (which makes XP not "see" the mac partitions). SP3 installed just dandy after that and have had no problems since. Changing the name back now lets me see the mac partitions while in XP.
     
  16. gpeden macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    #16
    Hi there,

    I used FAT, but then when I changed HD's I realized that I could not back up the partition and restore it with winclone because it doesn't support FAT. So when I re-installed everything from scratch I went with NTFS this time :)

    Cheers!

    Glen
     
  17. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #17
    FAT32 partitions can be converted without formatting or partitioning. You just have to execute a CMD command. The system, all apps and data will remain the same.
     

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