FAT32 bliss!

queshy

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 2, 2005
3,687
3
Hi,

So I got a mbp yesterday and wanted to transfer my iTunes library from my iMac to my mbp. I had an HP personal media hard drive that I used on [my now obselete] PC and I was never able to get my iMac to write to it - only read. I just read that the problem was because it was formatted for NTFS which was not mac-writable. I found this nifty PC program (swissknife or something) and it fixed it!

It was a very nice surprise because I was anticipating dropping 100$ on a new drive. :)
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
33
Singapore
thanks for the tip from the program. there are a number of other programs aswell that do the same thing. macdrive 6/7 is a shareware but does the same thing (excellent program i use this myself) and theres another called HFSExplorer (freeware) its also good, apparently.

can i suggest changing ur thread name. maybe to NTFS bliss???
 

queshy

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 2, 2005
3,687
3
thanks for the tip from the program. there are a number of other programs aswell that do the same thing. macdrive 6/7 is a shareware but does the same thing (excellent program i use this myself) and theres another called HFSExplorer (freeware) its also good, apparently.

can i suggest changing ur thread name. maybe to NTFS bliss???
But why? I had to change to FAT32, no?

and the program I used was windows only...but thanks for the tip
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
33
Singapore
i thout u were talking about NTFS being the topic for the subject.. arent u talking about that lol? i sugegsted that to make it seem more accurate to what the issue is.

i have no idea im so confused
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
5
Adelaide, Australia
The app converted a drive formatted as NTFS to FAT32 by my reckoning. This made it easier for files to be transferred between Macs and PCs. For most users, I think using a FAT32 drive is much easier than using either HFS+ or NTFS with various third party apps needing to be installed on the non-compliant operating systems. Thanks for the tip on the app queshy. :)
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
33
Singapore
ooohhh it makes sense now....

thats a really handy app!!! never knew you could do that. thankyou for sharing it
 

queshy

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 2, 2005
3,687
3
The app converted a drive formatted as NTFS to FAT32 by my reckoning. This made it easier for files to be transferred between Macs and PCs. For most users, I think using a FAT32 drive is much easier than using either HFS+ or NTFS with various third party apps needing to be installed on the non-compliant operating systems. Thanks for the tip on the app queshy. :)
yup, I'm not too knowledgeable about the different file formats, but I honestly thought I was going to have to buy a new hard drive: I had a whole bunch of media backed up from my PC and I was able to transfer it ok to my mac, but when I wanted to transfer some stuff from the mac to the hard drive, it didn't work.

I'm pretty sure this is what I downloaded:
http://www.compuapps.com/Download/swissknife/swissknife.htm

I'm saying "pretty sure" because this was on my PC, and I try to use my PC as little as possible :))) so I don't 100% recall if that was the program.

But in the future should this happen to other mac switchers, I made this post so other users could benefit :)
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
5
Adelaide, Australia
Yeah, it's called MS-DOS File System. Disk Utility bypasses the 32GB partition limit that Windows has too. So arguably it's better than Windows' own native formatting tool.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
33
Singapore
Yeah, it's called MS-DOS File System. Disk Utility bypasses the 128GB partition limit (or was it 32GB...) that Windows has too. So arguably it's better than Windows' own native formatting tool.
intersting. i see i am an idiot, thanks for making me aware of that mate. hahaha. 32GB limit it is, 2GB for FAT16 :rolleyes: lols.
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
5
Adelaide, Australia
No worries mate. You picked me up before my edit. Ignore the 128GB part - Windows can only format FAT32 to 32GB natively. Of course there are third party Windows apps that will give you larger partitions, most of which cost money.
 

aye5882

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2006
68
0
hey guys. i too am trying to format my external to fat32. however, i can't find the " MS-DOS File System" in disk utility. i only saw it under the RAID tab and i don't think that's right.

any suggestions?
 

dkoralek

macrumors 6502
Sep 12, 2006
268
0
hey guys. i too am trying to format my external to fat32. however, i can't find the " MS-DOS File System" in disk utility. i only saw it under the RAID tab and i don't think that's right.

any suggestions?
How big is your hard disk. As mad jew pointed out fat32 is limited to 32gig partitions (so if the partition you want to format is bigger than that, disk utility won't give you the option of formatting it as fat32. you'll have to use another utility to do so (some drive manufacturers will provide utilities on their support pages that will do this).

cheers.
 

aye5882

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2006
68
0
Yeah, it's called MS-DOS File System. Disk Utility bypasses the 32GB partition limit that Windows has too. So arguably it's better than Windows' own native formatting tool.
doesn't this mean that it can format drives larger than 32gb? i have the freeagent 250gb.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
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Singapore
doesn't this mean that it can format drives larger than 32gb? i have the freeagent 250gb.
yeap it means exactly that! only windows formatting from the native windows disk manager thingo have that limitation.... most other 3rd party apps can bypass this.
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
5
Adelaide, Australia
Okay. There seem to be a few unclear statements and a bit of confusion here so I thought I'd try to help out a little.


  • Windows' native formatting tool cannot partition FAT32 to anything larger than 32GB.
  • Other apps, including Apple's Disk Utility, can bypass this limitation and format FAT32 to much larger sizes. There's a theoretical limit but it's not relevant here.
  • If a drive is larger than 32GB and you format it in Windows as FAT32, it will still format. However, it will be reduced to 32GB in size.


aye5882, you're not wanting the RAID tab. Post a screenshot of the Erase tab in Disk Utility and we'll try to see why it's not allowing you to reformat as FAT32. :)
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
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Singapore
madjew i had a similar problem to aye5882. i was unable to format as fat32, i think simply because it was on osx... i know i know thats impossible it has to be able to format it!! but i donno.... the way i had to do it was format it as fat32 on a windoze machine...

but yea still post those piccies up and we'll have a crack at them buggers
 

TBi

macrumors 68030
Jul 26, 2005
2,582
0
Ireland
Get MacFuse (google it). It allows full Read/Write functionality in OSX. Save you from using FAT32. The only thing to remember is to unmount your drive properly. Which shouldn't be a problem if you are restarting to use bootcamp.

Look here and here.
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
5
Adelaide, Australia
madjew i had a similar problem to aye5882. i was unable to format as fat32, i think simply because it was on osx... i know i know thats impossible it has to be able to format it!! but i donno.... the way i had to do it was format it as fat32 on a windoze machine...

That's bizarre. I've always been able to format as FAT32. Was the problem that it wouldn't let you format as anything, or was it only MS-DOS File System that was missing from the list? :)
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
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Singapore
That's bizarre. I've always been able to format as FAT32. Was the problem that it wouldn't let you format as anything, or was it only MS-DOS File System that was missing from the list? :)
only MS-DOS was missing. i chose MBR and everything. it was really wierd. ive got it sorted now tho so all is well
 

Eraserhead

macrumors G4
Nov 3, 2005
10,410
10,698
UK
That's bizarre. I've always been able to format as FAT32. Was the problem that it wouldn't let you format as anything, or was it only MS-DOS File System that was missing from the list? :)
Windows can't format to FAT32 above a 32GB Partition, Mac OS X can however make much larger FAT32 partitions, you use Disk Utility (in /Applications/Utilities/) to do it.
 

TBi

macrumors 68030
Jul 26, 2005
2,582
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Ireland
Windows can't format to FAT32 above a 32GB Partition, Mac OS X can however make much larger FAT32 partitions, you use Disk Utility (in /Applications/Utilities/) to do it.
This is a forced limit in XP (and maybe 2000). You can format up to the max FAT32 Size in older versions of windows from 95B on.
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,186
115
madjew i had a similar problem to aye5882. i was unable to format as fat32, i think simply because it was on osx... i know i know thats impossible it has to be able to format it!! but i donno.... the way i had to do it was format it as fat32 on a windoze machine...

but yea still post those piccies up and we'll have a crack at them buggers
You don't see an option like this...?



Fat32 does have a 4GB file size limit which is really annoying - since I have programs that are bigger than 4GB and I have to burn them to DVD in order to store them. Also making an image of my OSX partition is a no no too.
 

Eraserhead

macrumors G4
Nov 3, 2005
10,410
10,698
UK
This is a forced limit in XP (and maybe 2000). You can format up to the max FAT32 Size in older versions of windows from 95B on.
But virtually everyone who uses Windows uses XP/2000 so I didn't think it was worth mentioning ;).