Feel like an idiot - Windows on Mac, MacDrive & External Hard Drive question

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by jessedylan, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. jessedylan macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2007
    Everett, WA
    I feel like an idiot, but I can't seem to find enough information on this to wrap my mind around it. I'm switching to a mac soon, and have made several posts all over this board in preparation. What I do know - I'm going to back my my current PC onto a 320 GB Lacie d2 external hard drive. But because of formatting issues, I should use my iMac (once I get it) to format the external hard drive, then back up the PC, which will make these files accessible on the Mac.

    I also know that I should get MacDrive, but I'm not clear on why. Even the manufacturer's site fails to help me. Does MacDrive make it possible to see the Window's generated files when Windows XP is being emulated on the iMac? Or does it help me in backing up my PC on a mac-formatted drive?

    Any help? Ideally I'd like to be able to back up my PC now, then get it out of the way before my iMac arrives. Life isn't that simple though it seems.
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    FAT32 would give you cross platform support at the expensive of some features. (e.g. support of individual files over 4 GB)

    MacDrive allows you to read an HFS+ formatted drive in Windows.

    OS X can read NTFS formatted drives but not write to them.
  3. tersono macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    Format the external drive as FAT32 via your PC. OS X can read FAT-formatted drives without assistance - you'll be able to access your files without problems. Probably the best thing to do is to copy your files over to the iMac and then, once you've moved everything over, re-format the external drive to HFS+ for future use with the Mac.

    If you run Windows on your iMac via Parallels or VMWare, you will be able to read/write directly to the Mac filesystem via 'virtual networking' - essentially, it mounts your home directory as if it was a remote share.

    You DO NOT need MacDrive unless you are hanging onto your Windows box and need to read Mac-Formatted disks directly - even then, if you simply network the machines together, you can share files without needing MacDrive.
  4. nospamboz macrumors regular

    Oct 3, 2006
    Native MacOS X NTFS support is read-only.

    Solutions are coming. NTFS-3G has limited/slow write access. The Paragon
    NTFS for Mac OS X beta (see another thread on this forum) looks like it
    will be a great product.

    FAT32 is fully supported in MacOS X, but remember that file sizes on
    it are limited to 4 GB, so no really, really big files.

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