Format an external HD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mtm19, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. mtm19 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    #1
    I am about to purchase my 1st Mac and I have a question on how to format an external hard drive so it can work with both a Mac and a PC. Is this possible? I will still have a PC in the house so it would be nice to be able to transfer files between the two. Can anyone help me with this?
     
  2. res1233 macrumors 65816

    res1233

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    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #2
    Format the drive as ExFAT. It's fully supported by both OSes.
     
  3. Apple2 macrumors member

    Apple2

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    #3
    If you're not using it as a boot drive, you won't need to format it to work with the Mac. Apple has made it so that their computers can easily connect with PC HDDs, without rendering them useless to PC owners.
     
  4. turbobass macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    Disk utility to make a FAT32 disk but your data is capped at 4GB per file and you may have your Mac save forked files if you're sharing the volume with Windows. (Has for me in the past).

    To be honest I would use a virtualized solution like Dropbox or a home networked pooled storage system like Drobo (you should double check to make sure Drobo can work with the Mac-PC configuration, I believe it can).

    ----------

    Nice! ... Much better than FAT
     
  5. res1233 macrumors 65816

    res1233

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    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #5
    No. Windows by default formats drives as NTFS. NTFS is not writeable by Mac OS by default. He should use ExFAT or FAT32. I forget which versions of windows include support for ExFAT.
     
  6. mtm19 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 11, 2011
    #6
    If you format it that way can you use the entire 1 TB drive with files from either OS or is it capped at all? I want to be able to use the entire drive with both a Mac and PC.
     
  7. res1233 macrumors 65816

    res1233

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    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #7
    ExFAT is rather new and as such is fully compatible with current drives. It's the format of choice in my opinion. There's no cap or anything. I just looked it up, and it seems both Vista and 7 include support for it, so make sure that's alright.
     
  8. mtm19 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 11, 2011
    #8
    How about XP? I have an XP and a 7 PC.
     
  9. res1233 macrumors 65816

    res1233

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    Dec 8, 2008
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    Brooklyn, NY
    #9
    Hmm... It seems there was in fact an update for XP to include support for the format. Assuming you keep up to date, then yes, it should work.
     
  10. mtm19 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 11, 2011
    #10
    Perfect, thanks. Does it matter if you format it on the Mac or PC?
     
  11. res1233 macrumors 65816

    res1233

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    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #11
    Make sure the mac doesn't try to format it with an Apple Partition Map, as that would be unreadable by a PC. Any other would be fine. To be safe, I'd format it on the PC though.
     
  12. Hamilton1963 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    #12
    This is what I did:

    1- Transfer all the data on your external drive to your PC.

    2 - Connect your external drive to your Mac

    3- Click on Finder

    4- Click on Applications

    5- Double click on Utilities

    6- Double click on Disk Utility

    7- Click on the external drive

    8- Click on Erase

    9- On Format choose MS-DOS (FAT)

    10 Click on Erase

    Once it is done, connect to your PC and transfer all of your data back to your external drive then connect to your Mac. That's all.


     
  13. coops macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #13
    I'd just change step #9 (above) to choose the exFAT option instead of 'regular' FAT due to no file size restriction.

    ExFAT works great - even with XP once you've updated/patched it (my home desktop is XP) - Works 'out of the box' for win 7, vista.

    HIGHLY recommend using the exFAT format - used NTFS and ntfs mounter for a while, but kept getting Creator codes and the like added to the files which caused major headaches.
     
  14. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #14
    How big are these files?

    I agree with the earlier notion of Dropbox (or something else like it, say Windows Skydrive)

    unless you want to share terra bytes of data -- either of those are great solutions.

    drag, drop, done = on both computers.
     
  15. mtm19 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 11, 2011
    #15
    I use Dropbox but just the free 2GB version. I need to transfer almost 500 GB of files so that would take quite a while.
     
  16. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #16
    Here's a recap of disk formatting options:


    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
      [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    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: Install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free)
    • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
    • Some have had good results with Paragon (approx $20)
    • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, 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
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended)
    • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
    • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! backups of Mac internal hard drive.
      [*]To Read/Write HFS+ from Windows, Install MacDrive
      [*]To Read HFS+ (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
    • Maximum file size: 8EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 8EiB
    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
     
  17. Tech Elementz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    #17
    Who said you had to use Windows to format the drive? He can format the HD using the Mac with FAT32. However, seems like exFAT is a better file system.
     
  18. Hamilton1963 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    #18
    It may be a good idea but, he should look into it deep before making a decision. There are a few disadvantages.

     

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