formatting an exernal drive

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Hibbity, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. Hibbity macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2005
    I recently switched. it's like escaping the matrix ;)

    Anyway, I have an external usb drive that i used for my pc. i can copy things from it to my mac, but i cannot change anything on the drive itself, i.e. i can't delete anything off it, add anything to it, etc.

    I have te data on it backed up and i want to use m pc to format it. However, XP will only let me reformat in NTFS, and I've heard that you have to have it formatted for FAT32 in order for it to be totally compatible with macs. Is this right, and if so, does anyone know a way that I can format to FAT32 using XP?

    Thanks all!
  2. combatcolin macrumors 68020


    Oct 24, 2004
    Northants, UK
    Macs can READ OR WRITE to FAT32

    Macs can only READ from NTFS

    So, yes if you want to use the drive on both mchines you will have to format down to FAT32, its not that bad - iPods do this and the advantage for me of lugging 40GB about in my pocket outweighs the increase of storage wastage.
  3. Hibbity thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2005
    OK so I formatted it to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and now i can only use it on the Mac. My other two options (as far as Disk Utility is concerned) are Mac OS Extended and Unix File System. Will one of these make it so I can use the drive for both windows and Mac?
  4. mcadam macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2004
    No, not as far as I know I'm afraid...

  5. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    Technically, Panther (post 10.3.5) has "limited" write capabilities to NTFS volumes. But mostly that translates into it not working when you need it, so FAT32 is a much better choice.

    1) Select the disk in Disk Utility, NOT what you have named the volume. For example, if you see:

    111.8 GB ST3120026A
    Select the "111.8 GB ST3120026A". Then go to the Erase tab. "MS-DOS File System" will now be available. This is FAT32.


    2) Buy MacDrive for your PC. It will allow the PC to read HFS+.
  6. Hibbity thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2005

    You all are wonderful, my problem is solved. :)

Share This Page