Formatting external HDD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Spikeywan, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. Spikeywan macrumors 6502

    Dec 11, 2012
    I bought a Verbatim USB3 512Gb hard drive to ease the transfer from PC to Mac, and to use as a backup once the transfer was complete.

    Now I have everything on the Mac, I've discovered that the Mac can't write to the drive. :rolleyes:

    Looking at the formatting options, the one that will be compatible with Windows (FAT32) has a maximum file size of 4Gb.

    I'm not sure if I have any files larger than that. If I do, what will happen to them during a backup?

    Is there a way around this?

    I would like to keep PC compatibility, so that I can give people copies of my photos, etc from the external drive.
  2. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030


    Mar 22, 2011
    Tokyo, Japan
    Use ExFAT.
    If you have a file over 4GB, it just wont transfer.
    Ive formated all my USBs into ExFAT which bypasses the 4GB limit and still have compatibility to Windows.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)

    Choose the appropriate format:

    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

    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, here are some alternatives:
      • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon ($19.95) (Best Choice for Lion and Mountain Lion)
      • For Mac OS X 10.5 and later, including Lion, FUSE for OS X
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36), which is an enhanced version of NTFS-3G with faster performance.
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and later versions, 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
    • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.

    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
    • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
      [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.
  4. KevinC867, Dec 19, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012

    KevinC867 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    I use Paragon NTFS for the Mac and HFS+ for Windows. It's brilliant. It allows me to use disks that are ideally formatted for their native computer and easily connect them to the other system when I want. (

    I also bought a Firewire800 card for my PC so I don't have to drop down to USB 2.0 speed when using my Mac drives on the PC.

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