From PC to Mac - Need help with external hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by fredericroumi, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. fredericroumi macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2012
    Hi all! I've been wanting to do the switch for a very long time now but never had the ''guts'' to. I'm now happy to say that I just purchased my first MacBook Pro and am in the process of switching over all my stuff from PC, but I'm having a bit of trouble with one particular very important aspect.

    The way I worked on my PC is that I had all my files on a 4TB external drive that was (semi-permanently) plugged into my PC. So when I purchased the MacBook I figured all I needed is to have the right software and just plug in my external drive to the Mac and continue using it the same way. Turns out, it's really not that simple.

    I searched the net to find some solutions but frankly I didn't find any clear answers, that's why I came on here to ask (been a very long time reader - not poster hehe). I now know the formats are different (NTFS vs FAT) so I'm not sure how I can adapt to that, and obviously I don't want to lose all my files!

    Is there a way I can use the hard drive as-is on my MBP? Ideally I'd like to be able to use it on both Mac and PC as I will be keeping my old PC for little things from time to time.

    Thanks in advance for all your help!! Greatly appreciated!!!
  2. Audit13 macrumors 68030


    Apr 19, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    macOS and Windows will read and write to exfat, fat, and fat 32.

    Only Windows will read and write to NTFS.

    macOS will read NTFS but not write to NTFS.

    You can install 3rd party software on your Mac to allow reading and writing to NTFS partitions. The two most popular are NTFS for Mac by Paragon and Tuxera.

    Seagate has an OEM version of the Paragon software to allow reads/writes to a Seagate NTFS drive.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I recommend that you consider buying ANOTHER hard drive, which will become your "Mac hard drive".

    Initialize it for HFS+ with journaling enabled.
    Then, gradually move things from the PC-formatted drive to the HFS+ drive.

    If you have IMPORTANT Mac files, you should store them on a Mac-formatted drive. I've seen enough instances where users kept stuff on a PC-formatted drive (using it with a Mac), and then one day, something or other went wrong, and .... POOF! All their Mac files were gone.

    So again, if the Mac files are important to you, keep them on a Mac drive.
    And keep that drive backed up, as well.

    There's no reason you can't keep some stuff on the MacBook's internal drive. It's very fast.
  4. fredericroumi thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2012
    Thank you so much for this info. Only thing is I got back home and before doing anything I realized that the folder I was trying to delete was protected. I unprotected it and was able to delete it without installing anything at all. Now I'm REALLY confused hahaha

    Excellent idea for the second drive. I actually have a second (and third!) drive that are currently used as backup so I can use those...Thanks for the suggestion! Very appreciated!

    Also, I can't (and don't really want to) keep much on the internal drive as I have over 4TB of stuff and only 512GB of storage on the MBP..
  5. Kissmyne macrumors 6502


    Apr 21, 2015
    I use a 2TB WD external drive formatted as ExFAT, works great between Mac and Windows. No data loss in the two years I've had it this way.. therefore my suggestion as well for any drives you will be using between the two operating systems.. if that even applies for your use case..
  6. seagate_surfer macrumors newbie


    Mar 31, 2017
    Cupertino, CA
    It was already mentioned here, but just to make sure you are able to access it, here is a link to Seagate's driver download page for Paragon. ExFAT file format is not recommended because it is known for being more susceptible to file corruption.

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