From PC to Mac - Need help with external hard drive

fredericroumi

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 19, 2012
38
3
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!!!
 

Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,102
1,290
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.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,118
6,560
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.
 

fredericroumi

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 19, 2012
38
3
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.
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


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

There's no reason you can't keep some stuff on the MacBook's internal drive. It's very fast.
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..
 

Kissmyne

macrumors 6502
Apr 21, 2015
354
48
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..
 

seagate_surfer

macrumors newbie
Mar 31, 2017
19
4
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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