Getting help with a decision

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Shadowrunner, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Shadowrunner macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2008
    This didn't seem quite like a Mac Basics forum topic, but the reasoning behind it is tied to the fact that I got a mac for the first time less than a month ago and I'm not sure how one would go about doing things...

    Ok, I apologize in advance if this is indeed in the wrong forum and would appreciate guidance if it needs to go elsewhere. Also, this is more of a general opinion question over anything, but I am getting tossed and torn as to what to do to remedy the situation.

    As I mentioned, I received my first Mac computer about a month ago (hooray!) and I'm actually having a blast with it. I've been a PC user for god knows how long (8-9 years) and it's surprisingly easy to just find what you want and work with it. I'm loving the change. What I'm loving more is being able to understand both worlds (at least, as much as I can).

    Now my predicament is as follows. Just 3 days ago I got my first External Hard Drive for backing up both my Mac and PC computers. 750GB at a steal, can't complain. Now, with 4 computers to back up, they'll take up roughly 300-400GB I figure. The rest of the space I'd like to finally start having a dedicated place to store music, pictures, and video. 200-300GB should be more than enough space for this.

    The unfortunate news is, my Desktop is a PC and probably where the External is going to be attached for most of it's life. Setup with Windows XP Pro, etc. So from that, I'd want to keep it attached to the desktop since my Mac is a Macbook Pro, or portable (and it's abused in it's portablity <3). The problem comes from the fact that even though the Desktop is my main unit for holding the External, 90% of the time any new music or pictures I get will be downloaded to the Mac first.

    I'm having problems getting the PC to even read the hard drive (but that's a whole different matter), I'm guessing it's because I already used Boot Camp to backup my laptop first and formatted the drive accordingly.

    What I would like to know, is what would you all suggest doing to correctly set it up so that the music is stored on the External, and both the PC and the Mac can read/write to this library?

    From what I've gathered, I have a butt-ton of options available. Such as:

    1) Formatting the HDD to NTFS and simply installing some google-code stuff (MacFUSE and 3gNTFS or something close to that), then keeping it attached to my Desktop

    2) Installing MacDrive? to the Desktop and allow it to see Mac files and keep the external pluggable to the MBP.

    3) Partition the Drive to have a Windows Backup Side, and a Mac Backup Side... then maybe possibly a 3rd partition (FAT32) for music/image/video

    4) Connect the drive to the Desktop and figure out a way to set up a Network and Network-Share the driver.

    I'm horribly confused. I really would like to keep the external connected to the Desktop, but able to be used with the MBP if needed. I've already read a guide to setting up iTunes to have it's main librarby point to files saved on the External, but again I feel that the windows side is just being stupid.

    I think #4 is my best option, but I'm just confused as to what would really be the best. What do you guys think?

    Would #4 stop me from using Time Machine to backup to it? I should probably explore these matters myself, I like opinions though.

    Sorry if this is just a bother ^-^
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #4 is generally the best of those options in my opinion when it comes to hassle--you don't need to physically move it around at all--but I'm pretty sure it is going to prevent you from backing up using Time Machine. You could easily enough back up files (manually or with a different app) to a network mount connected to a Windows machine, but Time Machine is pickier about network drives due to the way it does back up. Alternately, you could use Carbon Copy Cloner or the like to back up your Mac's entire drive as a disk image, which I THINK should work to a SMB (Windows-hosted) network volume (though admittedly, I've never tried...).

    If you really do want a full backup of your Mac (as opposed to just your files and preferences), your best bet is probably #3. Depending on how it's partitioned you might have trouble booting one (or both) of the computers from it in an emergency, but it'll work fine for restoring things.

    In my house, I do essentially #4 with a non-Time Machine backup from my laptop, except the large drive is hosted from a Mac, for what it's worth.
  3. Shadowrunner thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2008
    Ok a quick response to this...

    Is it possible to do a combo of 3 and 4? I have it set up right now as 4, a NTFS hard drive attached to the desktop and loaded with some music which can be read by the mac (gonna try writing with the MacFUSE stuff when I get home from work).

    For backup purposes, is it possible to create a partition on the external and make it HFS+ so that I could backup the mac side onto it? I'm lost as to how the mac would figure out which partition of the drive to access.. though I think i'm thinking way too hard about it and it's quite simple.

    Any of this sound possible/plausible? If it's possible, it'd be a snap to partition 200GB for the MBP I have, since it's only 120GB in it's self and should never grow much larger than that.

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