Hard drive format for current Windows/future Mac external HDD

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jgc, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. jgc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I'll try to be clear as I can. I currently have a Windows 7 laptop that I use as my only computer. I plan on replacing it with a 2012 13" MBA/MBP whenever they come out. I recently broke my external hard drive so I purchased a new Seagate GoFlex FreeAgent 2TB external HDD to use for video/data storage and backups. Being a Mac and external hard drive newbie, I'm just trying to figure out the formatting of the drive.

    I understand it will be formatted as NTFS when it arrives. That's great and I know Mac can write to it but I know in order to do TimeMachine backups in the future I'll need to convert to HFS+. What will be the best way to go by doing this? I was thinking about leaving an NTFS partition of a few hundred gigs and the rest would be HFS+. I may be using this computer again or running Windows 7 via Bootcamp to access some engineering programs that are required for my school and work terms, which is why I would still like some NTFS space. If I move the videos to an HFS+ partition however, will I be unable to access them while on Win7? Or should I leave the videos on the NTFS and only use HFS+ for TimeMachine backups? Ideally I'd be able to watch the videos from both OS X and Win 7.

    I know I'm probably clear as mud at this point but hopefully someone has some suggestions on how to deal with this. I tried using the search function on this forum and on Google but my problem seems to be a bit specific. Cheers.

    Justin
     
  2. DockMac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    #2
    FAT is the most compatible between OS X and Win 7. The only problem is that big files bigger than 4GB aren't supported.
     
  3. jgc thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #3
    Yeah, that's a definite option but I'll be close to that. A lot of my high-def videos are pushing 3+ GB. I looked into it a bit more and it says that if I pay $20 for Paragon then I'll be able to read/write on NTFS instead of just reading (default). This way I can use NTFS for everything except an HFS+ partition for Time Machine. Has anyone done this with good results?
     
  4. DockMac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    #4
    I've seen posts on other people's success with Paragon. I haven't tried it myself.

    There is also a "free" way to do it, but it's not as easy nor as stable as the Paragon solution.
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    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 (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion)
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, 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.
     

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