Hello, I'm looking for a Portable HD for my Mac & PC. Any Recommendations??

phatjoe

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 28, 2008
62
0
IL
Hello,

I’m looking for a relatively small portable hard drive that’s has 1TB capacity, and no power cord (powered via USB).
I’d like to be able to plug/unplug between my Mac and PC without any hiccups (at no time would both computers be hooked up to the drive at the same time).

I went to Western Digitals website and they break out their My Passport drives by PC and Mac models. So that worries me.

Any recommendations on a compatible drive between my Mac & PC that will not give me issues? I’m open to any brand.

Thanks,
P
 
Nov 28, 2010
22,670
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located
Any HDD, internal or external, can be used with Mac OS X and Windows (if that is what you refer to with "PC"), it just comes down to the right file system (format):
FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
  • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
  • Maximum file size: 4GB.
  • Maximum volume size: 2TB
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: Install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free)
  • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx 33USD).
  • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard, 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
HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended)
  • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
  • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner backups of Mac internal hard drive.
  • To Read/Write HFS+ from Windows, Install MacDrive
  • To Read HFS+ (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
  • Maximum file size: 8EiB
  • Maximum volume size: 8EiB
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
 

phatjoe

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 28, 2008
62
0
IL
Thanks for the response. Very much appreciated.

I have a couple of thumbdrives that I can plug/unplug between my macbook air, and HP laptop. Both the MBA/HP have no issues accessing the data.

I guess I'm looking for something similar but 1TB.

Based on the note above, seems like FAT32 is the appropriate format. Any portable 1TB drive someone can recommend that's FAT32?

I know nothing about file formats....:( sad...I know
 
Nov 28, 2010
22,670
28
located
Based on the note above, seems like FAT32 is the appropriate format. Any portable 1TB drive someone can recommend that's FAT32?

I know nothing about file formats....:( sad...I know
You can format any HDD yourself, via Mac OS X or via Windows, thus you can buy any available HDD, even if it does not say, that it is compatible with Windows.

Just make sure to use the correct partition map scheme, which is Master Boot Record in Disk Utility. Also know, that FAT32 is called "MS-DOS" ind Disk Utilty.
The following link, shows you how to format any new HDD, but the guide was made for HFS+, thus adjust appropriately.

And here are some helpful links for using Disk Utility:
 

MisterMe

macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
10,648
29
USA
...

Based on the note above, seems like FAT32 is the appropriate format. Any portable 1TB drive someone can recommend that's FAT32?

...
It's your drive, but IMHO FAT32 is the least optimal choice. Of the available choices, FAT32 gives you the least flexibility with file and directory (folder) names. It also allows the smallest number of sectors. If you want to share files with friends running Windows 98, then FAT32 is your best bet. With Windows NT-based OSes like Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7--not so much. Virtually every Windows computer in use today and read and write NTFS. Virtually every Mac in use today can read and write NTFS with the installation of the free NTFS-3G driver or commercial NTFS drivers from Tuxera or Paragon. MacOS X 10.6 and MacOS X 10.7 can read and write exFAT out of the box. Windows beginning with Windows XP and going forward can also read and write exFAT out of the box.

You may party like it's 1999, but you shouldn't live like it's 1999. Your choice is between NTFS and exFAT. simsaladimbamba has done an excellent job of explaining each file system. Me? I go with NTFS. I don't use cross-platform HDDs. However, I do use high-capacity USB thumb drives. I use a Windows computer to remove the U3 partition and then use one of my Macs to reformat my cross-platform thumb drives as NTFS. NTFS thumb drives formatted on my Macs work perfectly on my Macs and Windows computers.
 

Sonhascome

macrumors 6502
Feb 18, 2010
272
0
Maryland
staples was just running a special on a toshiba canvio 1tb 2.5" hard drive for 70 bucks. I picked up two of them, you should look into it
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
91
Poole, England
I have a Samsung M2 1 TB. It's powered via USB, very portable and is quite fast. I have the USB 3 version so that I can take advantage of it in the future, but it works perfectly well over USB 2. It's formatted into exFAT and is perfect for sharing files between windows and OSX.
 

jterp7

macrumors 6502a
Oct 26, 2011
925
44
If you're running XP (needs a Microsoft update) or newer and OSX SL or Lion (with latest updates) then I'd go with exFAT.
one possible hiccup is if you're plugging this drive into a TV. My plasma for instance will only play from NTFS and FAT32. Thanks to sim for the tip about NTFS3G
 

dub-77

macrumors newbie
Jul 8, 2009
23
0
I got the 1tb western digital "my passport". Its usb powered and i have mine split for my Mac and windows and i have no problem switching between the two.
Very small and compact.
 
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