HFS+ or FAT32

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by sy0296, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. sy0296, Jun 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012

    sy0296 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    #1
    hi guy, this problem probably has already been discussed to death but i can't find the answer i need...or the answer is probably there but is to techy for me to understand. please bare with my limited computer knowledge

    i understand HFS+ is the newer/superior technology, native to OSX, more stable and flexible than FAT32, and if i decide this disk will only mount to OSX machines then there's no need for a fat32 volume.

    here's my question:
    what if time to time i need to move files to a PC (probably >5% of the time), can i connect this drive to my mac, connect another external drive that's formatted to fat32 (likely a USB thumb drive), and copy the file's I need over for that one for the PC to read/copy?

    the scenario is this: i often travel to undeveloped countries where i'm very limited to how i can copy files to another computer that may need to access my files (e.g. presentations, documents, spreadsheet, etc). can i copy the file from the HFS+ external drive to another FAT32 external drive or USB thumb drive for a 2nd PC to read/write?

    i don't usually need the drive to be accessible across multiple platforms because all the computers at home are macs as are most at work. i just need to be able to copy/move files every once in a while from the drive to a PC when sending files over a network is not available. not sure if i'm stating my question correctly, but i'm just asking if i decide to format my new drive to HFS+ can I copy files from that drive to another drive that it's in FAT32 format for another PC to read/write? i'm confusing myself, lol

    also, side note, if i'm in boot camp or parallel running windows, can i still read/write to the HFS+ volume?

    i understand i can create a small partition for this purpose but since i'll probably only need it >5% of the time i'd rather not waste the disc space which is only 256Gb

    sorry for the long read and thanks for the help!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    Yes, Mac OS X can natively read/write HFS+, FAT32 and exFAT. For simple file transfers, just use a USB flash drive, formatted as FAT32. If you install Paragon, Mac OS X can read/write to NTFS, as well.
    Windows cannot natively read/write to HFS+. You can install MacDrive to enable that.

    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.
     
  3. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #3
    I'd just carry a couple of high capacity USB sticks (good quality) format one as FAT32 or EX-Fat, the other as HTFS. You are covered for both platforms then...The FAT32 will read and write PC data, the HTFS for Mac.

    You should then be covered. It's best to avoid the real cheapie sticks...I've had issues with them before...Sandisk are my personal choice, but plenty to choose from..just avoid the real cheap ones...:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=USB+drives

    ----------


    Cross posted...GGJ has all you need to know and more!!:)
     
  4. sy0296 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    #4
    thanks for the detailed answers!!!! i understand it now. will be formatting the new drive to HFS+

    on a side note, how did i type HPF+ in the title, lol. did i make you guys think a new file system was recently created?
     
  5. Macman45, Jun 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012

    Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
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    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #5
    No, to be honest I didn't even notice!!!:D
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    LOL, no, we understood what you meant. If you want to change your thread title, click the "Edit" button on your original post, then click "Go Advanced" and you will see where to edit the thread title.
     
  7. sy0296 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    #7
    i guess i should ask...what's the normal practice for you guys? HFS+ or FAT32?
     
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #8
    I use HFS+ for anything Mac related. If I need to share files with a Windows PC, I usually use Dropbox or WiFi transfer, but I do have Paragon installed, in case I need to directly connect to a NTFS drive, which is the most common format for Windows. I rarely touch FAT32.
     
  9. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #9
    I'm all HTFS on three Macs, and use 4 USB pen drives for importing photos etc. Usually for a buddy who has a PC but has never really learned how to copy files etc. He is bringing over 3 old Cameras today that he "Found" in a drawer...With a 21 in 1 card reader in my MBP and a top end Epson printer that reads pretty much anything I should be able to get the photos off and burn him a DVD....It's the only use I have for my optical drives!:D


    Should add that my Pegasus uses a form of HTFS "Turbo" designated GS, but it's just a more efficient and faster way of dealing with the same partition format.
     
  10. sy0296 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    #10
    thank you for everyone's help! i'm much better educated now
     
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #11
    HTFS? Is that a hybrid between HFS+ and NTFS? :D Or are you really running HTFS?
     
  12. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #12
    :D No, it was a joke....Am interested in the Promise "Turbo" version though...Im guessing it's a Thunderbolt dedicated format? Certainly increases the speed...It's spoiled me for even the fastest HDD's, but Promise say very little about it's architecture.. A better faster way of dealing with RAID array's I think. Can't complain about the R4 though, except that the interface is very non-user friendly....Took me a couple of factory re-sets to get the system setup the way I want it.

    TM backups....From scratch what would have taken 12 or so hours took 19 minutes on the R4....Dail backups are imperceptible so whatever they have in that partition coupled with the T/Bolt cable certainly does the trick. Only gripe is the price, but I'm sure that when I need more capacity they will have dropped as they become more mainstream...Apple now offer them as an "item you might want to consider" when you spec. a new Mac. £849? Yea, right I'll have two please...:D
     
  13. dammerl macrumors regular

    dammerl

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Location:
    Europe
    #13
    Let me add a word of warning concerning exFAT:

    For interoperability I used to format my larger external drives as exFAT, mainly for movie storage. One day I noticed some weird write problems, e.g. the volume got ejected during file writes or copied files didn't show up immediately. This ended with the impossibility to remount the volume and I had to force-disconnect the drive. As result the drive was no longer readable and I had to use recovery software to salvage 80% of my movies.

    As the drive was (and still is) physically OK I strongly believe that this could happen only because of exFAT's single file allocation table (which is mentioned in the wiki article as "disadvantage"). I never had failures of comparable severity with other file systems in the last 20 years.

    I now use HFS+ whenever possible, otherwise NTFS for hard drives and FAT32 for USB sticks.
     
  14. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #14
    I used Disk Utility to partition a USB stick. One partition is FAT32 and the other is HFS+. It mounts as two volumes on Macs but Windows only sees the FAT32 portion. Then if you want to get a bit sneaky you can use Disk Utility to encrypt a portion of the HFS+ as a .dmg folder for your really sensitive stuff. Do I trust this - not really - but so far it has worked OK.
     
  15. moataz83 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia
    #15
    exFAT and WiFi sharing

    (GGJstudios)
    - what is your opinion in formatting ext drive to 2 partitions: HFS+ for timemachine backups & exFAT to be used as a cross platform drive, to move files from/to PC?

    - How do you share a file from windows with a Mac through WiFi?

    thanks, this thread has been very informative
     
  16. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #16
    That should work fine, as long as the particular Windows computers you're using are compatible with exFAT. See the link in the 2nd bullet point under exFAT in my earlier post.
    Mac 101: File Sharing
    Share Files from Mac OS X to Windows PC’s Easily
    File Sharing Mac OS X Lion and PC Windows 7
     

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