HFS vs FAT & NTFS general questions

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by orvn, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. orvn macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #1
    So I've been a Mac user for a while now and have formatted all my drives in to HFS.

    When I switched a little under two years ago, I discovered that my NTFS and FAT external drives were read-only when USB'd in to my OSX machine.

    Can OSX not write to these filesystems? Is there a workaround?

    Can FAT/NTFS Windows and EXT/UFS *nix read/write to HFS drives? (I've never really checked).

    I ask because I'm curious about it, I don't have a pressing ongoing issue of any sort.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    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 $36).
    • Some have had good results with Paragon (approx $20)
    • 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
    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 or SuperDuper! 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
     
  3. orvn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
  4. ChumBuckets macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    #4

    GGJstudios YOU RULE!
    I was searching for all this info, driving me mad, and here you have it all nice and short!
    Two thumbs up!
     
  5. Dipenptl macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    #5
    Quick question which one is better? I recently formatted my all drives to HFS but before i backup old data to them i would like to know that Apple File system is better then Windows or its other way?
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    It depends on how you use your drives. If you only use your drives with Macs, the HFS+ is the best choice, and the only choice if you're using the drive for backups of your system. If you routinely share a drive with Windows PCs, NTFS or exFAT are better choices, depending on which version of Mac OS X you run. FAT32 is too limited and is more commonly found on flash drives.
     
  7. BergerFan macrumors 68020

    BergerFan

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    Mos Eisley
    #7
    I should've known MacRumors would be the place where I'd find a concise and cohesive answer.
    I got my new Retina MacBook Pro yesterday. It's my first Mac, after being a Windows user since 1994(iOS veteran since 2007).
    My dual, 3TB Seagate GoFlex drives were NTFS, and I assumed that OS X was fully compatible out of the box. I got a shock when I couldn't save files to them.
    Other sites were inconclusive or contradictory in their answers.

    Many thanks! :D
     
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #8
    Actually, that post is a bit dated, so here's a more current version:

    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 ($19.95) (Best Choice for Lion and Mountain Lion)
      • For Mac OS X 10.5 and later, including Lion, FUSE for OS X
      • 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 later versions, 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.
     
  9. orvn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
  10. rpg51 macrumors 6502

    rpg51

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    #10
    Not sure about this but

    I think the read write limits may not apply if the drive is accessed via a network connection as opposed to direct computer usb port connection.
     
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #11
    While network drives aren't being discussed in this thread, that's correct that the formatting limitations don't apply to network drives.
     
  12. SteveGoonex077 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2013
    #12
    Can be used not only that. I bought the Paragon HFS+ for Windows 9in last year. And I do not regret having paid - now my Windows a calm works with HFS+. Macdriver was very difficult for me.
    ohh!By the way I now looked at their website already has a new version!
     

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