Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by rasmusDoh, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. rasmusDoh macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2009

    I have an external WD HDD that i used to ude with my old PC, so it's NTFS formatted. I use NTFS-3G, so i can both read and write.

    Are there any reasons for me to copy all the stuff on it to my internal drive, reformat it in HFS+ and move the stuff back again?

    Would it make the external drive faster and more integrated with
    Mac OS X?

    Also, would doing that make it unreadable on PCs?

  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
  3. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    I don't know what "more integrated" means, but HFS+ is less prone to file corruption than NTFS due to its journaling system, and unlike NTFS, it doesn't experience problems with fragmentation. If you're not going to be using it with Windows PCs, I'd recommend reformatting it, but it's not like the drive is going to stop working because you don't do so.
  4. rasmusDoh thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2009
    Alright, i can see that my question was a bit weird, so let me rephrase it:

    Moving files TO my NTFS formatted external is super, super slow.
    Is this because Writing on NTFS drives is generally slow in Mac OS X?

    Would it then help me Read and Write from and to my external drive faster, if i reformatted in HFS+?

    It's driving me crazy, that it takes hours to backup some GBs worth of files to the external drive!
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Yes, writing to NTFS is slower than HFS+. If you're only making a backup of your internal hard drive and don't need that backup to be natively read by Windows, use HFS+.
  6. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    The reason for the Mac writing to NTFS formatted drives is that NTFS-3G isn't made or supported by Microsoft. So that means that the developers of it must reverse engineer most if not everything about it. I would suggest that you do format it as HFS+ because NTFS-3G isn't overly reliably, it can sometimes cause data corruption and other anomalies on the drive.
  7. rasmusDoh thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2009
    Do you know how much we are talking about?
    If it's a good deal faster i'll go with it and download MacDrive if i have to use it on a PC sometime in the future!
  8. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Even though NTFS is a Microsoft invention, lots of the software engineers say that even Microsoft doesn't understand it, so it's not surprising that the developers of NTFS-3G had a hard time.
  9. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    The best choice, for compatibility and speed, would be to use FAT32. But there are limitations to using it. I do know that the biggest file size it limited to 4GBs. If you do choose to use this you must first disable NTFS-3G using the pref pane then reboot your Mac, copy everything you want to save to the desktop, open Disk Utility format the drive with Windows FAT, copy everything back to the drive, re-enable NTFS-3G, and reboot your Mac.

    Before you do this please read up on the limitations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table#FAT32.
  10. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Since it sounds like you're not generally using it with a Windows machine, I'd personally recommend HFS over FAT; while FAT will work more smoothly than NTFS on a Mac, it's really a pretty crude filesystem--more prone to fragmentation, limited max file size, no journaling, etc.

    Were I in your situation, personally, I'd go HFS, since you can be sure that's going to run as fast as the drive is capable of with a Mac, and you will never have any filesystem-related issues down the line (apart from an inability to read the drive on Windows).

    Tip: If you do reformat, go all the way and fully repartition, so you're not stuck with an MBR partition map. HFS theoretically works with one, but there's no sense in not going with GUID (or APM) if you're going HFS.

    To do this, select the hardware drive rather than the partition in the left panel in Disk Utility, go to the "partition" tab, select "1 partition" from the popup, make that single partition Mac OS Extended (Journaled), then click the "Options" button--that's where you select the type of partition map to use. Check the GUID button, click OK, and click the "Apply" button at bottom right. Bingo, completely Mac-centric HFS drive
  11. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    There's no good file system for both OS's.

    OS X can't write to NTFS
    Windows can't write to HFS
    OS X is slow as a dog when copying files to FAT32

    However, both OS's support FAT32. I'd use that, for best compatibility, if possible.
  12. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008

    They CAN, just not natively.
  13. rasmusDoh thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2009
    Think i'm gonna go with HFS+

    Since i've only been a Mac user for like 6 weeks, most of the files on the external drive are Windows files.

    As you know Windows copies all those annoying hidden files (thumbs.db and stuff) when moving something.

    1. Say i move all of my data to my internal drive, reformat the external one in HFS+, and move the files back onto that.
    Will all those hidden Windows files also be copied back the external then?

    2. Also ATM i've got three folders at the "root" folder of my external drive, called:
    System Volume Information

    Am i correct that those are Windows leftovers?
  14. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Yes. You could of course easily enough search for them, select them all, and just delete them en masse, either before or after copying them (command-delete works from the find list, or drag to trash).

    Yes. The first two are related to the Recycling Bin, and the third is where Windows stores restore points. None should have anything you care about in them at this point.
  15. rasmusDoh thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2009

    Are there any easy ways to search and find these hidden Windows files?
    Wanna get rid of them once and for all!
  16. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    thumbs.db is the most common and pervasive of unnecessary Windows background files, so that's the main one you're looking to purge.

    Open a Finder window and navigate to the top level of the drive or folder you want to clean. Type thumbs.db in the search box in the upper right of that window, then select either "This Mac" or the name of the specific drive/folder on the left side of the bar across the top of the window, and click "file name" on the right side of the same bar.

    You should now have a list composed entirely of thumbs.db files in whatever location you told it to search (and all subfolders). Hit command-A to select all (deselect anything you don't want to delete by command-clicking it to unselect that item), then command-delete to send them all to the trash. Or drag to the trash--either works.

    Empty trash and they're gone.

    As an aside, in testing this, I just realized that several folders in my Adobe Photoshop CS3 install have thumbs.db files in them. Now I'm wondering if they're there for some good reason, or if Adobe was so sloppy with their Mac installer that it includes unnecessary cache files for Windows. Given the complete abomination every Adobe installer to date has been, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it was the latter.
  17. bamabruin macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2010
    I recently purchased a 1TB External Drive - Primary use will be for my macbook- Music, Photos, Movies, video capture with FCP, and time machine backups.

    Thus, I would assume HFS+ would be the most appropriate.

    However, I may occasionally want to use this drive with a PC, so would it make sense to create a separate FAT32 partition?
  18. rasmusDoh thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2009
    I reformatted my external drive in HFS+ and it runs much better and more integrated with OS X than NTFS did.

    I've used this drive with my old Dell PC a few times. Downloaded the program MacDrive for Windows, and then reading and writing from and to the drive works just fine.

    I think you should just keep everything on the same HFS+ partition (then you want have to move data back and forth from each partition), as this works fine!
  19. Robert J macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2008
    El Salvador
    HFS+ Best Choice for Me?

    Semi-related question, I just got the LaCie 500GB 7200 RPM Rugged for large file video editing on my MBP. I do not want to use it on PCs and I need maximum reliability. Is HFS+ the best option for me?

  20. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If you're going to only use it with Mac OS X, then HFS+ is the best.
  21. makruiten macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2012
    Waking an old thread, but I use exFAT. It's a modern file system and is natively supported by both Windows XP SP2+ and Apple 10.6.5+. Not useful if you use Linux though.
  22. Allan54 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2011

    I've been doing a lot of research into this for myself and a few friends. Took me awhile to discover that if you are using XP on your windows machine then you have to download and install an update from microsoft. Once that is installed exFAT works like a charm

  23. msandersen macrumors regular


    Jan 7, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    OSX only has native read-access to NTFS, and unlike the original Linux version of NTFS-3G, the Mac port is much slower due to the reliance on FUSE. I cannot speak for their commercial Tuxera NTFS product on Mac. They claim similar speed to the native HFS+. Others have said the comercial version has much faster write speed. There is also Paragon's product. If you must use NTFS, the commercial products are far preferable.
    That said, I would never recommend using NTFS or worse FAT when you are primarily using a Mac for various reasons from performance and reliability for NTFS and any number of reasons for the antiquated FAT which is just horrible (remember those all-uppercase 8.3 FILENA~1.EXT we were cursed with). At most a small partition for interchange, or far preferable MacDrive on the PC to read HFS+. This is especially true of you want to use it for backup, as HFS+ stores metadata and permissions which NTFS doesn't support. OSX doesn't generally use the resource fork anymore, but if you did save program files with resource forks to NTFS or worse FAT, they would be lost.
  24. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Also not useful if you intend to use the drive for backups of your Mac's internal drive, as backups require HFS+.

    Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)

    Choose the appropriate 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
    • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.

    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.

    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

    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.
  25. ScreenOfDeath macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2012
    @rasmusDoh my recommendation would be to make a partition with 90% of disk space under HSF+ to manage your files and a partition with the rest of 10% under FAT32 in case you need to use your hard disk to transfer information from a Windows machine.

    Also you can leave a copy of Bootcamp.msi in your FAT32 partition in case you need to access your HSF+ files under Windows systems. You can get this free tool in your OS disk that came with your computer under Boot Camp -> Drivers -> Apple -> Bootcamp.msi (64bit version also available).

Share This Page