How can I backup my MacBook onto Maxtor OneTouch without reformatting everything?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by VixenFloral, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. VixenFloral macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2012
    This may be a OneTouch issue more than a MacBook one, but I really need some help.

    My MacBook has been acting strange so I need to backup my files before I lose anything. I have a Maxtor OneTouch external hard drive that I'd like to use, but when I plugged it into my laptop, the Time Machine comes up and then a warning saying that in order to use it, I'd have to reformat the hard drive. There are pictures on the hard drive, so reformatting isn't an option.

    Is there a way for me to use OneTouch to transfer my files on my Mac without reformatting? Or do I need to get another external hard drive?
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Just copy the files/folders you want to backup manually, as it seems, the Maxtor is using FAT32 or NTFS as file system, thus Mac OS X specific backup applications don't work with that.


    Overview of the four major file systems (called "Formats" in Mac OS X) used on Windows and Mac OS X, compiled by GGJstudios. You can use Disk Utility to format any HDD to your liking.

    Any external hard drive will work with PCs or Macs, as long as the connectors are there (Firewire, USB, etc.) It doesn't matter how the drive is formatted out of the box, since you can re-format any way you like. Formatting can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility, found in the /Applications/Utilities folder. Here are your formatting options:

    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.

    PS: If you have really important data, data you can't afford to lose, think about backing up twice.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The issue is the OneTouch is formatted that is not compatible to OSX - at least write access. If Time Machine complains about using this, then you're only option is to reformat. That or buy a new one
  4. VixenFloral thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2012
    Thanks, everyone! Looks like I'll be getting another external hard drive, then!

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