how do i format my external HDD for mac AND windows?

aye5882

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 13, 2006
68
0
hey guys. i just bought the Seagate Freeagent 250GB external hard drive. I've already formatted it using disk utility and used Mac OS Extended (Journaled). the problem is that my friends who use windows cannot detect the hard drive. Can i format it another way so it can be used for both mac and windows?

thanks!
 

swiftaw

macrumors 603
Jan 31, 2005
6,309
20
Omaha, NE, USA
How are they trying to connect to the hard drive, via a network or by directly connecting it to their PC's?

Over a network the drive should be seen by Windows machines (although you may need to change the permissions on the drive to grant everyone access), if they are directly connecting they are going to need a utility call MacDrive.
 

aye5882

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 13, 2006
68
0
How are they trying to connect to the hard drive, via a network or by directly connecting it to their PC's?

Over a network the drive should be seen by Windows machines (although you may need to change the permissions on the drive to grant everyone access), if they are directly connecting they are going to need a utility call MacDrive.
they're connecting via USB 2.0. that's weird tho... cuz i can connect to my friends' external w/ no problem... y can't they do the same thing w/ mine???
 

swiftaw

macrumors 603
Jan 31, 2005
6,309
20
Omaha, NE, USA
they're connecting via USB 2.0. that's weird tho... cuz i can connect to my friends' external w/ no problem... y can't they do the same thing w/ mine???
Windows cannot read/write HFS+ (Mac OS Formated) natively. There is a utility call MacDrive that allows Windows to read/write HFS+

Macs can read but not write to NTFS formatted drives, which is the Windows standard

Both Macs and PC's can read/write to FAT32 formatted drives but FAT32 has restrictions on file sizes.
 

aye5882

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 13, 2006
68
0
Windows cannot read/write HFS+ (Mac OS Formated) natively. There is a utility call MacDrive that allows Windows to read/write HFS+

Macs can read but not write to NTFS formatted drives, which is the Windows standard

Both Macs and PC's can read/write to FAT32 formatted drives but FAT32 has restrictions on file sizes.
great! thanks for the advice!

btw, do you know how to play your ipod on both mac and windows (bootcamp)??
 

aye5882

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 13, 2006
68
0
Format the iPod using iTunes for Windows. The iPod should then be accessible in both iTunes for Windows and iTunes for Mac.
ahh.. ok. but does that mean that i can only add songs to the ipod in windows? cuz i primarily use osx. :confused:
 

darthmullet

macrumors member
Aug 4, 2006
69
0
too many limitations....not to mention that FAT32 SUCKS!!!!!
True, but for an iPod, do you really need to have files over 4 GB? It's nice to be able to use the iPod on friend's computers too...

Depending what you are using the external HD for, you might want to make 2 partitions, one in FAT 32 for Mac/Windows and one in HFS+ for mac (with better performance). There is also a free utility that lets you extract data from HFS+ drives through windows for free: HFSExplorer.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
32
Singapore
True, but for an iPod, do you really need to have files over 4 GB? It's nice to be able to use the iPod on friend's computers too...

Depending what you are using the external HD for, you might want to make 2 partitions, one in FAT 32 for Mac/Windows and one in HFS+ for mac (with better performance). There is also a free utility that lets you extract data from HFS+ drives through windows for free: HFSExplorer.
true that files probably wont be over 4gb on an ipod... i do have video files that reach 2gb tho. some people like playing their ipods on tv's and stuff...that may require files to be larger than 4gb.
how did we get onto ipods btw ????? :eek:

2 partitions is actually a good idea, i have that setup on my external... a nice big amount of space for osx (HFS+), then another big space for my games for windows (FAT32). its a good idea beacuse u can read both from the osx side.
i do however have macdrive....so i dont really have any limitations.

have u used that free program HFSExploer??? have u found it to be reliable/consistent?
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
6
Adelaide, Australia
There aren't that many real world limitations...


  • You can't use certain characters in the file names.
  • File names are limited in size.
  • Files are limited to under 4GB.


The last one is the biggest limitation IMO. :)
 

kinesin

macrumors regular
Jun 10, 2006
119
0
To get round the 4GB limit of FAT32 you can format it as NTFS, which I believe is read only under mac.
However using MacFuse it's possible to install read/write NTFS support. See the link:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/how-to-read-and-write-ntfs-windows-partition-on-mac-os-x.html

It all depends on what purpose the external drive is for. If you've got a Intel mac then might be worth formating with HFS+ &using SuperDuper/CC to clone your main drive. AT least you will be able to boot off it later if needed(yes they USB boot). I've currently using MacDrive6 on Win2k to read/write my spare MacOS drive.

If it's full of movies/music that might be plugged into your divx player/friends PC keep it NTFS of FAT32.
 

darthmullet

macrumors member
Aug 4, 2006
69
0
have u used that free program HFSExploer??? have u found it to be reliable/consistent?
I have never had any trouble with it the few times I used it. That said, I wouldn't rely on it for "mission critical" situations. But for sharing data to friends, where you don't want to buy something, it is wonderful.

To get round the 4GB limit of FAT32 you can format it as NTFS, which I believe is read only under mac.
However using MacFuse it's possible to install read/write NTFS support. See the link:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/how-to-read-and-write-ntfs-windows-partition-on-mac-os-x.html
I have done this, and I would suggest that it is not in fact for the casual user, but is a good solution nonetheless. It is fairly simple to set up a shell script, containing something like this:
sudo mkdir /Volumes/"Windows"
sudo ntfs-3g /dev/disk0s3 /Volumes/"Windows" -o ping_diskarb,volname="Windows"
(this mounts my Windows XP bootcamped partition as a network drive with read/write access) that runs on startup, so it could be a useful solution, if you want to go the NTFS route.
I prefer, however, to use HFS+ because it also allows me to boot Mac OS X, etc. and is a better file system (in my not so great experience).
 

aye5882

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 13, 2006
68
0
hey guys. i'm the op and i just tried formatting my seagate hard drive to fat32 using disk utility and i can't find the right format. i pick my hard drive on the left and go under the 'erase' tab. all the formats seem to only be in mac osx (mac osx, mac osx journaled, mac osx journaled, case-sensitive). i can't find anything associated w/ windows format. :confused:

any suggestions??
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
32
Singapore
hey guys. i'm the op and i just tried formatting my seagate hard drive to fat32 using disk utility and i can't find the right format. i pick my hard drive on the left and go under the 'erase' tab. all the formats seem to only be in mac osx (mac osx, mac osx journaled, mac osx journaled, case-sensitive). i can't find anything associated w/ windows format. :confused:

any suggestions??
make sure your GUID partition table is set to MS-DOS. not to the apple one. once u format the drive as an actual windows drive it should be able to format as fat32
 

aye5882

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 13, 2006
68
0
that is the mac name for their intel patition table... apple partition map is the ppc computers and MBR(master boot record) is the windoze (you want the MBR)
i'm sorry but i'm so lost right now. i'm a newbie when it comes to macs... can you please give me a walkthrough on where to go and what to click?

thanks!
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
32
Singapore
i'm sorry but i'm so lost right now. i'm a newbie when it comes to macs... can you please give me a walkthrough on where to go and what to click?

thanks!
lol sure.

1. open disk utility (located in applications>utilities>"disk utility")
2.select your external hdd (make sure its plugged in!!)
3.navigate to the "partition" tab.
4.hit the "options" button
5.a window will pop up with 3 options, GUID table, Apple partition table, and Master boot record. you want to tick the master boot record.
6.go to the "format" button, select "MS-DOS"
7. hit format.....

DONE!!!!!

it should work, here are a few pictures to help along the way.
oh btw: picture 1 below represents task3, picture 2 represents task4/5, the last pic represents task 6
ah and also: u dont have to make it 2 partitions (sections) like i have... thats just how i roll
 

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