How do I view the files in an external HD on my Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Zen Desk Pro, Aug 25, 2015.

  1. Zen Desk Pro macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #1
    Hey guys,

    I need to figure out how to view the files on my external WD hard drive.


    I plug it into my Macbook and I see the HD listed under storage in Sys. Pref., however, I'm unable to actually go in and view the files.


    My end goal here is to do a couple of things:

    Reformat my brand new Seagate HD to a format compatible with both Windows and Mac at the same time.
    Physically copy over all of the files from my WD HD over to that Seagate (and move a few on to my Mac HD


    Can I do this? Is my WD HD formatted incorrectly to allow me to do this? It worked on my old Windows PC laptop. Will I have to format the WD HD? And will that erase all of the contents on the HD? (NOT an option).

    Thanks.
     
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #2
    It maybe formatted in ntfs but that shouldn't stop you 'viewing' the files.

    Try installing one of the many tools to enable ntfs read/write comparability on your mac.

    As for what format to use you've a choice exfat or ntfs.
     
  3. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #3
    To view the old WD Disk: Do you you have the Finder Preferences... set to show External disks on the desktop (in General tab)? Do you you have the Finder Preferences... set to show External disks on the Sidebar (in Sidebar tab)? Make sure those are checked to have external disks appear.

    Format for new Seagate HD: Use the Disk Utility app in the Utilities folder to format (Erase) for Exfat. Mac and PC can read/write to that format and it does not have the 4 Gb file size limitation like FAT does. NOTE: Exfat is not bootable for Windows but will work for file storage without having to install 3rd party software to write to NTFS format disks.
     
  4. Zen Desk Pro thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #4
    Yeah. I have both of the tabs checked off for external drives.

    Maybe I'm just not approaching this the right way? What I'm doing right now is going into About this Mac > Storage

    Is this the right way to get to my files? Or am I doing that wrong?
     
  5. Zen Desk Pro thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #5
    I'm really dumb. I just noticed that they were stored on my desktop on my other monitor (Macbook) I'm using the Thunderbolt display right now.

    Also, I guess you just go to Go > Computer, then select your drive.

    I have a question, though. Why is it that I'm able to open and view all of my content on the hard drive on my Mac? I thought the drive needed to be formatted first?
     
  6. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #6
    I'm assuming your referring to the old external WD hard drive that was used with your PC. It would probably be formatted in Windows NTFS which the Mac can read, but not write to.
     
  7. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #7
    No, that is just System status information.
    Use the Go menu in Finder, the Sidebar in a open Finder window, or double click the WD disk icon on the desktop
     
  8. Zen Desk Pro thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #8
    I'm not the biggest tech guy in the world, so please bare with me when I ask this, but:

    What exactly is the difference between being able to read content on a disc and being able to boot it?

    When you say that exfat is not bootable in Windows, what do you mean?
     
  9. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #9
    No problem. If you were planning on having the Windows OS on it so you could boot into Windows from it then it will not work. You can not install Windows OS on an Exfat formatted disk. You can not install or run Windows apps from it. You can store data/media files (i.e. pictures, music, documents).
     
  10. Zen Desk Pro thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #10
    Perfect!

    Thanks again for your help. I'll reformat it to exFAT, then.
     

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