How should I format an external drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by steken, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. steken macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    #1
    I want to purchase a external hard drive as a back up. Problem is I want to be able (in the first instance) to transfer files off my old computer and then be able to plug it into my iMac and be able to read and write to this disk and its files. Is there a type of format that both systems can handle?

    Regards, Steken
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #2
    FAT32 and it should come that way as default.
     
  3. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

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    Location:
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    #3
    If you are only going to use this hard drive on your Mac exclusively after you get the files on it, you don't want FAT32. You want to choose the Mac OS Extended (Journaled). If you do that you won't hook it to the PC at all. Then to actually transfer the files set up an ethernet network between the two computers and then transfer the files by dragging and dropping (a chore yes). Or if you don't have tons of files burn them to a DVD on the PC and then put them on the Mac from the DVD.

    Now, if all the files you get off the PC would fit on the Mac's internal HD after you got them off the PC, then feel free to use FAT32 and hook the external first to the PC to copy. If you do that then you could simply move the external HD over to the Mac and copy all files to the internal Mac HD, then reformat the external via Disk Utility to make it Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
     
  4. wackymacky macrumors 65832

    wackymacky

    #4
    HSF+ rather than FAT.

    I would agree that if you are using the HD with just a mac or an exclusive mac network then you should use HSF+ format (apple format) rather that FAT. (using firewire rather than USB 2 if you can)

    If you want to access the drive from a PC too then FAT32 is best. This is likely to be how the disk comes out of the box

    If you plan to use the disk for "Time Machine" with OSX 10.5 (Leopard), the drive MUST be formatted in HSF+.
     
  5. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    Feb 2, 2007
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    #5
    if you want to get the best out of your external in OS X then format it to HFS+ no questions. if you want to be able to read and write in windows then get macdrive. its awesome. allows you to write to an HFS+ disk while in windows. it also labels the disk with a little apple so you know HFS+.
     
  6. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #6
    Where did you learn this?

    I can see that there might be a problem since Time Machine uses a bundle to backup your files. On FAT32 a single file would be limited to less then 4 GB.

    Not to mention backing up to a remote location.
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #7
    I think it was widely touted to be true earlier in the Leopard developer process. I'm not sure whether it spouted purely from speculation on the community's part or if it actually was envisioned that way by Apple at one point. Although clearly it appears to now not be true.
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
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    #8
    Does it still use the bundle? :rolleyes:

    It should still work under FAT32 since it technically isn't a single file.
     
  9. wackymacky macrumors 65832

    wackymacky

    #9
    Both on the Apple web site; http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/timemachine.htm and I asked AppleCare.

    (I was getting a 500GB drive for time machine)
     
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #10
  11. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #11
    It's "html" not "htm." The page says:

    [​IMG]

    But they've said varying things over time. I.E, they've said in other contexts, apparently, that Airdisk would be supported. And the press has reported from betas that it does indeed let you do this "bundle" thing, although it would seem that the requirement that even network disks be served from Leopard has something to do with the multiple hard links technology that Time Machine uses.
     
  12. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #12
    I managed to find that little clip on Apple's website as well.

    It does bring into question the usage of Time Machine over non-Apple protocols and storage systems.
     

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