How to format an external hard drive to make it work without issues on Mac/windows

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by chad.petree, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. chad.petree macrumors 6502

    chad.petree

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    #1
    Now that I'm using Windows I have to reformat my external hard drive that I use to backup my files (documents, music and large hd movie files ) , which format would you recommend that I use ? Exfat is newer and better than NTFS right ? Also as far as I can remember you cannot write files on a NTFS hard drive , let's say I go for exfat , which size should I use for the formatting ? 128 is the standard right , do I need more than that for my usage ?
     
  2. danwestbrook macrumors regular

    danwestbrook

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    #2
    Yes EXFat is the best format if you need to use it with Windows and MacOS.
     
  3. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

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    #3
    I still use HFS for Mac and NTFS for Windows, because exFat is not that stable. Then I use third party drivers to access NTFS on Mac and HFS on Windows.
     
  4. chad.petree thread starter macrumors 6502

    chad.petree

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    #4
    What do you mean by unstable, does the data gets corrupted or something like the computer not recognizing the disk happens?
     
  5. rigormortis macrumors 68000

    rigormortis

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    #5
    I never had problems with ExFAT. I have several files on an external that are 20 gigs in size. And I need Mac and windows compatibility. And fat32 has a 4 gig limit.
     
  6. torana355 macrumors 68020

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  7. rigormortis macrumors 68000

    rigormortis

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    #7
    If you have an external disk and you need NTFS and HFS and you think exfat is not stable. Then I think by all means, you should just get a NAS with a RAID
     
  8. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

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    #8
    I lost over 100GB of data stored on an exFat partition when I plugged my hard disk to windows PC. I tried everything I could but I couldn't recover them.
    Until now I still have no idea why that would happen but it happened.
     
  9. torana355 macrumors 68020

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    #9
    That could have been caused by anything, to make a general statement that ExFat is unstable is simply not true. I was using drivers on the Pc to read Mac Formatted drives and had issues with that aswell. Ended up having to reformat the drive.
     
  10. chad.petree thread starter macrumors 6502

    chad.petree

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    #10
    Looks like exfat it is but what about the size of the allocation units (that's the rough German translation ) ? On the drop down menu it says "standard size " but what's the standard size ? 512 bytes ? 64 kilobytes ? 4096 bytes ? What do you recommend?
     
  11. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

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    #11
    Use default.
    Different disk size applies different block size. Larger partition requires larger block size, and vice versa.
     
  12. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

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    #12
    But this can completely destroys my confidence on exFat.
    Anyway, I give it up.
     
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #13
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journaling_file_system

    The issue with ExFAT is it is not a journaled file system, so it is more susceptible to data corruption from a power outage or cable disconnect if in the middle of a file transfer/copy. If you are real careful with both those issues, ExFAT can safely be used.
     
  14. chad.petree thread starter macrumors 6502

    chad.petree

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    #14
    Would something like that damage the whole disk/ a section of the disk or just damage the data that was being transferred?
     
  15. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

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    #15
    Both parts.
     
  16. mrex macrumors 68020

    mrex

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    #16
    Problem with exfat is that not all devices support it. If you ever going to attach the drive to be part of the nas, it will be be a problem. Some nases only support ntfs and hfs+. There is no quarantees that exfat will be supported either. Some nas manufacturers provides some kind of support - if i dont remember wrong, synology offers you to buy an add-on for exfat drives.
     
  17. chad.petree thread starter macrumors 6502

    chad.petree

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    #17
    Ok one last question, usually you format your hard drive with a "quick formating" but if you opt out, it takes seriously way too long, I left my laptop on last night and woke up today at 9 am and it sitll wasnt done, it was around 35% , so i canceled it, why does it take so long, is it really worth to format the drive in that manner? As far as I know it's just useful to prevent people from recovering data from your disc, is that true?
     
  18. mrex, Jul 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016

    mrex macrumors 68020

    mrex

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    #18
    formatting drive doesnt actually remove data. if you want to get rid of the data, you need to do more than just basic formatting.

    new drives are always good to format fully, not just the quick format. Doing full formatting every sectors are checked.
     
  19. chad.petree thread starter macrumors 6502

    chad.petree

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    #19
    Its not a new drive, its an external drive, that I have since 3 years, but I Just wanted to format it so I can use between and imac and a windows laptop, maybe now that I interrupted the full formatting its a good idea to use a full formating and not just a quick one :(
     
  20. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #20
    All you need to do is the quick format.
     
  21. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #22
    I have used exFAT extensively in both OS X and Windows on the same computer, switching between the two operating systems. It was nice to have a read/write drive available to both operating systems without running any third party software. Unfortunately, initial OS support for exFAT was pretty bad on both sides, maybe beta quality at best. I had corruption issues about once every two or three weeks.

    When this happened, Windows would switch to read-only mode for the exFAT drive, I assume out of fear for making things worse. OS X just merrily kept using the drive, resulting in all manner of weird problems. In OS X, Disk Utility refused to repair exFAT drives, although I could drop to the command line and fix it there. Windows CHKDSK could usually, but not always, repair the drive. I never lost a file though.

    Also, none of the backup programs I used would work with the exFAT drive in any capacity. They won't back it up, nor will they accept it as a destination for backups.

    However, today it is a completely different story. Same drive, same computer, but newer versions of OS X and Windows. It works very reliably now, no problems. (Backup might still not work...I haven't tried that in years.)
     

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