how to format external drive for use on OS X and XP?

otispunkmeyer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 5, 2007
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Middlesbrough UK
just picked up a 160gb maxtor portable hard disk, little 2.5inch thing.

just in the process of formatting it, but what do i do if i want to use the drive on both xp and os x?

the main need really is just for windows to read the disk, it doesnt have to be able to write to it, but for osx i need read and write.

do i just pick the MS-DOS format?
 

scienide09

macrumors 65816
May 5, 2007
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Canada
For both XP and OS X to be able to read and write to the drive, then you have to reformat the drive for FAT32.

I'm not sure what you'd do for full read/write on OS X but only read capability on XP.

You might consider partitioning and formatting the partitions individually based on need, using HFS+ for your Mac and NTFS or FAT32 for the PC partition.
Note that if you use NTFS, your Mac will be able to read but not write to the NTFS partition.

From what I remember, you should do the formatting using Disk Utility on the Mac -- the formatting options in XP artificially limit sizes or somesuch, trying to force the user into using the NTFS file system.

A quick google search for "HFS+" and "XP" popped up a number of hits, if you need more info.
 

Sean Dempsey

macrumors 68000
Aug 7, 2006
1,617
3
For both XP and OS X to be able to read and write to the drive, then you have to reformat the drive for FAT32.

I'm not sure what you'd do for full read/write on OS X but only read capability on XP.

You might consider partitioning and formatting the partitions individually based on need, using HFS+ for your Mac and NTFS or FAT32 for the PC partition.
Note that if you use NTFS, your Mac will be able to read but not write to the NTFS partition.

From what I remember, you should do the formatting using Disk Utility on the Mac -- the formatting options in XP artificially limit sizes or somesuch, trying to force the user into using the NTFS file system.

A quick google search for "HFS+" and "XP" popped up a number of hits, if you need more info.
Windows restricts a FAT32 partition to 32 gigs.

If this is your mac and pc you're using, I recommend just doing Mac formatting and using MacDrive on your PC. Fat32 is old, sloppy, and not to be trusted with large amounts of important data. Plus, it can't write more than 4 gig file sizes.
 

otispunkmeyer

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Original poster
Jun 5, 2007
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Middlesbrough UK
ok ermm... i went ahead an chose mac osx extended? is that the wrong type.. i dont really know what the choices in the disk utility are, none of them seem to match what u are saying

no fat 32, no hfs, :confused:
 

scienide09

macrumors 65816
May 5, 2007
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Canada
Windows restricts a FAT32 partition to 32 gigs.
Yes, I keep reading this. However, my PC recognizes the FAT32 partition on my external HD as a 60GB partition, which is exactly where I set it. I expect the 4GB max file transfer size still applies, but I'm not shuffling around files that big, so I don't worry about it.
I think that using the Mac Disk Utility (which is what I used), instead of a windows program gets you around the specified 32GB limit.

... Fat32 is old, sloppy, and not to be trusted with large amounts of important data.
Agreed. However, as a simple backup system for pics, music, documents, and other files less than 4GB in size, it's quite usable.

ok ermm... i went ahead an chose mac osx extended? is that the wrong type.. i dont really know what the choices in the disk utility are, none of them seem to match what u are saying

no fat 32, no hfs, :confused:
HFS+ is apple's file system. When partitioning with the OS X Disk Utility, Choose the Mac OS extended journaled (or something very similar to that) for your OS X partition.
The FAT32 windows partition (if you go that route) is the MS-Dos option.
 

otispunkmeyer

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Original poster
Jun 5, 2007
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Middlesbrough UK
Yes, I keep reading this. However, my PC recognizes the FAT32 partition on my external HD as a 60GB partition, which is exactly where I set it. I expect the 4GB max file transfer size still applies, but I'm not shuffling around files that big, so I don't worry about it.
I think that using the Mac Disk Utility (which is what I used), instead of a windows program gets you around the specified 32GB limit.



Agreed. However, as a simple backup system for pics, music, documents, and other files less than 4GB in size, it's quite usable.



HFS+ is apple's file system. When partitioning with the OS X Disk Utility, Choose the Mac OS extended journaled (or something very similar to that) for your OS X partition.
The FAT32 windows partition (if you go that route) is the MS-Dos option.
oh guess i did that wrong then lol, never mind, ill just keep it as a mac only drive for now, just really need to get stuff off of the mac onto this drive because the main hdd was pretty full.
 

otispunkmeyer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 5, 2007
302
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Middlesbrough UK
does anyone know how to make HFSExplorer "see" my drive.

apparently this little java app for xp can let you read HFS+ partitions just great. you cant write though, but then again thats all i want...just the ability to read.
 

slughead

macrumors 68040
Apr 28, 2004
3,105
234
does it require x11 installed?
no, just macFUSE

You also have to unmount and remount the drive using the utility.

It mounts it like it's a network drive so that way the BS character conventions in NTFS don't present a problem.