How to format WD My Passport drive for Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by les24preludes, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. les24preludes macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2011
    I just got a WD My Passport drive, 1TB. It's formatted for Windows NT. How should I re-format this for Mac 10.7.5? Do I use disc utilities FAT32 or is there some other format? Not sure what "Extended" format is and if it's suitable. Also is it OK to erase all the present files on the disc? Do I need a partition? I have no obvious use for one.
  2. waw74 macrumors 68040

    May 27, 2008
    FAT32 will let you directly plug the drive into both windows and mac. but you are limited to an individual file size of 4GB

    mac OS extended will be readable only by macs but your files can be larger.

    **there are ways to make the different file systems readable by the other type of computer, i'm referring to default OS capabilities.

    *** when sharing the drive over the network the format only matters to the computer the drive is physically plugged into. (only mentioning because this comes up frequently in relation to this question in the forums)
  3. les24preludes thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2011
    Are there Mac specific programs which require HFS+, like iPhoto? Anything that won't transfer to FAT32?
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)
    Choose the appropriate format:
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive) NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
      • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion and later)
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.
    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
    • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.
    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X. [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.
  5. waw74 macrumors 68040

    May 27, 2008
    no, the main downside to fat32 is the 4GB file size, in looking my iphoto library is 4.61 GB so it wouldn't fit on a fat32 formatted drive.

    time machine will not work on fat32 either (although you can put 2 partitions on the drive, extended for time machine, and whatever you want for the other part)
  6. RMo macrumors 65816


    Aug 7, 2007
    Iowa, USA
    I'm still on an old version of iPhoto, but I'm pretty sure the iPhoto library is still actually a folder, much like OS X (and iOS) applications. It may look like a file, but that's just some trickery in the Finder--if you right-click it and do "Show Package Contents" (or look at the directory in Terminal), you'll see what I mean.

    (That being said, it's presented as such to prevent the average user from poking around inside the "file." It's meant to be modified by iPhoto itsef only.)

    This is true, and the OP may wish to consider it if he/she wants to both easily share a read/write partition with PCs while using another partition for, e.g., Time Machine backups (which requires HFS+).


    Besides Time Machine (which requires directory hard-linking, a Leopard addition to HFS+), I'm not aware of any (though if you're using it for Mac backups at all, even manual ones, I'd say HFS+ is still a good idea since you're less likely to run into problems with the type or number/length of characters in file names or file sizes since different file systems have different restrictions here).

    If file/folder permissions are an issue, HFS+ is really the only file system supported on OS X that contains this feature. FAT variants simply don't support this at all, and NTFS does, but Apple's implementation is read-only. This probably isn't a big deal for most people, however.

    In short, if you're only using it on Mac, go with HFS+ (a.k.a. MacOS Extended). If you want to use it on Windows as well, consider a different format (see advantages and disadvantages another poster provided) or multiple partitions (as suggested by others, e.g., above).
  7. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    That's correct. The concept is called a bundle in Apple terms.
  8. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    Is it OK to erase all the present files on the drive? Only YOU can answer that question. If the data is important to you, MAKE A COPY! A partition is especially useful if you want to use the drive for 2 purposes, such as having a section for TM backups and a section that allows you to write to it from both Windows and OS X. That's how I have my 2 GB WD My Passport drive set up, 1.5 GB for TM and the rest is in ExFAT for being able to write to it from Win 7 and OS X.
  9. les24preludes thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2011
    Thanks everyone, I went with the Extended format. All works fine.
  10. dmk1974 macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
  11. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    No, TM requires Mac OS Extended (Journaled) to work properly.
  12. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Read the 2nd bullet point in post #4.

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