How to share files- Mac & Win?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by marc55, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. marc55, Jan 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014

    marc55 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    OK, I'm totally confused now.

    I'm trying to figure out the best way to share files between Mac and Win PC's.

    For example: I have a lot of music in WMA and MP3 which I'd like to load on the MBP and convert as needed to iTunes. Additionally, I'd like to save future MP3 files on the MBP. I also want the capability to be able to save these files from the MBP to an external HHD for back up and sharing with family members who have Windows PC's.

    The same goes for all our family JPG pictures.

    I also want to be able to share PDF, Word, and Excel files.

    Basically I need to be able to write files from the MBP to an external HHD or SSD, and then be able plug that drive into a Windows PC and be able to access all the files. Looks like sticking with NTFS might be the best?

    I thought ExFat was the way to go, but have read there are concerns with using ExFat and loss of data as it's not that stable. Also read some concerns with Paragon NTFS and tuxera NTFS, so not sure which is the best?

    It's unbelievable in 2014 that we have these types of issues, and you would think that Apple and MS could at least try to agree on something that makes life a little easier for us :)

    So, what are you guys using and what works easiest and best?

    Thank you
  2. nigameash macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2008
    Space: The Final Frontier
    I use NTFS on an external HD and it works fine. You can also partition the HD as Mac OS Extended and install macdrive on your PC to read the partitioned files that way. It kind of depends on how much you use your PC, also if you plan to transfer the files to other PC's that wouldn't have macdrive installed on them. Personally NTFS works fine, you can do FAT32 as well but it won't allow you to store files larger than 4gb.
  3. marc55 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    From what I read, Mac will only read NTFS, and cannot write to it?
  4. nigameash macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2008
    Space: The Final Frontier
    That is correct, OS X does not come preinstalled with drivers for writing to NTFS. You will need to install paragon NTFS or another such software to achieve that.
  5. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    Where did you read that? ExFAT is used quite widely in digital cameras. Are you saying that people keep losing their snaps?
  6. marc55 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    I googled ExFat and there was good (working perfectly) and not so good (lost files).
  7. marc55 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    Looks like Paragon NTFS should work. Has anyone had any problems with it?
  8. disasterdrone macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2013
    Some kind of wireless fileshare might be simpler - an airport or time machine will will do it.
  9. 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.
  10. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    You could consider a NAS to hold everything. Much better than moving a hard drive around to share files. It can also be used for backups.
  11. zipa macrumors 65816

    Feb 19, 2010

    This. Anything that needs to be accessed from multiple locations needs to be on the network.
  12. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    I thought hard about this same problem, and there is no good answer. The thing I decided to do was to partition the HD into 3 parts. A big NTFS partition to store files, a small HFS partition just for OSX backups, and a tiny EXFAT partition for swap between the two file systems.

    The other idea was to use NTFS and use one of the methods to allow OSX to use NTFS natively. However, I was concerned that it might not work perfectly since apple didn't support it.

    NAS is a great solution if everything is plugged into gigabit ethernet. I might go that route one day, but I don't have the hardware for that at the moment.
  13. zipa macrumors 65816

    Feb 19, 2010

    You don't need nowhere as near as fast as gigabit Ethernet for NAS use, especially for sharing music and photos. A megabit connection will be "instant" for such use, and 10 Mbps will let you stream HD-video on your local network.
  14. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Eh, i'd prefer to get as close to the HD's max speeds as possible. That way you can send large files to the NAS quickly, but that is for my personal usage case.
  15. marc55 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    Between MP3/WMA music, and family pictures I have about 400GB.

    My main concern is I've read about folks losing data with exfat, and that is something I do not want to do.

    I do not want to pay for cloud storage either.

    I'm still doing some research on Paragon NTFS.

    I want to get a MacBook, but I'm not happy about having to find a work around to transfer files, especially if there's a chance of losing data with the work around.

    Since this is a major concern, I may just have to stay with a top end Win PC for now unless I can find a way to transfer and save data without the risk of losing data.
  16. disasterdrone macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2013
    You're overthinking this. For streaming video and music wifi speeds are just fine, and I've never had data loss.
  17. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    ExFat is not any more prone to data loss than any other file systems. Most data loss occurs due to user error or lack of keeping a proper backup.
  18. ysvsr1 macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2013

    I am using this software and i definitely recommend this one. No need to format any external hard drives. you should able to use existing HD and read/write files on your mac and windows. Try trail version before you make a decision.
  19. Robisan macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2014
    First, thanks to @marc55 for starting this thread. After 20+ years with windows my first Macbook will be delivered on Friday. This is an issue I hadn't fully thought through the issues of backup and syncing with my pc.

    As I understand it, OSX can transfer files to/from a NAS drive, even if that drive is formatted NTFS. However, Time Machine requires a NAS drive to be formatted HFS+. Assuming this is correct, my questions:

    1) If I partition the NAS into two drives (NTFS and NFS+) I should be able to a) readily transfer files between the mac and pc in either direction via the NTFS drive (and maintain NTFS PC backups) and, b) maintain Time Machine backup via the NFS+ drive. Is this correct?

    2) Is there a way sync folders (~100gb mostly audio plus some office, photo, misc files) on the mac, the pc and the NTFS NAS drive? This can be done via cloud options, but it's expensive in the long run and I'd prefer to have everything in house.
  20. zipa macrumors 65816

    Feb 19, 2010
    It shouldn't matter what file system you use in the NAS, since the files are shared over SMB or some similar protocol. Time Machine being the exception, that works a bit different if I've understood it right.

    There are lots if syncing tools for both win and Mac. Windows has Sync Center, OSX comes with the Unix-tools such as rsync, and Google will give you tons of other options as well.

    Do you need an offline copy of the data on both laptops and want to sync, as opposed to just accessing the data on the NAS directly?
  21. Robisan macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2014
    Yes, what I'd like is three identical, sync'd folders, mac, pc and nas. If I add/delete/change something on one local drive I'd like it to sync thru the NAS to the other local drive. Can that be accomplished via separate, binary sync programs -- one for mac-nas and the other for pc-nas? Or do I need (is there) a single program/method that can handle the whole three-drive 'ecosystem?'

    There are any number of cloud-based programs/systems that can handle this elegantly across all platforms, but I'd prefer not to pay for 100gb+ storage annually. There really ought to be a cross-platform program/system to do this using NAS as a 'cloud.' Thanks.
  22. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    It works for me every time.
  23. zipa macrumors 65816

    Feb 19, 2010

    You can do it like you've described here, although you might run into some weirdness when removing files.

    There might be some NAS boxes out there that can act as a sync server. Such a box would solve your problem rather nicely. Synology is one company that I've been hearing good things about, but I have no personal experience so I can't say for sure.
  24. marc55 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    OK, now I have to decide between Paragon NTFS (I don't mind paying the $20) or ExFat.

    If I get something like a 1TB drive, can I format half to Exfat, and the other half to HFS+ so I can use Time Machine?

    Thank you
  25. KevinC867 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    Yeah, no problem with two partitions with different file systems.

    Just to throw another possibility in - Paragon also offers HFS+ software for Windows machines. A while ago I bought a bundle with both the Mac NTFS software and the Windows HFS+ software. Now I can freely swap drives between my two computers without doing any special formatting.


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