Is fat32 safe for 1 terabyte drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Vagrant Pistol, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. Vagrant Pistol macrumors member

    Vagrant Pistol

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #1
    I wanted to see if its ok to format a 1 terabyte Hard drive to fat32. It's going to strictle be for iTunes (movies and music). Is there anything that I should be concerned about ; any dangers? I currently have 3 drives formatted in fat32; I have 2 80gig and 1 250 HD in fat32. I have never had a problem with those drives. I was just curious because of the size. I don't want it to fail in the future because of the size.:confused:

    For some reason Disk Utility is not allowing me to format the drive to mac. It's a Lacie Quadro drive. Any suggestions; this the reason I am asking the first question:(

    thanx :D
     
  2. misterredman macrumors 6502a

    misterredman

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #2
    Can't you use the Lacie setup assistant to format the drive as desired?
     
  3. amusiccale macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Location:
    PA
    #3
    the fat32 file system is much less reliable than, for instance, HFS+. Every now and then I run disk utility to verify and repair the fat32 partition on my external drive, and there are occasionally errors. 1 TB is pretty large for a fat32 drive.
     
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #4
    Well I don't think there is any reason you could not. But you do have the 4GB file size limit. So no images of DVD's or any other giant file. I also don't think FAT32 handles storage as efficiently so with many files you may use more space than a modern file system.

    Why would you want to? If for compatibility in Mac OS X and Windows you could always install the free NTFS 3G in Mac OS X to read/write NTFS file system. Note you need to install MacFuse first to utilize the NTFS 3G driver.

    Take a look at the known issues. These have not been a problem for me however no product is perfect.
     
  5. SASouth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    #5
    FAT32 wasn't designed for today's extremely large hard drives. It isn't as efficient as HFS+, or even NTFS for that matter, in dealing with partitions the size of which you speak.

    Another factor to consider is that if you frequently add and delete files on a FAT32 partition it can become fragmented rather quickly with use. This can slow access times down to a crawl as the drive heads have to search all over the discs for the next cluster of data. In order to restore any type of quick access the files must be put into contiguous order by a defragmenting application. I imagine that defragmenting even a half full 1TB drive could take quite a long time...!

    Also remember, FAT32 has a file size limit of 4GB. If any of your media files get larger than that you are going to be SOL. :eek:

    You might want to re-think using FAT32. After all, it was introduced with Windows 95 when the average hard drive size was at or around 1 GB or less.

    I'm curious, what is your reason for wanting to use FAT32?
     
  6. misterredman macrumors 6502a

    misterredman

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #6
    It seems the OP has problem with disk utility, which doesn't let him format the drive in HFS+. I would work on the reason of this problem before going for the FAT32 format, due to the limitations that were already brought by the other posters.
     
  7. Guiyon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    North Shore, MA
    #7
    It should work but it will be FAR from optimal, especially if you have a lot of smaller files. IIRC, Windows does not work properly with cluster sizes of 64KB so whatever program you use for formatting will most likely either use a clustersize of 32KB or 16KB (depending on the app/settings). What this means is that all files will be some multiple of 32K or 16K which can lead to large amounts of wasted space if there are a lot of small files (ie: a 2KB file will be, at minimum, 16KB or 32KB) vs 4KB for HFS+ and NTFS.

    As for the issue with the formatting, have you tried re-partitioning the drive to use either the APM or GUID formats? This is different from the actual formatting on the drive! The parition format is how the various partitions are represented on the drive itself; a drive needs both a valid parition method and a filesystem type to be usable. I can't remember if Disk Utility allows HFS+ formatting using the MBR partition type so this may be the reason why you can reformat the drive. You can change this by clicking on the drive's name, clicking the "Partition" tab, selecting your partition setup (from your description it sounds like just selecting 1 partition should be fine) and then clicking the "Options" button. I would suggest going with the GUID partition format as it works very well under both Windows and Mac.
     
  8. Vagrant Pistol thread starter macrumors member

    Vagrant Pistol

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #8
    Doing what Guiyon suggested allowed me to format the drive. :D Thank you!!! I figured that fat 32 would be the wrong way to go, even though the drive was only going to be used for iTunes. Thanx to everyone who replied to the post, much appreciated.

    .......now off I go to filling my drive up!!
     

Share This Page