Is it better to move files from old Mac to Windows or Linux partition?

Which partition is better to move files from Mac OS to?

  • Windows

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  • Linux

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  • Depends on purpose of the files

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hajime

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
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Given that Mac OS is a linux system, is it actually better to move the files to the Linux partition rather than Windows partition of a dual boot system? What are the pros an cons for each option? I can imagine that for Office and Adobe related files, better to move to Windows partition as the applications don’t have Linux version. What about the rest of the files?

Given that some files in my Mac system have long filename, will those files and folders with long name and path be maintained when transferring to Windows and Linux systems?
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Given that Mac OS is a linux system
No its not. Its based on OpenBSD, a unix operating system, that predates linux.

is it actually better to move the files to the Linux partition rather than Windows partition of a dual boot system?
Its neither better or worse. If you plan on using the data in Linux, then move it to linix, if you're planning on using it windows then use that.

You're overthinking things way too much

Why not just throw them on an external drive that can be accessed by both operating systems.
 

hajime

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
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No its not. Its based on OpenBSD, a unix operating system, that predates linux.


Its neither better or worse. If you plan on using the data in Linux, then move it to linix, if you're planning on using it windows then use that.

You're overthinking things way too much

Why not just throw them on an external drive that can be accessed by both operating systems.
You mean something like a NAS?
 

MacUser2525

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2007
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Canada
You mean something like a NAS?
It would be the easiest way to do it, then the files could be shared among all your machines regardless of the OS involved. Even just a drive formatted in a format all can use like exfat then you could move that between machines as it is needed.
 
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hajime

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
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It would be the easiest way to do it, then the files could be shared among all your machines regardless of the OS involved. Even just a drive formatted in a format all can use like exfat then you could move that between machines as it is needed.
Thanks. That is excellent. Just to double check, does formatting the NAS drive to exfat allows the longest possible filenames and path length? Files I created using linux and unix systems 20 years ago had very long name and sever levels of directories.
 

AndyMacAndMic

macrumors 6502a
May 25, 2017
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Amsterdam, Netherlands
Thanks. That is excellent. Just to double check, does formatting the NAS drive to exfat allows the longest possible filenames and path length? Files I created using linux and unix systems 20 years ago had very long name and sever levels of directories.
Good that you double check before you are going to walk the wrong path.

You are confusing a NAS with an external USB drive. You can format an external USB drive to exFat, but it is not advisable to do so with a NAS since a NAS runs an operating system (mostly Linux). A NAS is a file server visible in your network and determines its own disk format. Other computers in your network (your Mac, PC, tablets etc.) don't care what format the drive(s) in the NAS are, because they see it as another computer they can communicate with.

I advise you to stick with an external USB drive or even a flash drive. It seems you are turning a simple file move/copy operation into something as complicated as a rocket launch.

I assume you don't have a NAS (because of your question). A NAS is a whole different beast (basically a computer acting as a file server) and quite more expensive than a simple USB drive. At this point in time: completely overkill for your purpose.

Edit:
If you use an external USB drive and simply copy the files you want to keep from the Mac to a directory (name it 'backup') in the root of that external drive the long file/path names don't play a role anymore. Why do you want to maintain the long path/filenames? Isn't the most important thing that you can find those files if you need them?

Why don't you simply try it instead of seeing so many bumps on the road? Simply copy the files you want to copy to an external drive and be done with it. Your computer is not going to explode or anything. If some files won't copy for whatever reason, simply deal with it as it comes.

Also one thing I don't understand. You must already have backups from those files you want to keep I assume? Because keeping important files for that long only on an old Mac without any form of backup is asking for trouble. What would you do if that Mac fails?

If you already have backups how do you access those backups now? If they are in the cloud you already can access them from any computer you have. Or if you already made backups on an external drive you can access them already from any computer you have as well (if formatted in exfat).
 
Last edited:

MacUser2525

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2007
1,941
287
Canada
Thanks. That is excellent. Just to double check, does formatting the NAS drive to exfat allows the longest possible filenames and path length? Files I created using linux and unix systems 20 years ago had very long name and sever levels of directories.
No it does not, I had to do a quick check to see what the restrictions were now. If using windows 10 then you can set a registry setting to enable long paths. As has been mentioned you are probably best off using the usb drive giving the path setting a try. Do a test first with the setting enabled and a exfat drive to see how it will handle the path for long (>260 characters) names.


 

hajime

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
5,885
812
Good that you double check before you are going to walk the wrong path.

You are confusing a NAS with an external USB drive. You can format an external USB drive to exFat, but it is not advisable to do so with a NAS since a NAS runs an operating system (mostly Linux). A NAS is a file server visible in your network and determines its own disk format. Other computers in your network (your Mac, PC, tablets etc.) don't care what format the drive(s) in the NAS are, because they see it as another computer they can communicate with.

I advise you to stick with an external USB drive or even a flash drive. It seems you are turning a simple file move/copy operation into something as complicated as a rocket launch.

I assume you don't have a NAS (because of your question). A NAS is a whole different beast (basically a computer acting as a file server) and quite more expensive than a simple USB drive. At this point in time: completely overkill for your purpose.

Edit:
If you use an external USB drive and simply copy the files you want to keep from the Mac to a directory (name it 'backup') in the root of that external drive the long file/path names don't play a role anymore. Why do you want to maintain the long path/filenames? Isn't the most important thing that you can find those files if you need them?

Why don't you simply try it instead of seeing so many bumps on the road? Simply copy the files you want to copy to an external drive and be done with it. Your computer is not going to explode or anything. If some files won't copy for whatever reason, simply deal with it as it comes.

Also one thing I don't understand. You must already have backups from those files you want to keep I assume? Because keeping important files for that long only on an old Mac without any form of backup is asking for trouble. What would you do if that Mac fails?

If you already have backups how do you access those backups now? If they are in the cloud you already can access them from any computer you have. Or if you already made backups on an external drive you can access them already from any computer you have as well (if formatted in exfat).
Happy New Year to all!

I don't have a NAS. I just consider it as somebody suggested. I have files from all sorts of machines and OS over the past 30+ years. This includes Mac OS, UNIX, Linux and Windows. I had a big family moved across the globe few years ago (the time when Apple made major change in MBP). At that time, in a hurry and without knowing that just drag and drop would not have kept the original file creation/modification dates through, I copied the contents of many big internals hard disks to portable hard drives. I also copied some of the contents to the Mac OS and Windows 7 partitions of my MBP 2010. For the past 14 months, I just tried different Windows laptops.
I have many hard drive dead before so for the past 12 months, I just buy SSD.
When I was in graduate school, I generated a lot of data files under LINUX and UNIX systems. They had long filenames and about 5-10 levels down from the home user directory.
I am trying to decide whether to copy all the files from different OS created during this 30+ years to a laptop SSD or to a NAS as some of you suggested.