Mac (Time Machine) and PC compatible External Hard Drive - Is it Possible?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Hustler1337, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. Hustler1337 macrumors 68000


    Dec 23, 2010
    London, UK

    I have a 2TB Seagate Expansion External Hard Drive and wish to use that as a backup device for both my Mac and PC.

    I understand that it is possible to have both read/write compatibility for Mac and PC simultaneously with a FAT32 format. However, I've read that Time Machine does not support FAT32, but only supports the Mac OS Extended format. :(:(:(

    Is there a way in which I can use this hard drive both to backup my Mac (through Time Machine) and PC?

    I don't have much knowledge in this area, but would it be possible to partition half the drive as NTFS (for Windows compatibility) and the other half as Mac OS Extended (for Mac - Time Machine)?

    Alternatively, should I just abandon Time Machine and go with a FAT32 format and transfer the files through drag and drop from my Mac?

    Would really appreciate any advice.

    Thank You! :D;)
  2. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    It's possible to dual-partition the drive, but I've heard that can be sketchy reliability-wise. If you want to try it, I think you need to use the Mac to create the partitions - format the 1st as FAT32 and the 2nd as OS X. You can then plug it into the Windows machine, open a command window, and use "convert e: /fs:ntfs" (substitute the proper drive letter for e: ). Article here on using Convert.
  3. priitv8, Sep 1, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013

    priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    The internal file system structure should be of no interest to your computer, as long as you are able to make connection to the TimeCapsule and write/read files to/from it. And AFAIK, TC supports Windows networking (SMB) as well.
    It's the same as you would see when using a Linux-based file server. You wouldn't care that internally they are using Ext2/3/4 filesystem.
    To make the long story short - format the drive into HFS+ and connect to TimeCapsule, so you can use it as a network drive from both Mac and Windows.
    PS the story is diferent if you intend to connect the drive directly to the computer, via USB. In that case, you can partition it into 2 areas, one for NTFS, other for HFS+. You shall also select partition map according to capabilities of your both OS-es. Windows Vista and newer + Macs can use GUID partition scheme, if you need to connect it to XP computer, you shall choose good old MS-DOS heritage: the MBR partition scheme. All this can be accomplished in Mac's Disk Utility.

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