MBA(2013) can't modify contents on FAT32 HDD that was formatted on Windows PCs.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by watermelonbook, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. watermelonbook macrumors regular

    Jan 31, 2014
    I have a MBA(2013). I can't seem to modify contents on a
    FAT32 HDD, if the HDD was originally FAT32 formatted on
    a Windows PC.(any Windows PC or laptop) The MBA can
    read or play the files just fine, however.

    I've tried this on a number of portable USB HDD.(either
    small 2.5" ones that are powered by USB, or larger 3.5"
    ones that require AC power adapter) Nothing seems to
    work.... as long as the HDD was originally formatted to
    FAT32 on *any* Windows PC, my MBA cannot modify
    anything on the drive.

    What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    What version of MacOSX are you using? I have never had problems with older versions, but I recently setup a new machine for a family member with Yosemite and it would not work properly with FAT32 drives. My primary machine still runs MacOSX 10.8.5 and I have no problems with FAT32.
  3. BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    OS X can read, write and format FAT32 drives with no issues. And has been doing so for many years. Are you certain that it is not NTFS? Most 2.5" and 3.5" HDDs are large and usually formatted to NTFS by default from Windows. OS X can read NTFS out of the box but not write to it.

    Also, Disk Utility can format a drive as FAT32 and it should work between both OS X and Windows as is the case with most flash drives. Or you can use ExFAT which is also cross platform. You could backup the data off the drive and try formatting it as FAT32 or ExFAT in OS X and see if it solves the issue, but it sounds like the drive is NTFS. If it is FAT32 and OS X can't write to it it might be some kind of permissions issue or write protected file/media.
  4. watermelonbook thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 31, 2014
    Thanks! I'm 100% sure that the hard drive is FAT32. Both my PC and PS3 can read and write to it without any issues. (except the file size is limited to 4GB, which is the FAT32 limit)

    When I go to finder and click "get info" on that drive, the bottom says I can only read the drive.

    However, if I go to Disk Utilities, it shows the drive as read and write. There's no other option to change permission.

    Is there a way to change the permission somewhere? I've spent hours searching but came up with nothing. :(

    Thanks again!
  5. M.Tarek macrumors newbie


    Nov 18, 2014
    I would recommed these steps for you, I am sure by 80% it might work fine.
    1- connect your hard device to your PC with Windows OS.
    2- then, right click on the device, choose "Properties".
    3- Turn from the top to "Tools".
    4- Click on "Check now", then hit "Start".
    wait a moment, and after it finishes (if it has found an error) fixing the error, after that try it on Mac OS and it will work fine :)

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