My external HDD is only accessible on mac & nt windows. plz help

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Zoe963, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. Zoe963 macrumors newbie

    Zoe963

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    #1
    Hey im a newbie with mac & would appreciate all help. i tried searching the forums but everyone was talking about things which were too confusing to me. i have just recently bought an external hdd. I added my data from my mac. however, whilst trying to access the hdd from a windows pc, i realised My external HDD is only accessible on mac & nt windows. plz help. will i be able to make the hdd compatible with both my mac and windows pc without losing my data?

    also my friend has an hdd which she uses on her windows pc. im able to transfer files from her hdd to my mac but whenever i try to transfer files from my pac to her hdd it says the hdd cant be modified. i checked info and the hdd wasnt locked. I tried to check and change sharing&permission in disk utility but all options are invalid. thanks in advance for all help.
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #2
    You're confusing.

    What do you mean with "nt windows"? - Windows NT?




    http://guides.macrumors.com/File_systems

    Windows uses NTFS and FAT32 as file systems, on newer systems most probably only NTFS.

    Mac OS X uses HFS+ as a file system.

    FAT 32 can be read and written to by both Windows and Mac OS X,
    NTFS can only be read by Mac OS X, unless you install the free NTFS-3G drivers, which will allow you to write to NTFS formatted volumes in Mac OS X.
    Direct download link.

    Also know, that FAT32 has a file size limit of 4GB, so no single file can be bigger than 4GB.

    HFS+ can not be read or written to in Windows, unless you use Snow Leopard's Boot Camp NTFS capabilities or MacDrive.
     
  3. Zoe963 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Zoe963

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    #3
    im so sorry!

    i mean't 'nt' is not. umm my hdd works fine on my mac but i can not open it on a windows pc.

    i apologise. i tend to not realise how misleading my statements can be :(

    thank you for the information. my knowledge is severely limited and i really welcome all tips and advice. im trying to grasp the information which you have supplied above but its all new to me and i am unsure what to do. what would you recommend?
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #4
    Then your HDD is formatted with HFS+.

    And your friend must use a FAT32 formatted HDD as it seems.


    Have a look at my first post again to grasp the different file systems.
     
  5. Zoe963 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Zoe963

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    #5
    if my friends hdd is FAT32 , shouldn't i be able to access it on my mac? i was able to copy files from her hdd but could not copy files from my mac to her hdd

    in my case, if i were to get the Snow Leopard's Boot Camp NTFS capabilities or MacDrive package, would i then be able to use my hdd on both a mac and windows based pc
     
  6. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #6
    Ah, must have misread that.

    If you want to use the external HDD mainly with Windows PCs, use the NTFS format for the external HDD and the NTFS-3G drivers I linked to earlier.

    If you use the HDD mainly with Mac OS X, use the HFS+ format. MacDrive is the option for accessing the HDD via Windows then, but it costs something.

    You can also use FAT32 as a file system and will be able to read and write to it via Windows and Mac OS X, but as written earlier, the maximum file size will be 4GB.

    Or you can partition your external HDD in one HFS+ and one NTFS partition, and then use the NTFS-3G drivers or MacDrive.
     
  7. Zoe963 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Zoe963

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    #7
    how do i to convert to NTFS format? will i be able to keep my data that are on my hdd?
    im currently downloading the NTFS-3G driver from your link. i will try to copy to my friends hdd to see how it works.
    im thinking that if using the driver works, i should convert my hdd to NTFS as well. Then i will be able to use my hdd on both a mac and windows pc?
    i actually mainly use a mac. but everyone around me use windows based pc.

    thankyou for your help and the info so far. it feels good to know more :)
     
  8. bmcgonag macrumors 65816

    bmcgonag

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #8
    Before you go formatting your HDD, realize that you will lose the data when you format.

    You must backup your data first to another drive. Then you can format.

    I would say that if you are not storing any files larger than 4 GB (this would be movies, almost DVD quality movies) in size, then use the FAT32 format as it is natively read/write friendly with Mac and PC.

    That means that any one file cannot be larger than 4GB, not all files together.

    Hope this helps,
     
  9. Zoe963 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Zoe963

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    #10
    thank you bmcgonag

    i think i will try to format my hdd to FAT32. but its going to be hard to find some-one willing to lend me their hdd to back-up my stuff :D. i dread thinking about burning everything to dvd!

    for now im going to try downloading onto my mac the NTFS-3G driver for my friends hdd. that will allow me to add files to her hdd without needing to format it right? im wishing i had studied computers in school at the moment - there so much i don't know. i feel quite blond! lol
     
  10. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    #11
    Are you using your external drive to back up all that is on your Mac, or are you using it to store stuff that isn't on your Mac?

    If it's the first, then when you reformat it you'll still have the original files on your computer. If it's the second, then one day that external drive will fail and you will lose everything.

    If you are using the external hdd for extra storage, then ideally you should have another external hdd big enough to make a complete copy of everything that is on your Mac and on that first external drive.
     
  11. Zoe963 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Zoe963

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    #12
    that would be ideal but cost is a factor. 1 of my hdd just crashed last year - it was an expensive one too :( i lost all my movies, etc. stuff which is important but i can always get these again. all my work and important files are double -backed-up, on my usb and on email accounts - im extremely paranoid about losing my stuff :D
    i got this hdd to use as storage and was hoping to also back-up a few things until my previous hdd crashed just around the time i bought this 1 - its 1.5TB and i have only now realised that there are different formats :( i used to think manufacturers would make a hdd thats compatible with all brands !!
    btw i used to back-up on dvd but it takes too long and ppl used to scratch them. what's a girl supposed to do :confused:
     
  12. i.shaun macrumors 6502a

    i.shaun

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #13
    You can always "get info" on the drive, or check disk utility to see what it says under "Format".


    FAT32 works with everything, but has a 4GB file size limit (No single file can be over 4GB).

    NTFS is better, but is designed for windows. Macs can Read-only unless you get some third party drivers to allow writing to the drive (it's the best option for using a drive between computers).

    HFS+ is the Mac format which windows can't read or write unless you pay for some expensive third party software.



    Unfortunately all data gets erased during any format, so backing up is necessary.
     

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