Need help with external hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by LordHawkwind, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. LordHawkwind macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2013
    I've always owned PC's and I've got a WD My Book Essentials 2TB external HDD that I use with my PC. I now own a 2011 Mac mini and I was wondering if I could somehow partition the disk into two 1TB partions and use one solely for the PC and the other soley for the Mac.

    I would mainly use the Time Machine for the Mac partition and was wondering what I would need to do to make this work. I am not interested in sharing files or for either system to be able to read the other partition.

    Thanks in anticipation:D
  2. CtotheP macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2011
    Whitefish Bay, WI
    Connect your external HD to your Mac and go to Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility. You should see your drive mounted on the left-hand pane. You can select the drive name and then partition 1 TB of the drive on the right-hand side of the window to a MAC OS Journaled partition.
  3. Luis2004 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 30, 2012
    I had a similar problem; I had a 3 TB toshiba external. Thankfully I had only used about 800 GB of it when I got the Mac. My mac had a 1TB hard drive, so I just copied everything from the external to the mac desktop, formatted the external in Disc Utility, partitioned it into 2 different drives (I use one partition for Time Machine, since Time Machine takes up a whole drive), and then moved everything back from the desktop to the external.

    A bit time consuming, but if you have a USB 3.0 connection it's not too bad.

    P.S. I believe this is the only way to do it if you want to be able to manipulate the drive's files from a Mac. Before I formatted it, I didn't have the ability to delete files from the Mac, since the external was formatted using FAT32.
  4. scottw324 macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    I just bought bought a 2012 model and found out about how the Mac file system isn't compatible with windows. It was mentioned to use some program drivers so that the Mac can read/write to the NTFS formatted drive. This way I can use it with my Mac mini and my windows laptops.

    Here is one
  5. LordHawkwind thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2013
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Here's where I'm up to:

    Created two partitons on the external drive by shrinking the volume from 1.82 TB to 1.21. This is now visible in Windows 7. For the remaining 600 GB partition I created it but did not format it in windows. It just shows as an unformatted drive. I used EasUS partion master to create both partitions.

    If I attach the drive to the Mac will it only see the unformatted partition (the other partition is NTFS) or will it see both. Either way can I just format the unallocated 600 to the Mac OS and use this as my Time Machine back up?

    Remember I am not interested in sharing files and I don't need either OS to see the other partition. I just want to use each partition independantly.

  6. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    it should let you use the empty 600 gb as a time machine. as to the mac seeing and accessing the windows section yes but i do it with my mac running windows 7 via vmware fusion. my macs can run windows and access windows info. macs can run windows via bootcamp vmware fusion or parallels.
  7. LordHawkwind thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2013
    Thanks for this and hopefully it will work. I'll try tomorrow as it's late now.

    I know about vmware and bootcamp but to be honest I just want to keep the two computers completley separate and use them independent of each other as I want to use them for totally different reasons and programmes.

    I just want to use one external HDD to do this rather than buy one for each.

  8. ramram55 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2012
    Downside is you are putting your eggs in basket, at least TM should be on separate drive. Just to be safe. Should the hard drive fail everything down the drain you go. Think about the scenario.
  9. LordHawkwind thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2013
    Of course that's a possibility. OTH I could buy a new external HDD for the Mac and if that fails I'm in the same position with the Mac.

    For my windows drive I back up my pictures onto CD on a regular basis and if the OS fails I've got a usb stick to reinstall it which is quite quick.

  10. LordHawkwind thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2013
    Everything now sorted.

    Plugged the external drive in and the mini recognised the NTFS partition and the unformatted partition. Using disk utility I selected the unused partition and clicked on erase and format as Mac OS journaled and it worked a charm.

    Time Machine asked if I wanted to use this partition as a back up disk and after saying yes it backed-up my system straight away.

    I'm now going to leave my external drive plugged into the Mini and let time machine do its thing.


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