New External Drive best way to format?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by xxRONNIExx, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. xxRONNIExx macrumors regular

    xxRONNIExx

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #1
    Hello guys. I just bought a 500 Toshiba External HD. This will be used with my Macbook Air once it gets delivered to me. 25% of the time I will be using bootcamp and windows 7.
    My question is can I just format it into MAC OS Journaled and be able to use it with bootcamp windows 7 as well? Or do I have to partition it? Half for MAC and half for windows? Thanks
     
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

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    #2
    If you format as FAT, both OSes can read and write to it
    But you are limited to 4GB file transfers

    If you format as HFS+ (Mac OS Journaled), you can read/write with your OS X but you will need something like MacDrive (costs) for Windows to read/write

    If you format as NTFS (Windows), you can read/write from Windows, but you will need something like NFTS-3G (free) for OS X to read/write

    Check out the various file systems here: MR Guide: File Systems
     
  3. xxRONNIExx thread starter macrumors regular

    xxRONNIExx

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    Location:
    California
    #3
    Thank you for the help...I'll check out the link
     
  4. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #4
    I use MacDrive on my Windows 7 partition and it hasn't crashed anything at all. It has been rock solid on that 7 partition.
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
    • Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
    • To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X: Install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free)
    • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx 33USD).
    • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended)
    • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
    • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner backups of Mac internal hard drive.
    • To Read/Write HFS+ from Windows, Install MacDrive
    • To Read HFS+ (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
    • Maximum file size: 8EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 8EiB
    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • exFAT partitions created with OS X 10.6.5 are inaccessible from Windows 7
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
     
  6. micsaund macrumors 6502

    micsaund

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #6
    I'm in the process right now (as I type) of changing all my external HDDs and flash drives over to ExFAT since I just noticed the other day that OSX can natively read/write the format.

    That way, I don't have to worry about having MacFUSE+NTFS-3g installed (plus the relatively low performance of the solution) and I can toss the drives between Winbloze and Mac without worry.

    The one thing with ExFAT, though, is that you want to make sure you always safely remove/eject the drive from the computer before unplugging it. ExFAT uses a single FAT/bitmap and if you pull the plug while that's being written to, you can lose data.

    Other than that, though, I see no disadvantage now. I don't run XP any more (good riddens! (sp?)) so ExFAT works on every platform I access on a daily basis. For the rare Linux stuff I might do, I'll just copy the files from the ExFAT drive to another format temporarily.

    Mike
     
  7. lucifiel macrumors 6502a

    lucifiel

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    Location:
    In your basement
    #7
    For the record, bootcamp drivers allow you to READ the HFS partitions drive, but does not permit you to write to them, even if you are in Win 7.
     
  8. Taraphiel macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    #8
    Hi Mike, could you share about your experience with ExFAT as compared to the other file systems as I'm about to purchase a 2TB drive for both backup and storage.
     
  9. DmbShn41 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #9
    Couple of things to watch out for with ExFAT: File size is limited to 4GB. Also, with a 2 TB external HD, it's probably two 1 TB drives, in which case, make sure that BOTH drives are formatted the same, or you may run into some weird issues later. Also, if you use/plan on using Time Machine for backing up, you can't use ExFAT/FAT32/NTFS formats. Time Machine requires MacOSJournaled/HFS/HFS+ drives. If you plan on doing a drag/drop backup from time to time, then you're set with ExFAT.
     
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #10
    That is not true. It's FAT32 that has those limitations, not exFAT. Read my earlier post on the formats.
     
  11. micsaund macrumors 6502

    micsaund

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    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #11
    ExFAT is working fine so far. I have switched a 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB flash drive, as well as bought a brand-new 1TB USB3 drive yesterday and am using it on that.

    Speed is good. It seems to mount faster than NTFS on the Mac.

    But, beyond that, it's like a disk format should be: it just works. No complaints so far using it with OSX 10.6.6 and Win7.

    And, the post by DmbShn41 is completely wrong. ExFAT will support files up to 64 zebibytes (nothing you're going to encounter in the next 10+ years probably). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exfat for more details.

    Mike
     
  12. Taraphiel macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    #12
    I heard that ExFat is more for Flash Drives than Disk Drives though.
     
  13. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #13
    No, that's not true.
     
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    My thoughts (and I realize that others may differ)....

    You need TWO external drives.

    The first can be a "mixed environment" drive -- that is, intended to be shared between the Mac and Windows OS's.

    The second should be MAC-FORMATTED ONLY. This is the drive upon which you should keep the [Mac-originated] data you care about.

    I would not trust data that I absolutely had to keep safe to a mixed-environment drive. It seems like once every few days there appears a posting here on macrumors from someone who had been using a "mixed" drive, and discovered that all his Mac stuff just vanished, or could no longer be accessed.
     
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #15
    You can achieve the same thing with one drive by simply creating two partitions: one formatted NTFS for use with Mac OS and Windows, and the other formatted HFS+ for use only with the Mac.
     
  16. xxRONNIExx thread starter macrumors regular

    xxRONNIExx

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #16
    exFAT (FAT64) seems like the way to go for me. Im going to give it a try. Thanks guys for all your help.
     
  17. mendoza macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    #17
    exFAT problems

    I bought a 2Tb drive to use with 2 laptops - one MBP running OSX 10.6.6 with a HFS+ internal, and one win7 pc with an NTFS internal. I work with large video files over 4GB so FAT32 not an option. I formatted the external as exFAT for all the reasons people have stated above - hoping finally for a universal format. In the past I found the NTFS-3G solution was too slow, and I didn't want to rely on MacDrive on my win7 machine - also would have to install MacDrive on any other win7 machines I plugged it into.

    Firstly I had trouble formatting the drive - I formatted it as exFAT from the mac and the pc wouldn't read it. I had to reformat it as FAT from the mac so it would be visible on the pc, then reformat again on the pc as exFAT.

    Everything was fine, nice and fast on both systems, until I wanted to create an iPhoto library on the drive, but as of iPhoto 9.1.1 & OSX 10.6.6 this isn't possible - "The library could not be created because the file system of the destination volume is not supported". I tried with Aperture 3.1.1 and got the same error.

    Then I accidentally unplugged the drive from the mac without ejecting it first - knocked the usb cable out. I'm 99% certain it wasn't writing to the drive at the time, but after that the mac wouldn't detect it at all. The PC offered to 'scan and fix' the drive when i plugged it in - 2 optional checkboxes 'auto fix file system errors' and 'scan for bad sectors'. I tried ticking only 'auto fix' - took hours, with no indication of progress so i hit 'cancel'. Tried again with neither box ticked, took 10 mins and then reported drive was fine/fixed.

    The drive was now usable on the pc, but 'safely ejecting' made the PC crash and plugging into the mac, it was still not detected. Plugging it back into the PC, was asked again if I wanted to 'scan and fix' - this time I ticked 'auto fix file system errors' and left it running overnight. It's now working fine again on both machines.

    Moral - ALWAYS safely eject if using exFAT, and remember you won't able to use Time Capsule, iPhoto, Aperture or file access permissions with it.
     
  18. Flake macrumors regular

    Flake

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2010
    #18
    is it possible to reformat a NTFS drive (or just a partition) to HFS+ to use for Time Machine backups?
     
  19. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #19
    Yes, you can always reformat a drive or partition.
     
  20. JGalt60 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    #20
    Follow Up Question for Newby

    I am looking to migrate from a PC to a Macbook Pro and am planning to buy an external drive as a backup to run Time Machine. From what I understand then, I can format the external drive initially as Fat32 to transfer the files from my PC and then after transfer reformat it, using DiskUtility, to HFS+ to run Carbon Copy and Time Machine. Is this correct?
     
  21. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #21
    Yes.
     
  22. daiei27 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    #22
    One thing I haven't seen mentioned online is the format of the drive. For example, disk utility shows the format of the drive, and also the format of each partition. Does the format of the top layer affect compatibility at all?
     
  23. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #23
    This whole thread is talking about the format. No, there is not a separate format for the drive and for the partitions. Either the drive is one partition with a format, or it is multiple partitions, each with its own format. You are actually formatting the partition (single or multiple), not the drive.
     
  24. daiei27 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    #24
    That was my understanding, but Disk Utility is misleading. It shows a format for the drive and a format for the partition when it only has one partition. The weird thing is Disk Utility will let you format each of them with different formats, which is why I asked the question.

    Is Disk Utility just being stupid? Anyone else have more insight?
     
  25. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #25
    This may help: http://macs.about.com/od/applications/ss/diskutilformat.htm
     

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