new external hard drive...reformat?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by xpipe, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. xpipe macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    #1
    I've never done anything but plug a HD in and get right to work. Now that I've got an Apple, I'm a total nervous Nellie...


    I just got a WD external hard drive that is FAT32. I understand that the Mac can read/write this format. Would you recommend that I change it to HFS+ or should I leave well enough alone?


    If I do reformat, I guess this is done through the erase tab in the disk utility?


    I have attached a screenshot.

    Do I select "465.8 GB WD" or "My Book" as the drive I'm reformatting? Also, it looks like I can select "erase" or "erase free space." Which am I doing?

    And I select the format that I want to change it to, not the format that it already is? Which of the options do I select (journaled, case-sensitive, etc.)?



    Finally, I am probably going to install Windows on the computer. Might it be better to leave as FAT32 since Mac and Windows can both read/write this format, so I could use one drive for both, rather than having two separate external HDs? Or would there be other issues with this approach? I know FAT32 isn't the best for either operating system...



    Am I overcomplicating this whole thing?



    Thank you very much as always!

    :)
     

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  2. showtime macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    #2
    You would select "465.8 GB WD" to reformat the whole drive or "My Book" for just the partition I think. You probably want to select 465.8 GB WD so you can start fresh.

    I also have a 500GB WD My Book and what I did was I formatted the drive into 3 partitions. I have one partition that is formatted as HFS+, one that is formatted as fat32, and another partition for time machine. It's really up to you how you want to sort everything. One flaw of FAT32 is that it won't store a file that is larger than ~4gb.

    Maybe have a small NTFS partition where you can save large windows files onto, a FAT32 partition to save files to be shared between MAC and windows, and another HFS+ partition to store all your large mac files.
     
  3. agentphish macrumors 65816

    agentphish

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    #3
    if you are only going to use it on a Mac, there's no reason to format a FAT32 partition. Go HFS+ no doubt



    Showtime -

    I haven't tried since they introduced Leopard, but have they made it easy to do 1 HFS+ and 1 FAT32 or NTFS drive on the same external now?

    I remember trying time and time again with disk utility when I first got my mac 4 years ago and never being able to do it.

    I also remember trying a hint from macosxhints.com that showed how to do it all via the terminal, but never got that to work properly for me either.

    I can be done very quickly now?
     
  4. xpipe thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    #4
    Thanks, everyone...

    Last night the HD was looking up at me all like "Hey, man...I'm here for you, buddy...just tell me what you want!!!" It was just heartbreaking having to tell it that I had no idea what I was doing :(


    I think if I start to partition a drive this size, I won't end up with any single partition that's really big enough for what I want. Maybe I should just have separate drives for the Windows and Mac partitions. And then another for Time Machine...yikes :confused:
     
  5. showtime macrumors 6502

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    May 10, 2007
    #5
    It was super easy to do on leopard. I started by completely reformatting my hard drive and created all my partitions through disk utility. This was about a year ago so I don't remember the exact steps but it was pretty easy and straightfoward. Now when I plug in my external hard drive to my macbook all three drives show up at the same time as 3 different drives plugged in.
     
  6. showtime macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    #6
    What kind of mac are you using this with? I don't think you can boot windows form an external so your windows partition on your mybook would have to be used for storage only.
     
  7. ram23 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    #7
    Reformatting external hard drive

    If I reformat my external hard drive from PC to Mac will I lose all my files? How do I go about doing this? I'm new to Mac and I'm still learning the ins and outs. Thanks for your time!
     
  8. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #8
    Re-format erases everything on the hard drive. It doesn't necessarily actually wipe the data, but it re-writes the key information like space allocations, file names, etc.

    If you have stuff you want to save copy it to another device before re-formatting.
     
  9. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

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    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #9
    Keep in mind one thing through all the various suggestions provided above- that if you do intend to use Time Machine to backup other drives to your external that you must format the drive initially as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) with a GUID Partition Map Scheme. Time Machine will not work on the drive as it is formatted now (FAT32 which has an MBR Partition Map).

    Once you have formatted the drive, you can then make partition and format that partition as FAT32 in Disk Utility if needed. I have done this as an experiment and a PC will see the FAT32 partition even with the GUID Partition Map.

    If you will be using this with PC as well as Mac, another alternative is to just keep the whole drive as Mac OS Extended and install MacDrive software on the PC which will allow it to see and work with Mac OS disks.
     
  10. MacAgent84 macrumors member

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    Jan 11, 2009
    #10
    I would definitely choose to format the drive in Mac OS Extended Journaled, as this is a very quick, almost instant process, unlike formatting to FAT32 or NTFS. This will allow you to use both Windows and the Mac OS on this drive, and you will also be able to use the OS X Time Machine feature if you wish. Formatting a drive in Mac OS Extended makes much more sense in general, as it is quick and allows you to do everything you would want to do. And, you do not want to Erase Free data, just to let you know. You want to Erase the entire drive if you want to format it.
     
  11. meisyong macrumors newbie

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    Feb 9, 2009
    #11
    after format it to MAC OS Extended Journaled, will it still be able to read & write in windows? tks for your help!
     
  12. MacAgent84 macrumors member

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    Jan 11, 2009
    #12
    Yes, it will definitely will be able to read and write in Windows in Boot Camp, VMware Fusion, or Parallels, in addition, for example being able for other Windows machines to connect through a USB to SATA cable to read and write to the drive. Do you plan on having both Windows and OS X on this drive?
     
  13. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

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    #13
    If you format the whole drive as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) you will not be able to use the drive in Windows without the addition of the commercial software MacDrive by MediaFour (which runs $49.95 for a single computer installation). Without that, Windows can not even recognize the existence of Mac OS Extended formatted drives much less read from them or write to them. Sorry MacAgent84!

    If you partition the drive and keep one partition formatted as FAT32, Windows will be able to use that partition without additional software.
     
  14. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #14
    I'd just like to throw my weight behind sickmacdoc's comments. Windows cannot read a HFS+ formatted partitions without third-party drivers.
     
  15. Chipskip macrumors member

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    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    AZ
    #15
    Jumping in!

    Does anyone know if windows and Mac can read/write to ext2 or ext3 formatted drives?

    I know these are Linux formats but I did read somewhere that it is a simple driver install (freeware) for windows but I don't know about mac?

    I am about to be in the same situation with a new external drive. I deal with large ISO files so FAT32 is completely out of the question for me.
     
  16. meisyong macrumors newbie

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    Feb 9, 2009
    #17

    okie thanks for the advice. i do not how to format the whole drive to Mac OS Extended, but may i ask how do i format a part of it to FAT32? pardon me for the noob question..
     
  17. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

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    Jul 26, 2004
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    Montreal, QC
    #18
    Disk Utility:
     

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  18. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

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    New Hampshire
    #19
    Hope you don't mind me borrowing your picture and adding one part BlueRevolution. I'll delete it if you do.


    I just wanted to add one thing- if you think you may ever want to use the Mac OS Extended partiton (partition 1 in BllueRevolution's pic) with a cloning program such as Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to make a bootable clone of your internal disk, you will need to double check one thing in addition when you originally partition the drive. Since we don't know what type of Mac you will be using this with meisyong, I can't tell you what choice to make but---

    When you first go into the Partition section, first make the change as indicated to have the "Volume Scheme" section read "2 partitions" as shown. Then as step 2, click the "Options" button which will open a window as shown in the second pic. If you are using an Intel based Mac choose GUID there for bootability, and if you are using a PowerPC based Mac choose Apple Partition Map. Then go ahead with selecting each partition and defining what format each should use. From experience, make the FAT32 the last partition on the disk.

    The only time this can be set (without erasing the whole drive and setting it up again that is) is at the beginning which I why I wanted to toss this in.
     

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  19. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #20
    Not at all. That's a good suggestion as well. It can't hurt to choose whatever partition map is appropriate to bootability on your system, and as you say that can really help down the road. Even if you're not planning to boot from the drive, I'd pick the right partition map anyway.

    One thing I'm not sure of: can any PowerPC Macs boot to USB? I thought only Intel Macs had that functionality.

    One frivolous addition: holy JPEG compression, Batman!
     
  20. meisyong macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #21
    hey guys, many thanks for the help.. really appreciate it! :)

    I will try it and tell you guys how it goes..
     

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