Newbie External HD format question

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ari gold, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. ari gold macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    #1
    Hi, so I'm going to be buying a new Macbook in a few days and I'll be coming from an HP rig. I have a Western Digital external HD in FAT32 format and want to format to HFS once I get my mac. I'm assuming I can just drag and drop everything on my external onto the Macbook's internal HD, reformat the external, and send everything back onto it; would I have any problems with that? Thanks.
     
  2. catachip macrumors regular

    catachip

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    #2
    Hey. If you are just going to use it as an external drive to store files you don't even need to do anything, just keep it as it is. OS X can read and write FAT32 just fine, and you'll still be able to hook it up to any Windows-based PCs. If you put the drive in HFS+, Windows wont be able to read it without extra software.

    If, however, you want to use Time Machine with this drive, then yes, it will need to be in HFS+ format. In that case, you'll need to proceed with the method you proposed in your original post, although, you'll do best to create two separate partitions, one for your files and one for Time Machine.

    Good luck!
     
  3. ari gold thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    #3
    Thanks for the info, I want to reformat because I have some video files over 4gb and FAT32 doesn't like that, hence the reformatting. I'm thinking of partitioning the drive and leaving a sliver as FAT32 if I need to access stuff via Windows... I just wanted to double check that macs fully support FAT32 and whatnot.
     
  4. catachip macrumors regular

    catachip

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    #4
    As far as I know (and if some intrepid forum member can enlighten us) there is no easy way to create both a FAT32 and a HFS+ partition on the same drive. I found this website with an explanation of how to do it, although, it's pretty convoluted. The link is here. Also, it looks like you'll need a Windows PC to get it done. It may be easier to not worry about the FAT32 partition, although, it looks like it can be done if you want to undertake the steps.
     
  5. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #5
    After taking a look at that article I happened to notice that it was posted in 2003-- well before additional support for PC formats was built into OSX, so that is what one would have needed to do in that time frame.

    With Leopard, it is a simple matter that can be done completely within Disk Utility though. It takes longer to describe it than to actually do it! ;)

    • Start up Disk Utility
    • Select the drive to be operated on in the column on the left.
    • Go to the "Partition" tab at the top of the window
    • Change the "Volume Scheme:" entry via the pulldown menu to read "2 partitions"
    • Two equally sized partitions will appear in the graphic representing the drive
    • Click and drag the line between the two partitions to adjust the relative sizes of the partitions until it is right for your use. Click on each partition and you can see the see the size each will be
    • Click the first partition to highlight it. In the "Volume Information" give it a name and select Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
    • Click the second partition to select it, then name it and select "MS-DOS (FAT)" in the "Format:" field.
    • To check one thing, click the "Options" button at the bottom then make sure that "GUID" is selected in the window that appears so that the right type of Partition map is created. Click OK to exit that window
    • Click the "Apply" button at the bottom of the screen, then confirm your action.
    • In a short time the drive will be formatted as two partitions, the first with Mac OS Extended and the second with FAT32.
    • Quit Disk Utility and you are done

    EDIT: I just tried this again on a spare drive and it works fine- the FAT32 partition is seen fine on a Windows laptop I keep around for testing and as expected the Mac OS partition cannot be seen.
     

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