Partitioning for a PC

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by ericp99, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. ericp99 macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2013
    I have a 1TB external hard drive that I am loaning to a friend who has a PC. The drive is formatted as OSX, but I made a 100GB partition that I formatted as MS DOS. My question is will he be able to recognize and write files to that partition or will Windows not recognize the drive at all? Thanks.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Open Disk Utility and select the external HDD (in the following screenshot an internal HDD was selected, but the same principle can be applied to an external HDD) and check for the partition map scheme.

    If it is GUID, then your friend needs MacDrive (7 day trial will work) to access the HDD, but you then also can leave the HDD as it is and not need to format or partition the HDD, as it will enable a Windows based PC (PC is short for Personal Computer, a Mac is a PC too) to read Mac OS X formatted HDDs.

    If it is MBR (Master Boot Record), then no formatting or partitioning is necessary, as the HDD is already formatted with either FAT32 (MS-DOS File System) or exFAT or NTFS, thus Windows can read or write to it.



    Overview of the four major file systems (called "Formats" in Mac OS X) used on Windows and Mac OS X, compiled by GGJstudios. You can use Disk Utility to format any HDD to your liking.

    Any external hard drive will work with PCs or Macs, as long as the connectors are there (Firewire, USB, etc.) It doesn't matter how the drive is formatted out of the box, since you can re-format any way you like. Formatting can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility, found in the /Applications/Utilities folder. Here are your formatting options:

    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

    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, here are some alternatives:
      • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion)
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, 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
    • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.

    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • 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
    • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
      [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.
  3. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Yeah, he'll be able to read and write to it. MS-DOS partition is the same as fat32, which every computer (even linux can read and write to).

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