pc to imac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by bbsniper, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. bbsniper macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2011
    I am thinking about getting a imac before the summer (probs the 2012 model when out) but I am wondering about swapping files from my win 7 desktop to the imac, would it be possible to use my pc hdd as a external drive and just swap the files over or would I have to format it to do that?

    Also could I boot windows 7 from my old hdd or would I need a clean install?
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Regarding the external HDD:


    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:

    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.
    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.
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)
    • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
    • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! 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
    • You can use this format if you only use the drive with Mac OS X, or use it for backups of your Mac OS X internal drive, or if you only share it with one Windows PC (with MacDrive installed on the PC)
    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.

    Regarding the Windows 7 install you already have: Sadly no, as Windows is not easily bootable from an external HDD.
  3. bbsniper thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2011
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "...would it be possible to use my pc hdd as a external drive and just swap the files over or would I have to format it to do that?"

    Assuming your PC's file system will be readable by the iMac (see reply #2), yes.

    I would suggest one of these as the best way to "handle" the drive after you pull it from the PC:
    (many items shown, they all work the same, just pick one you like that's cheap)

    You can even boot up from the USB/SATA dock "on the Mac side of things", to do maintenance, for an emergency, etc.

    The USB/SATA dock is a _very_ handy piece of hardware to have around. And did I mention that they were _cheap_? :)
  5. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    And you cannot boot into Windows on an external; you'd have to create a partition on the Mac's boot drive for that (I'd be curious to know whether you could use Bootcamp on an external if that external was also your Mac's boot drive).

    And be aware that Windows licensing may have to be dealt with; you can't always move a Windows system to another computer, even if it's the only copy, legally.

  6. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    Your Windows HDD is probably formated NTFS, so yes, you can plug in to your Mac and OS X will be able to copy its contents to the Mac HDD. OS X cannot write to NTFS, only read tough, so after copying, you cannot use your Windows HDD as an external mac device.

    IF your hard drive happens to be formated FAT, then you will be able to use as external device, as OS X can read and write to FAT.

    Regarding launching Windows on your MAC, the best way and only I believe is trough bootcamp, an application that comes bundled with your Mac. It allows you to install Windows on the Mac. Simply do that and you can run your games.

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