Portable hard drive - HELP !

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by meghal, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. meghal macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2010
    Hello friends,
    I am new to Mac OS. I have a new MBP 15'.
    I have bought a Western Digital 750GB hard drive and I even used it once to back up using Time Machine.
    Now I was thinking that Can I use the same hard drive on Windows and Mac both to store media?
    At present as it is formatted in Mac OS (Extended ) format, I think it is not recognised by Windows.
    But can we create such partitions of the portable drive that one of the partition can be used for Time Machine back ups and other one as FAT32 for media storage from both Windows and Mac?
    Please do help and guide.


  2. tjb1 macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2010
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Yes you can create as many partitions as you want in whatever format you need. Also there are apps that allow windows/mac to read/write partitions they normally cant like NTFS-3G for mac.
  3. GGJstudios, Dec 7, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Yes, you can create multiple partitions. You can also use apps to read or write to your current format from Windows:

    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.
    • 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
  4. Stvwndr219 macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2009
    I think FAT32 works for both Windows and OS X and will probably give you the least headaches when you want to transfer files between systems. And yes, it's as simple as going into Disk Utility and repartitioning the drive. :)
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Since the OP wants to share the drive for media storage, it's possible they have individual files, such as movies, that are larger than 4GB. If so, FAT32 won't work. NTFS is a better choice for file sharing between Mac and Windows.
  6. meghal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2010
    Thanks !!

    Thank you friends... I will try your suggestions and get back to you If any issues.
    I appreciate your help.

  7. Stev0lution macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2010
    That was a problem for me, as I use both Windows (for school) and OSX (personal). I just use the program "Split and Concat." It splits the large file into smaller ones so that they can be transferred. Once they're at the location you intend the file to be, you just zip them back together. It's a little time consuming, but you get the best of both worlds IMO.
  8. Saturdays macrumors member


    Nov 18, 2010
    Somewhere in USA
    MacDrive for Windows works very well for me.

    I think the best solution would be to use exFAT, considering Apple just released its compatibility recently to all Macs.
    Make one partition exFAT and the other HFS+, then you can use exFAT on Windows and Mac, and HFS+ for time machine.

    or play with the set up how you wish.
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It depends which version of Mac OS X and which version of Windows are being used, as exFAT is not compatible with all versions:

    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)
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
  10. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Now I was thinking that Can I use the same hard drive on Windows and Mac both to store media?"

    Yes, you can reinitialize and repartition the drive to have both Mac and Windows formatted partitions on it.


    I wouldn't do that with ANY drive for the Mac that I intended to keep valuable files on.

    I've seen numerous postings in this forum from folks who have a "dual-partitioned" drive for both Mac and Windows, and, at some point (usually when the drive is connected to a PC) have had something go wrong and..... POOF! .... there goes the Mac partition and all its data.

    My suggestion is that if you have a "Mac backup drive" that is going to have important files on, that that drive should be initialized as a Mac drive, and should never be used with anything other than a Mac.

    If you need a backup drive for Windows PC's, get a second drive for that purpose.

    If you need to move files between platforms, use a USB flashdrive for just that.

    If you want a "shared drive" of larger capacity than will fit on a flashdrive, get a hard drive that will be "dedicated" for that purpose. But again, don't put your _critical_ Mac backups or files on it.

    Just my opinion, and the opinion of others will be different....

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