Portable hard drive

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by zdlyons, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. zdlyons macrumors member

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    Sep 30, 2010
    #1
    I am looking to buy a 1 terabyte portable hard drive to store my media projects / extra media files on. I need something that can transfer back and forth between Mac and PC, PC and Mac. What suggestions do you have? What has worked well for you?
    Any and all information would be helpful. Thanks!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #2
    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 in HFS (Mac OS Extended) or FAT32 or NTFS-3G can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility.

    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.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • 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
    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)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB

    If you want more information, here are just a few of many threads on this topic, found by searching the forum with MRoogle:

    Mac Guide on External Hard Drives
    Mission impossible: Finding a good simple external hard drive for MAC
    Portable External Drive / Storage Recommendations
    What type of external hard drive is best?
    Can anyone Recommend a good 1tb External Hard Drive?
    looking for a 2 tb external Hard drive with firewire
    Suggestions on an External Hard Drive
    anyone could recommend a good external hard drive for the imac?
    Segate Expansion External Drive 1TB - Need Help!
    Which external hard drive should I buy - Seagate vs. LaCie vs ????
    Looking to purchase a 1TB external hard drive
    ... and many, many others.
     
  3. zdlyons thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 30, 2010
    #3
    so you're saying that as long as i get a hard drive that is smaller than 2 TB i can format it as FAT32 using Disk Utility.app (OS 10.6.6) to work with mac & pc and transfer files back and forth from mac & pc. Correct?
     
  4. simsaladimbamba

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    #4
    Yes.
    But the maximum file size is 4GB.
     
  5. zdlyons thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 30, 2010
    #5
    Maximum file size that can be stored on it? why is that? i have a back up hard drive for my mac that has files > 8gb on it that are playable...
     
  6. simsaladimbamba

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    #6
    If you read the FAQ GGJstudios provided, only FAT32 has that 4GB limit, and that is because it is a very old file system and it can only store 2^32 - 1 bytes.
    And as HFS+ is a bit more sophisticated than FAT32, it can store files bigger than 4GB.
     
  7. zdlyons thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 30, 2010
    #7
    yeah but from the look of that faq, you cannot format the drive as NTFS using a mac or transfer files back and forth in ntfs between mac & pc :/
     
  8. simsaladimbamba

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    #8
    You can, just not natively. You need NTFS-3G (link in FAQ) to be able to write to NTFS formatted volumes in Mac OS X, as Mac OS X is already capable of reading NTFS formatted volumes.
     
  9. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    Dec 10, 2002
    #9
    I have a basic WD "elements" 1TB drive I use for dumping media files. I chose to format it with exFAT and it works very well. The formatting overhead is minimal and worked fine with WinXP (have not tried with Win7). While I much prefer FireWire, the USB 2 performance isn't as bad as I anticipated.
     
  10. zdlyons, Jan 18, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011

    zdlyons thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 30, 2010
    #10
    EDIT:
    You're saying you would suggest formatting my 1tb hard drive as NTFS-3G in order to work with larger files between mac and pc?

    thanks!
     
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #11
    If you need to store files larger than 4GB, that eliminates FAT32 as an option.
    If you need to share with any Windows computer, NTFS is your only choice.
    If you share with only one or two Windows computers that you control, you can use NTFS or exFAT (note the limitations) or HFS+ (installing MacDrive on the PCs to read/write).
     
  12. zdlyons thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 30, 2010
    #12
    Hmm... does this work with usb thumb drives to for NTFS-3G? Because i formatted a 16G thumb drive for NTFS using the new NTFS-3G driver on my mac, and it it wouldn't open on windows. it said it needed formatted, then it said that it couldn't be formatted. :0
     
  13. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #13
    It should work both ways. Reformat it with Windows and make sure you can read and write to it from the Mac.
     
  14. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    Dec 10, 2002
    #14
    Thinking about it, in this era, how is formatting still a compatibility issue?

    Again, I don't know if the OP has settled on a choice, but exFAT works fine for me on Mac (R/W) and Windows XP (R/W). The only caveat is that Windows XP needed an update from Microsoft for it to work. From what I understand any Windows version XP or newer can work with exFAT. I don't use windows enough to have tried testing this claim. I definitely like that it has almost no overhead.
     
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #15
    From the link I posted earlier in this thread:
     
  16. zdlyons thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 30, 2010
    #16
    I have a My Passport Studio 500gb. I know its made primarily for mac, but all these above features are possible with it too, right? Just a formatting thing?
     
  17. simsaladimbamba

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    #17
    Yes, just a formatting thing. An HDD specially made for Mac is just a ploy to buy Mac OS Extended (HFS+) pre-formatted HDD. You can buy any USB or Firewire HDD out there and format it yourself.
     
  18. zdlyons thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 30, 2010
    #18
    Cool thanks!

    I had someone send me this link--looking for a good desktop back-up. http://goo.gl/zDuzv this will work well with time machine I am assuming

    Also, what are the pros and cons of a desktop external hard drive for back-up vs. a portable external hard drive for back-up?
     
  19. simsaladimbamba

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    #19
    Yep.
    Guide on how to use Disk Utility from the restore / installation DVD.
    Format Your Hard Drive Using Disk Utility
    Partition Your Hard Drive With Disk Utility

    Btw, you don't need to use shortened links, MR accepts them as long as they originally are.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...HS1_0TQ_1TB_DriveStation_Combo_4.html&EB=1239
     
  20. kuebby macrumors 68000

    kuebby

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    #20
    That's crazy! I even had to look up what an 'EiB' is.
     
  21. zdlyons thread starter macrumors member

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