questionable methods of Western Digital (for my external HD)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by blacktop, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. blacktop macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    Hi all,

    I have recently purchased a 1TB western digital external HD.
    its the myStudio edition and well...its been working fine so far...

    recently i had a little lapse in my sanity and had problems (very small as they were) and decided that a phone call to WD helpline would be required.

    I spoke to a gentleman from WD and was informed that my particular model of HD (this isn't my 1st btw) was formatted to work only on a mac, seeing as that was the 1st machine it was plugged into...therefore whenever i plug into one of my windows based laptops, it makes the st*pid noise but doesn't show me anything in 'my computer'.

    I was wondering if this was actually the case, and if so, has anyone else had this happen to them??

    I'm sure the whole point of an external HD is to take it anywhere and plug it into anything, my last one (with Seagate) didnt have this issue, and neither did the 1st that i purchased from WD.


    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030

    Darth.Titan

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #2
    If the drive is formatted HFS+ (standard Mac format), the WD support rep was absolutely correct. It will not show in 'My Computer' in Windows.
    Windows cannot read or write HFS+ volumes without installing something like MacDrive.

    You might have had better luck with your other externals because they were formatted with the FAT filesystem, which while usable by both Mac and PC, comes with its own set of caveats.
     
  3. blacktop thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #3
    thank you very much....

    im guessing this means then if i had plugged it into a windows machine 1st, this problem wouldn't have occurred.

    no problem, will probably just get the software installed on the windows machine.

    Thanks once again!
     
  4. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #4
    If you want to be able to read and write from both Macs and Windows machines then you'll want to reformat the drive as FAT32. The limitations of this are that you can't have any single files larger than 4GB. You will also obviously lose everything on the drive when you reformat. You can format with FAT32 using the Disk Utility in your Utilities folder in your Applications folder.

    The Western Digital software could very well format the drive as NTFS in Windows, which OSX can read from but cannot write to.

    In summary:

    NTFS - Windows can read/write. OSX can read.
    HFS - Windows can only read and/or write with special software. OSX can read/write.
    FAT32 - Windows can read/write. OSX can read/write. Individual file size limit of 4GB.
     
  5. tomllama macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #5
    If it came formatted to a Mac (HFS+) then plugging it into a Windows PC first would have made no difference.

    If you want to format it as FAT32, you can't have a partition larger than 32 GB. A 1 TB drive formated with 32 individual 32 GB partitions would not be something I'd want to do.

    External drives are NOT designed as you think: take it anywhere and plug it into anything and the information on it can be shared regardless of computer OS. That would be nice but, it's not standard nor expected.

    You should do a search for 'Macdrive' across the forums here. I think you will see that it is not a magic bullet and can be a problem.
     
  6. Donar macrumors 6502

    Donar

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    #6
    WD "Studio" drives are all formatted with HFS+, so Windows can not read them. But they can be reformatted to FAT32 or NTFS.
     
  7. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    No, FAT32 can be used for sizes up to 8TB. However, I think Windows only let's you format up to 32GB because Microsoft wanted to get people to use NTFS instead. OSX lets you format far larger FAT32 drives.
     
  8. finnrose macrumors member

    finnrose

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #8
    Is it possible to get the files off a windows-used external onto my Mac? I am switching platforms and I have a lot of data stored on an external. All my kids photos ect. What can I do?
     
  9. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #9
    OSX can read NTFS formatted drives and can read and write FAT formatted drives. So, you should be able to at least copy any information off a Windows formatted drive without an issue although you may not be able to write to that drive without reformatting it and wiping it.
     
  10. SDub90 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Location:
    Long Island
    #10
    You can read mac drives using a program called.... mac drive.

    You can read AND write NTFS filesystems on macs using an addon called "ntfs-3g"

    You can read and write on windows and mac natively by reformatting it to FAT32 - but you won't be able to have files larger than 4GB.

    And the WD rep was correct - a mac drive will not appear in windows explorer if it's HFS.
     
  11. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #11
    The problem with FAT32 is you can't have individual files larger than 4 GB.
     
  12. blacktop thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #12
    wow,

    thanks all for the overwhelming response...all duly noted...

    i will probably download MacDrive untill i can afford to replace all computers
    in the house with OS X systems!

    Thank You
     
  13. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #13
    Another alternative would be to manually install the HFS drivers in the latest version of Boot Camp on your Windows machines. I.e. Boot Camp now supports read (and write(?)) access to OS X drives. I've seen it mentioned online that people have been able to install these on any Windows machine so as to get access to HFS drives. Might be worth a try since you'll already have Boot Camp with Snow Leopard. :)
     
  14. finnrose macrumors member

    finnrose

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #14
    Thank you so much for the response! I'm glad I don't need to worry. My plan is to pull the files off the old external onto the mac and then transfer them to a new empty external. Then I'll probably reformat that drive and put all the data back on it so I have two back ups. I really need an off-site storage so i can keep them seperated or at least a fire box to keep one totally safe.
     
  15. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #15
    No problem! A second back up in another location would be a good idea. I've managed to get my mother-in-law-to-be to backup all of her scans of her sold artwork (paintings) on an external drive. I'm trying to get store the backup drive somewhere other than right next to the computer though, to no avail. They've got a perfectly good shed at the back of the garden too!

    P.S. Great site, you've taken some truly lovely photos! :)
     

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