Reformatting external hard drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by neptune229, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. neptune229 macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2009
    I recently bought a 640 GB Comstar external hard drive for my macbook, and it came out of the box formatted in NTFS. I know that if the drive was in this format, I could not use it with my mac. So I opened up disk utility and tried to reformat it into Mac OS Extended (Journaled), but disk utility showed an error and the drive wasn't reformatted. So I tried FAT32 instead, and it worked. The drive has been working fine now, however, I have realized a limitation of FAT32: the files can only be smaller than 4 GB. This is a problem for me, so I need some advice. So here is my dilemma: I need to be able to share the contents of the drive over a local network that has both windows and mac computers. (Users on the network only need to be able to read the drive, not necessarily write). However, I can't use FAT32 because of the file size limitation. I'm not sure how to format the drive so that I (using my mac) can read and write it, and users on the local network can read it. I'm thinking HFS+ (mac os extended, journaled), but will windows users be able to read it then? Sorry if I sound like such a newbie.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Yes, as long as the computer that is doing the sharing (presumably your Mac) can read it, any connected computer can read it. HFS+ is the way to go. Are you still having trouble formatting it?
  3. neptune229 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2009
    Hey thanks for replying to my thread so quickly!!!
    Ok so I tried using disk utility to erase the drive and reformat it into Mac OS Extended (case sensitive, journaled), and it seemed to be working for a few seconds, until disk utility gave the error:
    "Disk Erase failed with the error:
    File system formatter failed."
    Now I seem to be stuck, I'm not sure what to do.
    Any advice? Again, thanks in advance!

    Edit: I also tried to Verify and Repair the disk, but neither of those worked.
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    You need to initialize the drive, and not the partition (which is below and indented in Disk Utility).
  5. neptune229 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2009
    Thanks, caveman, I actually figured it out myself; I repartitioned the drive and created a single HFS+ partition. Thanks to everyone who helped out!

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