So, using external hard drives with a mac....

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ahrenba, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. ahrenba macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    #1
    Hey Guys,

    I am planning to buy a MacBook soon. I have been a Windows user for about 10 years and am tech savvy so don't hesitate to simplify the answer. (That sounded arrogant, didn't it? It wasn't meant to be! :))

    Anyways, I have an NTFS external hard drive right now. I would like to use it with both my Mac and my PC's. What will it have to be formatted in?

    I have heard that it has to be FAT32, but then you run into the problem of the 4GB file size limit, right?

    Can someone explain this? Thanks.
     
  2. nomar383 macrumors 65816

    nomar383

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Rexburg, ID
    #2
    You can use FAT32, it's fine. NTFS will be more problematic because OS X cannot write to it natively
     
  3. ahrenba thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    #3
    But, what about the 4GB file size limit? That would be a problem for me. Does that still hold true?
     
  4. djtrippin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    #4
    Your Mac will be able to read an external hard drive formatted in NTFS, however it will not be able to write to it. You can use FAT32 so that both can write to it, but I've never been a fan of FAT32.

    Your best solution for using it with both windows and OS X is to leave it connected solely to either a pc or your mac, and share the drive across the network so any computer connected to your network can read or write to it regardless of the formatting.
     
  5. nomar383 macrumors 65816

    nomar383

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Rexburg, ID
    #5
    According to wikipedia, you're correct. 4GB is the maximum file size, not volume size though if that's what you meant

    EDIT: You can also use HFS+ and download a utility to R/W to it with windows
     
  6. ahrenba thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    #6
    Darn! Are there any options (programs) for Mac that will let it write to an NTFS file system?

    I really just wanted to make sure that it could be readable/writable by windows and mac osx so that if I wanted to connect it to a friends computer, etc.
     
  7. ahrenba thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    #7
    I am not too experienced with the Mac default file system. Is that is what it is called? HFS+

    What utility will allow me to R/W to NTFS?
     
  8. patrickmacrumor macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    #8
    Do you have any file which is over 4 GB? The only time, I run into this kind of problem is when I created a password-protected disk image file. Note: I think disk image in the Mac jargon is not the same as disk image in the Windows jargon.
     
  9. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #9
    There certainly is a solution to this. With the combination of MacFUSE ( http://code.google.com/p/macfuse/ ) and the driver provided by NTFS-3G ( http://www.ntfs-3g.org/ ) the Mac OS can successfully write to NTFS filesystems in addition to the native capabilitites of reading from them.

    I have been using the combination for about three months now, though not heavily, and have seen no problems arising from it under OSX 10.5- but I imagine it would be best to google for reviews from people who have used it more heavily.

    Hope that points you in the right direction since it is possible.
     
  10. ahrenba thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    #10
    Awesome!! Thanks guys!

    I'll definitely check this out when I get my Mac.
     

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