Time Machine drive on a PC

Discussion in 'macOS' started by BlueMerle, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. BlueMerle macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2008
    Greetings all,

    I have a 500 GB WD MyBook that I use for storage on my 15" MBP running 10.5.5. Using VMWare Fusion I have had no trouble seeing the external drive on Windows XP.

    Recently I decided to allow Time Machine to use the drive for backup. Since then I have not been able to see the drive on a PC. The PC seems to see the drive when it's plugged as it responds to the new hardware/usb mass storage device.. but it will not mount under 'My Computer" or in Windows explorer.

    The drive functions normally on the Mac.

    I'm almost certain that allowing Time Machine to use the drive has caused this problem.

    Is there a fix or workaround for this.. other than reformatting the drive and starting over?

    Any help would be appreciated!
  2. Supp0rtLinux macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2008
    I'd wager that you never formatted your MyBook specifically for your Mac, so out of the box it was FAT32, which is read/writeable by both Mac's and Windoze systems. When you made it a TM drive, it was reformatted as HFS+ Journaled. Windows cannot read HFS(+) volumes w/o third party s/w.

    A suggestion: use Disk Utility and slice your external drive into two partitions. 500Gb raw is roughly 470 usable after formatting, so perhaps two x 235Gb volumes. Or, if you want more for either OS, you could 170Gb and 300Gb, etc. In any case, format one as a FAT32 volume and the other as HFS+ Journaled. Then tell TM to use the HFS+ volume for backups. The other FAT32 volume will be visible to both OS's, specifically to Windoze.

    One thing to keep in mind... while you can have a large FAT32 volume, no individual file on a FAT32 volume can exceed 2Gb in size. While this is largely a non-issue, but on rare occasion you get larger files (movies, DVD ISO's, etc that exceed 2Gb in size). These will fail to copy to the FAT32 volume.

    In my case, I went with a 1TB WD MyBook and sliced it into 3 volumes: 500Gb, 250Gb, and 200Gb (only 950Gb was usuable after formatting). The 500Gb is FAT32 and stores all my data that is needed between both Leopard and XP. The 250Gb is HFS+ for TM. The 200Gb is NTFS and is writable by XP and readable by Leopard, but it allows me to access files larger than 2Gb from Windoze.

    Oh, and read this: http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20080411155517808
  3. BlueMerle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2008
    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I also thought that the formatting might be an issue, but seeing that I used the disc on the PC prior to making it a Time Machine drive I'm not sure that formatting is the issue. I don't see how the Mac could have reformatted the drive when I choose to let it be a TM drive and not have wiped out everything that was on it. That's not possible as far as I know and it seems that there is only one partition.
  4. tibi08 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 17, 2007
    Brighton, UK
    Time Machine only works with HFS+. Therefore it must have reformatted it in some way or other. It's not hard to check, just mount it on OS X and right click on it in Finder.

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