Transfer files from PC to external drive

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ivory10, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. Ivory10 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    #1
    Hi all,

    I am going to get an MBP 17" in 1 month time (first Mac) and I would like to get an external hard drive for backup & media storage.

    My media files are on a desktop PC and, as I am also about to move to a different country, it would be ideal for me to do the following:

    1) get the external drive and transfer files from PC to the drive now
    2) take it with me and connect it to MBP when I get the Mac

    As mentioned, I have never owned a Mac and all the stuff I find on the internet relates to transferring files from PC to Mac. Is it possible to transfer those files to the Mac drive "in absence" of the MBP? What about formatting issues?

    Also, I have read on this forum that people generally suggest deleting the backup software on external drives, as OS X takes care of it pretty well. Should I do that on first connection of the drive (i.e. upon connecting it to PC ) or when I connect it to the MBP?

    Thanks!
     
  2. diminiko macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #2
    If not looking for portable drive then Apple time capsule may be simplest option for you. It is Mac and PC compatible but pricier than generic drives.

    Otherwise:

    1/ Buy your external drive of choice (make sure it is mac and PC compatible) and format it in NTFS for use with PC

    2/ Copy all the files you want by drag and drop

    3/ When you buy your MBP- copy all the files onto the MBP drive (OS X will read NTFS) by drag and drop

    4/ Reformat the external drive with Disk Utility (choose extended journaled and GUID partition on options)

    5/ Allow time machine to use the external drive for back up

    Couple of points tho-

    a) if you want to use a portable drive and switch between mac and PC, you must keep it in NTFS. Download an NTFS utility for Mac OS X from the apple download site. This will allow you to read and write in NTFS from your mac.

    b) if you keep it in NTFS you can't use it with time machine backup on OS X

    I get around this by having one external drive just for time machine and one for carting to work.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. lilweeds macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    #3
    Why not just format it Fat32? Then the Mac and PC can share the drive all around.
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #4
    Every external HDD with a Firewire and/or USB port is Mac OS X and Windows compatible. It comes down to the file system that is used.


    FAT32 only allows a maximum file size of 4GB (per file).


    http://guides.macrumors.com/File_systems
     
  5. Ivory10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    #5
    Thanks for the swift replies!

    The problem is that the MBP only has 500GB hard disk and the media library will be larger than that, so I won't be able to get it all on MBP and then reformat?

    With regards to the point of external drive being compatible for both windows and mac - I am a bit confused, if that is the case why companies like Western Digital sell external drive for Mac as a separate product line? Do they differ just for the back up software?

    Thanks!
     
  6. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #6
    They come pre-formatted with HFS+ (Mac OS Extended) as a file system and Mac OS X software for back ups.


    Beware the WD MyBook Studio 2TB External HDD - Mac Forums
     
  7. diminiko macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #7
    Agree with that, poor wording on my part. I still look for 'compatible with mac and pc' on the box to avoid retailers blaming malfunctioning drives on it being connected to a mac!
     
  8. Ivory10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    #8
    As you will have guessed, I know next to nothing about the subject, but your replies made me think the following - not sure if it's possible.

    Would it work if I:

    1) get the drive, format it to NTFS, transfer file from PC
    2) get MBP, connect the drive, partition it and reformat just one partition to HFS+
    3) transfer files via Mac from NTFS to HFS+ partition
    4) format NTFS partition to HFS+
    5) merge and forget about Windows

    If the external drive is 2TB, this will allow a transfer of about 1.4TB, consider something could stay on the internal drive during the process. Am I talking nonsense?
     
  9. Ivory10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
  10. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #10
    Formatting a drive with HFS+, FAT32 and NTFS (or any other file system) will erase the data on that drive (it will not overwrite the data, it will just become unaccessible via normal means), thus copying data to an NTFS formatted volume and then partition it again (which you could have done before anyway) is not possible without third party software.

    So either partition the HDD with one NTFS and one HFS+ partition first, then copy all the data to NTFS, then from NTFS to HFS and then format the NTFS partition to an HFS partition would be a better way.

    Or even better, network the two computers and copy the data from the PC to the HFS+ formatted HDD via your Mac, which has access to your PC via network.
     

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