Transfer from PC to Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by pk314, May 18, 2014.

  1. pk314 macrumors member

    May 18, 2014
    Hello everyone,

    So I have been a longtime PC user but my current HP is beginning to give me problems so I have made the decision to switch to Mac. I'm going to be buying an external hard drive (link on the bottom). Before my laptop completely dies, I want to transfer my data to the external drive, however, I've come to the understanding that these hard drives must be formatted to be compatible with Mac OS. So my question is, if I transfer the data to the drive from my current PC and then go to format the drive for my future MacBook, will that cause the data to be deleted?

  2. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Then for you PC get the Windows software MacDrive. With this software you will format for OS X and read/write to it.
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    If you reformat to the Mac OS Extended format on the Mac, yes the data would be erased. But if you just want to move data once from the PC to the Mac, just format the drive to NTFS on the PC then move the files to the drive. NTFS can be read on a Mac but a Mac cannot write to NTFS without add-on software, but it sounds like you don't need to do that anyway. So just copy your data to the NTFS formatted drive then plug it in to the Mac and copy it over. Then you can reformat to Mac OS Extended and use the included Time Machine software to backup your whole drive.
  4. mtngoatjoe macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2008
    You could format to any FAT format and the Mac and the PC should be able to read/write to the drive.

    When you're done transferring everything, format the drive as Mac OS Extended (Journaled), and use it for Time Machine.
  5. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Further to the other answers here re. issues with NTFS - OS X can happily read & write Windows "exFAT" format. Unless you have an ancient version of XP that pre-dates exFAT, it is probably a good choice for USB sticks and external drives that you want to use to exchange data between Mac and Windows without extra software.

    Also - I see that the drive comes with backup software. If you were planning to use that, make sure that it backs up to 'regular' files and doesn't bundle everything in some proprietary archive format. Probably better to copy files manually (rule #1 is usually not to install software that comes with disk drives unless you really have to!).

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