Using a PC hard drive with OS X?

qtip919

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 24, 2002
279
0
Hi,

I found an old Dell laptop hard drive and I bought one of these external hard drive enclosure kits and I was *hoping* to hook it up to my powerbook as a back up hard drive solution.

Is this possible? the drive is currently an NTFS formatted drive...what would I need to do to get OS X to recognize this?
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,194
6
Adelaide, Australia
OSX will recognise it and read from it but to make it fully functional, use Disk Utility to reformat it. Choose FAT32 (called MSDOS format from memory) if you want to use the drive on both PCs and Macs or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) if you want just Macs to be able to use it. The latter will let you use bigger file names, strange characters in file names, and larger single files AFAIK.
 

louis_sx

macrumors regular
Jul 6, 2005
153
0
International House of Louis
yup, FAT32 doesn't allow /\|:*"<>
FAT32 doesn't allow a file size greater than 4GB
And FAT32 doesn't officially support partitions greater than 32GB, though PC utilities like Partition Magic can wiggle around that.

What I DIDN'T realize is that you could format a drive that way in OS X. :D
 

qtip919

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 24, 2002
279
0
Shoot, something is not working for me...when I plug in the drive, OS X does not recognize it...

The drive is currently formatted as a NTFS drive.

(note, a WinPC recognizes it, so its not faulty hardware)

When I connect it via USB 2.0, it just makes a weird 'click - click - click ...' noise...

I cant imagine that I need a driver???
 

qtip919

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 24, 2002
279
0
aaarrrghhh!!!

this is so frustrating...I can totally get this to work on my pc...why isnt my mac picking this up!?!
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,681
1,184
New Zealand
Yeah, a clicking drive is not good. Make sure that all the cables are attached properly, and be prepared for the drive to fail (if it hasn't already) :(
 

qtip919

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 24, 2002
279
0
1. The drive is powered by the USB 2.0 port

2. The drive works on Windows PCs...Ive plugged it in to my Toshiba and can access the drive without problems...

doing the EXACT same thing to my mac results in a clicking hard drive...clicks are about 1 sec. apart from each other and continue until I unplug it...
 

Anonymous Freak

macrumors 603
Dec 12, 2002
5,121
432
Cascadia
qtip919 said:
1. The drive is powered by the USB 2.0 port

2. The drive works on Windows PCs...Ive plugged it in to my Toshiba and can access the drive without problems...

doing the EXACT same thing to my mac results in a clicking hard drive...clicks are about 1 sec. apart from each other and continue until I unplug it...
Sounds like it's not getting enough power, as grapes has suggested. Is your Mac old enough to not have USB 2.0? If you do have USB 2.0, then it sounds like there is probably something wrong with either the drive or the enclosure, and it's a fluke that it DOES work on the PC.

(Minor correction: FAT32 does support >32GB partitions. It was a limitation of prior Windows OSes that limited it to that, not a limitation of FAT32 itself.)
 

Texas04

macrumors 6502a
Jul 2, 2005
880
0
Texas
I had the same problem,
First make sure the power and everything works, as suggested,
second DONT FORMAT ON THE MAC!
(It wont work, why i dont know...)
What i did:
Went on the PC, formatted using the utility in Windows 2k, made 2 Partions, One 31GB, the other 29GB in FAT 32. Then I ejected the Disk from my Windows 2K, plugged it in to my Mac (iMac G3 400MHZ~) in the USB port, it will take a couple seconds but it will eventually recognize it. A few minutes at most. Then all of a sudden after calling various companies including apple I did what they said i couldnt, I shared an external Fat 32 Drive on OS 10.2.8 with My PC. email me if you have trouble
coolguyvic62@gmail.com
 

qtip919

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 24, 2002
279
0
Texas04 said:
I had the same problem,
First make sure the power and everything works, as suggested,
second DONT FORMAT ON THE MAC!
(It wont work, why i dont know...)
What i did:
Went on the PC, formatted using the utility in Windows 2k, made 2 Partions, One 31GB, the other 29GB in FAT 32. Then I ejected the Disk from my Windows 2K, plugged it in to my Mac (iMac G3 400MHZ~) in the USB port, it will take a couple seconds but it will eventually recognize it. A few minutes at most. Then all of a sudden after calling various companies including apple I did what they said i couldnt, I shared an external Fat 32 Drive on OS 10.2.8 with My PC. email me if you have trouble
coolguyvic62@gmail.com

Sounds promising...going to try to do it right now...will post results immediately afterwards...
 

qtip919

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 24, 2002
279
0
well, no luck so far...

I have formatted and partitioned the disk as FAT32, 2 partitions of 10 and 20g each. I did this on another computer, as the external hard drive works perfectly on my other windows laptop.
 

javiercr

macrumors 6502
Apr 12, 2005
419
0
London
qtip919 said:
well, no luck so far...

I have formatted and partitioned the disk as FAT32, 2 partitions of 10 and 20g each. I did this on another computer, as the external hard drive works perfectly on my other windows laptop.
I have a similar problem with one of my hardrives (maxtor 250Gb ata133), it formated it to FAT32 and NTFS (panther should be able to read ntfs and tiger shoul be able to write too..i heard) and nothing works, i just doesn't read anything formated by a PC and the only thing I can do is reformat from diskutiliy to anything I want and then it works for both pc and mac.
 

stevep

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2004
875
2
UK
It could be something to do with the chipset in the external drive enclosure - there are commonly 2 different sorts, Oxford and Prolific. Each of these chipsets have a number of variants, some of which will work with usb and firewire - do a Google search to find out which one your enclosure has. From what I remember the Oxford 911 chipset seems to work well with Macs.
The enclosure I used to havewas called a Metal Gear Box, it had a Prolific chipset, and was rarely recognised by OS X, but worked 100% with WinXP, so I gave it to a windows user.

The drive will draw a fairly high current from the usb port - you need to check that its not drawing too much as you could overheat the components supplying power to the port - I think there's a limit of 500mA.
 

qtip919

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 24, 2002
279
0
I did some googling to find the chipset, and cant get any information....the manufacturer of this product is vantec, the model is NexStar 3.

Its a really nice little product, I guess Im lucky to have this windows laptop and can now back up my data on that machine...too bad I cant use this on my mac as I have a spare 60gb hard drive from an older dell laptop that I wanted to use to back up my current drive on my powerbook...well, thanks for the help all, I guess I am finally giving up and heading off the the apple store to get some apple-based solution ;)
 

Aliquis

macrumors regular
Oct 4, 2004
130
0
Utah
K, few things you can do. I'd throw it on the PC and format it FAT32 first.
Then take it into OSX and see if diskutility will read it. Then format it there.
Also you may want to throw it into another mac box and format it there to see if it will read it or if maybe your case interfacing is prohibiting you from what you want to do.
 

qtip919

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 24, 2002
279
0
I did the unthinkable...I got desperate and popped open my powerbook and put the hard drive in there and booted off the DVD Tiger disk, formatted the hard drive and installed Tiger on it.

Then, I took the hard drive, put it back in the case and put my original hard drive back in the powerbook and tried to use the external drive...no luck

at this point, I am convinced that it is a problem with the chipset of the external drive enclosure. There is no way this thing is compatible with Mac. I can still use this drive and enclosure with my PC laptop, no problem...too bad though...
 

stevep

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2004
875
2
UK
Brave move, and a good try. And it points to the enclosure and its chipset(feeling a bit smug at this point, even though it was a lucky guess on my part).
What you need now is for someone to post the make and model of an enclosure they use successfully with OS X. You should be able to return the NexStar 3, because it claims to work with OS 8.6 and above and it clearly doesn't do what is claimed.
 

thirdstripe

macrumors newbie
Nov 10, 2005
4
0
Toronto, On
Hey! Mac newbie here. I was having the exact same problem with my Nexstar 2. I ended up having to format the harddrive is OS extended journaled for it to be recognized by my mac. Although when I plugged it back into my xp pc laptop, it was not recognized. So it turns out that the Nexstar is supported by mac but not both mac and pc at the same time. Are there any external hard drive encasements out there that supports both operating systems, or is it not a matter of the encasement but a question of a lack of communication between osx and xp?
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
qtip919 said:
I did the unthinkable...I got desperate and popped open my powerbook and put the hard drive in there and booted off the DVD Tiger disk, formatted the hard drive and installed Tiger on it.

Then, I took the hard drive, put it back in the case and put my original hard drive back in the powerbook and tried to use the external drive...no luck

at this point, I am convinced that it is a problem with the chipset of the external drive enclosure. There is no way this thing is compatible with Mac. I can still use this drive and enclosure with my PC laptop, no problem...too bad though...
No, I think it ain't never going to work on USB bus power from your Mac -- I'm guessing that the drive enclosure exceeds the Macs ability to provide power (does the enclosure come with a cable that has 2 USB connectors, by chance, or a USB and a PS2?) That coupled with possibly a high-power demand older mechanism. Either find an AC adaptor compatible with the enclosure, or buy a new enclosure that comes with AC adaptor I think is your solution.