Using Bootcamp and Sharing drives?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by sng08, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. sng08 macrumors member

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    #1
    Hello All,

    I plan on making a move from PC to Mac (iMac 27" i7) in the next few days although I would like some clarification on sharing files using bootcamp.

    How would one share files between Windows and Mac OS X? I would preferably like all my files (i.e. Documents/Music) to be all located in one place so when I come to using either operating system, the file is up to date?

    I believe this could be done using an external hard drive but I am trying to avoid this. I aim to get an iMac with a 2TB HDD so I can equally divide the Hard Drive with 1TB allocated for Windows and 1TB for Mac OS X. Would I need to create a third partition to centralise my files? or is there a better solution?

    Also, am I right in saying if I have all my files in a central location (IE. my music) iTunes should be able to sync across either operating system? So if music file was added in Windows, the file should also appear on iTunes within Mac OSX?

    Thanks, I'd appreciate any advice given!
     
  2. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #2
    Unfortunately it's not quite that simple. iTunes for Mac and iTunes for Windows have slight differences in their library formats so I have not seen a real easy way to do what you want that actually works. There are constantly threads about this in the iTunes forum.

    Three partitions on the internal drive is a perfectly reasonable way to go, but has its own issues. Boot Camp Assistant will only run with one or two partitions on the internal HDD, so you will lose the ability to remove Windows with BCA down the line should you need to.

    Is your iMac your only computing device? If not, you might want to consider a network device. so that it is always there.

    I'm still hoping that along with the iOS based :apple:TV we get a non-Mac dedicated media server device, but I doubt we will.

    B
     
  3. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a

    Grannyville7989

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    #3
    I tried using a third FAT32 partition to work with my files between Windows 7 and Mac OS X but I found it to be a bit of a pain in the end. My preferred solution to this was using Windows Live Sync (soon to become Windows Live Mesh) that synced my data to the cloud so whenever I switched OS, it would download the files onto my system I was currently on.

    However, this is the best solution for me because I also have a desktop that I use which the files sync to also. It may not be the thing that you're looking for.
     
  4. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #4
    Yeah that's kind of what I was getting at by asking if the OP had any other devices...

    FWIW I am equally not a fan of FAT32 or any of the third party read/write drivers like MacDrive, MacFUSE, NTFS-3G, Paragon, ... too much risk of data corruption all around.

    If you use Windows Live (or something similar like Dropbox) for iTunes you still have the iTunes library problem that each time you switch OSes it has to rebuild the library. If you have a large library like me that makes it useless, which is why I abstract it on my NAS.

    B
     
  5. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a

    Grannyville7989

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    #5
    As for me, regarding iTunes, I keep all of my media on my Windows desktop to which I sync my phone to. I only really use my MacBook Pro for when I'm in lectures at university and I have all of my lecture notes synced to the desktop because I prefer working on that than my laptop.
     
  6. vistadude macrumors 65816

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    #6
    I'd give about 100 GB to the mac partition and 100 GB to the windows partition, and the rest as a large FAT32 partition.

    You can follow these procedures for the 3rd partition.

    http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/246/114
     
  7. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #7
    Just remember that this breaks Boot Camp Assistant, and I was just reading that this also (potentially) breaks the ability to boot your Boot Camp partition in VMWare Fusion.

    I also think FAT32 is an abomination of a file system with its lack of permissions, susceptibility to fragmentation and file size limits and would hate to have all my data on only that. It's fine for a flash drive, but beyond that...

    So, even though I'm personally not a huge fan, third party drivers to enable read/write NTFS for OS X (e.g. MacFUSE) and HFS+ for Windows (e.g. MacDrive) might be preferable if you want to maintain the ability to boot your Boot Camp partition any way you like it and keep BCA functional.

    B
     
  8. vistadude macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Well, boot camp assistant is only used once initially to make the windows partition. It's not needed after that.

    It doesn't break VMWare Fusion, I had it running at one point, but uninstalled it because i didn't like fusion at the time... maybe now it's better.

    FAT32 works fine. Both vista and windows 7 don't really get fragmented like the old windows 95 days, and both have auto defrag scheduled weekly. The file size limits aren't really a problem except for huge outlook inboxes and disc image files (both of which could be saved on the windows ntfs partition or big files on the mac partition). I've read that MacFuse, MacDrive, and similar programs have a tendency to corrupts drives and files - correct me if I'm wrong about this. I like FAT32 for it's speed and ease of read/write access.

     
  9. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #9
    BCA is never needed, everything it does can be done in Disk Utility and manually, but it is also the preferred/easiest method for removing the windows partition which it will not do if you have a third partition.

    I said potentially. The VMWare docs say explicitly: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/mi...nguage=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1014618

    Since your Windows partition is still created by BCA as per the guide you linked to it may still be OK...

    Yes, I mentioned that myself above. I am not a fan of the third party utilities myself for that reason. You obviously don't work with video, which is prone to files > the FAT32 limit. And your FAT32 experience is an anecdote not data. There is a reason that Microsoft (artificially) limits Vista/7 from using FAT32 on partition > 32GB. It is a weak filesystem itself prone to corruption and data loss.

    B
     
  10. sng08 thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    Many thanks for the quick replies so far. They are very informative although slightly mind boggling and I am still unsure which way to handle this.

    I thought FAT32 is limited to 'X' amount of GB before it becomes NTFS? (EDIT: Didn't realise B had made a post before me whilst typing this) I am assuming its not possible to create a NTFS partition which can be read by both operating systems, hence the need for third party software. Can anyone elaborate on the corruption issues using this sort of software?

    Would using an external HD, constantly hooked up to the iMac (even though i'm trying to avoid this), work instead of creating a third partition internally or is this still a problem as it depends on the format of the Hard Drive (I.e FAT32/NTFS)?

    It seems as if a Mac Pro would be a good idea instead of the iMac for using multiple hard drives without partitioning!! Just a shame about the price difference.
     
  11. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #11
    Here's Wiki on FAT32. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table#FAT32

    Correct. Apple's NTFS driver for OS X and HFS+ driver for Windows are both read only. However, there are many satisfied users of the third party drivers who have not experienced any data corruption. That doesn't mean I want to trust my data to it.

    Personally, I am fine just with the ability to read from the other partition. For media that is enough, and if I have to edit a file I can copy it, edit it and replace it once I get back to the other OS. If I have a file that I am actively working on it is easy enough to put it on an SD card or throw it on the NAS.

    The external HDD approach suffers from the same problem. It needs to be FAT32 to be read/write from both OSes.

    You still didn't answer the question I posed above. Is the iMac your only computing device?

    B
     
  12. sng08 thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    Sorry, the iMac will become my main device when purchased. Currently, I use a VAIO Laptop with Windows XP (roughly 5 years old.) Whilst I'm at home, I use a desktop PC also with Windows XP. As I am moving out soon I will only have my Laptop as a backup and the iMac.

    It does seem like I'm going to have to transfer files manually from each operating system?
     
  13. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #13
    It certainly doesn't have to be entirely manual. It should be easy enough to use a folder synchronizer to keep two folders synced, but it does mean some overhead in storage, unless you find a way to get one to use aliases/links and don't mind that the underlying file is read only.

    Another option is to set up Smart Folders on Mc OS and Libraries in Windows 7 can make the files on other volume look as i they are all in the "right" places.

    What's your plan for backup? Are you already planning to use an external HDD for backups? IIRC Time Machine only wants to write to HFS+ and Windows 7 Backup only writes to NTFS. So you probably want an external that is at least as large as your internal partitioned between the two formats.

    B
     
  14. sng08 thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    I currently use a Lacie 1TB USB HDD (Neil Poulton version). The only thing is, I believe that's also NTFS! I wish I had waited a bit longer to buy the other version of the Hard Drive which features eSata/Firewire/USB connections which makes it a lot more versatile and the firewire would be great with the Mac.

    I would use my Laptop as a backup computer if anything failed (which i hope it shouldn't) or if I need to take my computer into University.

    Going slightly off topic, If I were to get the 1TB HDD + 256GB SSD option on the iMac would Mac OSX be installed on the SSD? and could I then partition the SSD to feature Windows XP via Boot Camp? Or does Apple automatically install the operating system onto the HDD and then I could just install XP on the SSD?

    Also, If Mac & Windows were both on the SSD, and I used the 1TB for data files, would I still be in the same situation (FAT32/NTFS problem?) Or should everything be on the SSD?

    I feel like i'm digging a deeper hole! eek!
    Thanks for you help so far! Much appreciated!
     
  15. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #15
    I really don't know how the HDD+SSD models are factory configured. I do remember a couple of threads about them here.

    This configuration sounds like a better idea to me than a single 2 TB drive though with this and your LaCie, you still have the issue that you would like some NTFS and some HFS+ space on your internal and external drives...

    NOTE: With 2 TB of internal storage you will have a hard time backing that up to a 1 TB external drive... This is my big fear of huge drives. You need RAID or good backup practices when you've got that much data around.

    B
     
  16. vistadude macrumors 65816

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    #16
    The apple store website says that if you get a SSD and a 1 TB hard drive, Mac OS and all the apps will be installed to the SSD. The 1 TB drive would still have the issue of readability.

    I forgot to ask, are you doing any high performance computing on your iMac, such as video editing with final cut, or gaming on windows? These sort of things should be done on NTFS or HFS. Everything else won't take much of a performance hit on FAT 32. I've been using FAT32 on windows xp and windows 7 without any problems or slowdowns, so I can recommend it except for things like calculations, cluster work, or video editing.
     
  17. sng08 thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
    I will be using windows for pretty much most applications, IE. 2D/3D CAD (AutoCAD/Microstation) and 3D rendering (Maxwell Render). I will also be using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign CS4, although I may switch to Mac OSX whilst using Adobe applications (not sure yet.)

    I have come across "NTFS for Mac 8.0" which is a driver that allows Mac to read/write on NTFS. I believe this not a piece of software but a driver, so would I be right in saying corruption issues are less? Has anybody had any experience in this via bootcamp?

    Thanks
     
  18. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #18
    For your uses it would definitely seem like you would want more NTFS space and get Mac OS to write to that. It does however raise the question: Why a Mac?

    All NTFS read or read/write implementations are drivers of one sort or another. None of them are written my Microsoft, and Microsoft does not document NTFS, so all of them are reverse engineered without a spec.

    Here are the options as I know them to gain write suporrt.

    Paragon http://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/
    MacFUSE/NTFS-3G http://code.google.com/p/macfuse/
    Hack the Apple driver http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20090913140023382

    B
     
  19. sng08 thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    Good question. For the last month or so I have been looking for a new computer for the final year of my Masters and something which will last me for some time after I graduate. I was initially looking at a customisible Dell which had very similar specs to the iMac (i7).

    Whilst recently on a holiday, I noticed the hotel was staying at were using several Apple Macs, including a couple of iMacs 27" and I just fell in love with the design. Its a bit crazy I know but it made me reconsider my PC option. I started to read into this further and realised Macs could dual boot and run Windows + Mac OS. This made me think I would effectively be buying one computer for the price of two.

    Due to program compatibility, I intend to use windows on the iMac quite intensively for the next year, however, after that I will be making the switch back to the Mac OS, using the mac side of things much more. I will then consider using something like Parallels at that point in time to occasionally switch between windows. But before I was going to make my purchase I wanted to be sure of the best way possible to set up the iMac and know the ins & outs, hence a lot of questions!
     
  20. vistadude macrumors 65816

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    #20
    Based on those applications and uses, I would make a fairly large windows partition, say 100 - 200 GB using NTFS, and also either have an external hard drive or 3rd partition with FAT32 to transfer files between the OS's, and to keep things like music, photos, and data.
     
  21. sng08 thread starter macrumors member

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    #21
    That sounds quite reasonable.

    Just to clarify my setup would be:

    1 x 256GB SSD (partitioned to hold Applications & OS) = Mac OS X 128GB HFS+ / Windows XP 128GB NTFS

    +

    1 x 1TB HDD (partitioned to hold Data files) = 500GB Mac / 500GB Windows

    And then an external Hard Drive as backup/transfer. I will probably venture down the path of using NTFS for Mac 8.0 to read/write on the HDD.

    Does that make sense and work? I'm assuming the 128GB would suffice for windows. Many thanks!
     
  22. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #22
    That sounds perfect for your stated applications.

    One thing to consider is maybe keep two externals on hand. Your current LaCie for Windows (since it is already formatted NTFS, and with Paragon would be read/write) and just get another 1TB drive to format HFS+ for the Mac side of life.

    Side Note: I'm still not a fan of large FAT32 partitions. Many modern apps actually make use of the advanced features of the file systems to work. For example, iPhoto and Time Machine require HFS+ partitions to do their thing.

    B
     
  23. sng08 thread starter macrumors member

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    #23
    Sorry to be a pain the ass but how would this setup work? (You must be sick of reading this by now!)

    256GB SSD - [Partitioned] - 128GB Mac OS X / 128GB Windows XP
    1TB HDD - [Not Partitioned] - 1TB for Data Files (both Mac + XP)

    Then use Paragon NTFS for Mac OS 8.0 PLUS Paragon HFS for Windows drivers to read and write between the OS files. Therefore eliminating the need to partition the hard drive for two operating systems, creating a central store, where both OS's can be read and write using the above drivers?
     
  24. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #24
    The challenge with this is that your 1TB would then have to be either NTFS or HFS+ since it can't be both, and as I mentioned above some things won't work without their native file system (iPhoto being one of them, and I know I've run into some Windows apps that are the same). Vistadude would probably just say make it all one big FAT32 partition.

    I'd still say keep the 50-50 split until you've used it for a while, and even keep the Paragon drivers out of the mix until you really feel you need them.

    B
     
  25. sng08 thread starter macrumors member

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    #25
    Ahh... ok, yes it is probably sensible just to make it 50/50 and use Paragon NTFS for Mac 8.0 at a later date when I start to use the mac side of things more. I think thats the easiest way of doing things I guess.

    I assume most people get around this issue by using VM software, although this compromises your machines performance.

    Many thanks for your advice, help and assistance. Its now time to hit that order button on the Apple Store!
     

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