Using External Hard Drive as Time Machine and Storage

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by BigOrangeSU, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. BigOrangeSU macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2008
    I just purchased a 500gb External Hard Drive. I was wondering what is the best way to format and partition it so that I can use 300gb dedicated to Time Machine and then use the ~180gb for external storage. The key part of my situation is that I want to be able to access the ~180 gb from both my Mac and my windows based machines. I know I could go into disk utility and partition it, but what format should I use if I want to do both.

    The other part is the hard drive is already setup to use time machine since yesterday, however I am willing to format it completely to partition it to use on windows machines (XP and Vista.)

  2. broncopde macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2007
    Conway, AR
    Wirelessly posted (iPod touch: Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5H11 Safari/525.20)

    Format the time machine portion to HFS+ and the rest to FAT32.
  3. nope7308 macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    I disagree. With a FAT32 partition, your file size will be limited to 4GB. That is, if you want to transfer a single file that is larger than 4GB between Mac/PC, you're SOL.

    Format the Time Machine partition as HFS+, then the remaining partition as NTFS. Download NTFS 3G on your Mac (free) to gain both read/write priveledges. Voila.
  4. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    nope7308- May I suggest that you should give complete formatting instructions to the OP with advice like you offered since you cannot format as NTFS within the Mac's Disk Utility as you can with FAT32? And as a heads up, NTFS-3G by itself is worthless if you don't have MacFUSE installed as NTFS-3G is just a driver for the MacFUSE filesystem.

    To the OP- Do you think you have any individual files larger than 4Gb? Few people do except for some that are involved in huge video projects, so FAT32 is fine for the majority of people particularly because it can then be read from or written to with a Mac with no third party utility software being required. If you do have any, then formatting to NTFS is the only way around that.

    BTW- If you do choose to use NTFS on the second partition after using your PC to format the partition, you will need to download and install two free utilities (linked below) for your Mac to allow it to write to your NTFS space. It does not need any software to read from the NTFS space.

    Those two pieces are:

    MacFUSE- the filesystem
    NTFS-3G- the NTFS specific driver that works under the MacFUSE filesystem

    Be sure to install MacFUSE first, then install NTFS-3G. Restart your Mac and you will then be able to write to the NTFS volumes if necessary.
  5. BigOrangeSU thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2008
    Thanks for your help. WHich version of NTFS-3g do you recommend?

    NTFS-3G 2009.1.1 Update 1 [ublio]
    High performance build using internal caching
    NTFS-3G 2009.1.1 Update 1 [stable]
    Slower, but minimizes corruption in the event of a system crash

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