WD External Hard Drive not working?

The Abracadaver

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 12, 2010
4
0
Indiana
My MacBook Pro is fairly new, but I have a 500g Western Digital external hard drive that was originally hooked up to my previous computer, a PC. When I plugged in my external, I was able to move files from it to my Mac. However, I was unable to delete files off of the external while it was plugged into my Mac and I could not add files, either. When I booted up my old PC and plugged the external into it, it worked fine. So I can only assume that since I first used it on my PC, I'm having trouble using it on my Mac. A friend of mine told me something about how I'd have to reformat my computer and start over. PLEASE tell me this is not the case. Does anybody know a way to fix this that lets me keep my Mac as is and not have to delete anything? Help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

chrisvee

macrumors regular
Jul 2, 2010
209
0
Winnipeg, Canada
What was the drive formatted as? NTFS? FAT?

I believe for it to be utilized on both your PC and Mac, it has to be formatted to FAT32. NTFS or any specific windows formats won't work.
 
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Argon21

macrumors member
Jun 25, 2010
94
0
Алейск, RUSSIA
Don't listen to your ignorant friend.

This drive is formatted as NTFS. A Mac can read NTFS, but cannot write to it. Deleting a file or adding new files is considered "writing". NTFS is a closed proprietary file system that only works on Windows peecee's.

FAT32 and NTFS are two different drive formats that Windows uses. You will have to reformat this drive using your Mac. Reformatting is destructive and will destroy all the data on this external drive, so copy everything off of it first!!

Mac Disk Utility can format this drive as either HFS+ which is Mac only, and is preferred if you're only going to use this drive on a Mac. It can also format it as FAT32 which will work on both Mac and Windows.
 
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BigBeast

macrumors 6502a
Mar 6, 2009
643
41
It's Ok

This is going to sound lame, but I don't know what NTFS or FAT are...
It's ok. Not everyone is computer literate, but a quick google search would tell you. Get used to googling things. ;)

NTFS and FAT are hard drive formats. Mac uses "Mac OS extended" as their format and usually it's "journaled."
 
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The Abracadaver

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 12, 2010
4
0
Indiana
Awesome, thank you very much for the help you guys! I managed to reformat it as FAT so I can share with my friends and my family's desktop as well (both PCs). Anyways, I sincerely appreciate the help. I'm still getting used to the Mac OS, since the switch from PC is a surprisingly big change.

Also, would it be okay for me to ask a different but somewhat minor question in this thread? I also play a lot of Team Fortress 2, and for some reason I have been unable to get my mic to work in-game and even when I test the mic in the game's settings. I'm really not sure what's happened since I haven't changed anything and my mic worked not too long ago. Sorry for an off-topic question, but I figured it was a quick one. How can I fix this?
 
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
767
A Mac can read NTFS, but cannot write to it.
Yes, it can, if NTFS is enabled.
NTFS is a closed proprietary file system that only works on Windows peecee's.
Not true at all. Macs can read and write to NTFS.
You will have to reformat this drive using your Mac.
Reformatting is not the only resolution. Macs can read/write NTFS if enabled via the methods described below.
Mac Disk Utility can format this drive as either HFS+ which is Mac only, and is preferred if you're only going to use this drive on a Mac. It can also format it as FAT32 which will work on both Mac and Windows.
And it can also format as NTFS, as already mentioned.
Don't listen to your ignorant friend.
There are others that the OP shouldn't listen to! :rolleyes:

Now for facts, rather than uninformed opinions:

FAT32
  • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
  • No individual file larger than 4GB.
NTFS
HFS
  • Read/Write HFS from native Mac OS X
  • To Read/Write HFS from Windows, Install MacDrive
  • To Read HFS (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
 
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Argon21

macrumors member
Jun 25, 2010
94
0
Алейск, RUSSIA
Wrong GJ, please keep your opinions to yourself. Expecting a newbie to enable experimental and potentially dangerous OS options is foolish.

NTFS is closed source proprietary format. Fact.
 
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
767
Expecting a newbie to enable experimental and potentially dangerous OS options is foolish.
NTFS on Mac OS X is not experimental or dangerous. Even a "newbie" can simply install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X and it works fine.
 
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ryannazaretian

macrumors 6502a
Sep 21, 2008
649
4
Mississippi
NTFS on Mac OS X is not experimental or dangerous. Even a "newbie" can simply install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X and it works fine.
NTFS-3G has caused me problems, and I cannot recommend it. I've always had an issue of the processing using 200% of my CPU time (both cores 100% utilized.) I've done reinstallations, etc... nothing fixes it. It's more of a headache than a convenience in my opinion. If the OP has 10.5 Leopard, then by all means, use it. It seems to only occur with Snow Leopard.



Also, as for the built in Apple NTFS support.

It has the potential to cause kernel panics because it's not fully developed and supported by Apple.

Do a Google search on "ntfs write snow leopard kernel panic."

I have had kernel panics from it, and I have not used it since.



The OP should stick with FAT. It can be natively read and written by all common operating systems.

OP, the only limitation of FAT is that file sizes must be kept below 4GB. Any larger, and FAT won't take it. Just something to keep in mind when moving archives and videos.



Another idea is to look into EXT2 or EXT3.

EXT2 is better supported, but dangerous (especially for a portable drive) to use because of the lack of journalling.
EXT3 is less supported, but safe to use on a portable device.

What journalling does is keep your file system in shape, even if it is disconnected in the middle of a process. If you disconnect an EXT2 drive in the middle of a read/write, you must scan and repair the entire file system. This takes a lot of time. If you disconnect an EXT3 drive in the middle of a read/write, it will only try to repair the section that was being read/written to.

A note with EXTx file systems though. They're native to Linux. You will have to install the appropriate drivers to use then on OSX and Windows. Benefit being that they're free to use, have no usable limitation to file size.
 
Comment

Reelknead1

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2009
296
5
There really isn't any point to enable NTFS unless he is dealing with a file that is greater then 4gb. If not fat32 will work without issue. I still don't understand why apple doesn't enable in the os though. At32 is getting pretty old.
 
Comment

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
767
NTFS-3G has caused me problems, and I cannot recommend it. I've always had an issue of the processing using 200% of my CPU time (both cores 100% utilized.)
Yours is the first complaint I've heard about that. It appears the issue isn't as widespread as the built-in NTFS method.
Also, as for the built in Apple NTFS support.
I'm aware of this, which is why I added:
(Be aware that some are of the opinion that enabling native NTFS in SL is unstable/unreliable, and favor the MacFuse/NTFS-3G method for Snow Leopard)
 
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MacModMachine

macrumors 68020
Apr 3, 2009
2,277
153
Canada
Yours is the first complaint I've heard about that. It appears the issue isn't as widespread as the built-in NTFS method.

I'm aware of this, which is why I added:
i have also used it for 2 years without issues, you get errors on drives with filesystem problems, thats normal.

people need to do some research before spouting out about how its unstable and how NTFS cannot be written on mac.
 
Comment

ryannazaretian

macrumors 6502a
Sep 21, 2008
649
4
Mississippi
Yours is the first complaint I've heard about that. It appears the issue isn't as widespread as the built-in NTFS method.

I'm aware of this, which is why I added:
Right, I haven't seen very many reports on NTFS-3G problems. Most were when Snow Leopard was just released. I can't find any recent ones. I just live with it. I have no need to write to either drive. Reading works just fine for me between Windows 7 and OSX. Sure it would be convinient in some cases, but it doesn't stop me from doing the stuff I need to do.

But why push NTFS when FAT is already supported between most operating systems?

And I did catch your warning about enabling Apple NTFS write ability on SL, just further emphasizing the point that the OP probably doesn't want to go this route if he want's to keep a Kernel Panic free system.
 
Comment

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
767
But why push NTFS when FAT is already supported between most operating systems?
I'm not pushing any particular format, which is why my first post included all 3 options. I prefer HFS myself, but for Windows compatibility NTFS works fine. The 4GB file limit on FAT32 is too restrictive for my needs, as I have a great number of 4GB+ files.
 
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