What format can a Mac write/read and a PC read?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by LSUtigers03, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. LSUtigers03 macrumors 68020


    Apr 9, 2008
    I'm buying an external hard drive to use as a backup for my MacBook but also as a network drive that all the computers connected to my router (Airport Extreme) can use. There are two MacBooks and two PCs that connect to the network. I only need my MacBook to be able to write to the hard drive but I need the two PCs to be able to access and use the files on the hard drive. I was going to get a 1TB external and give it two partitions. The first partition is going to be the Time Machine backup for my MacBook and the other will be accessed by all computers on the network. What format will the second partition need to be so that both MacBooks and both PCs can view and use the files? Also what external hard drive would you recommend?
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    Out of the box, FAT32. 3rd party tools allow you to write NTFS from the Mac side and HFS+ from the PC.
  3. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    MacFUSE gives free read/write support for NTFS and many other file systems.

    EDIT: After reading your post more closely, I realized that you wanted to share your files with PCs. The underlying file system DOES NOT MATTER when sharing files. Just make sure you set up sharing correctly to share with Windows machines.
  4. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    if it's connected to an airport extreme, it can be either formatted as Mac OS Extended (HFS-plus), FAT16, or FAT32.

    Doesn't really matter which you choose, the airport will read the format, and then share it via samba (windows sharing) or bonjour/afp (mac sharing). you won't have to install special software on either type of computer (unless you plug the drive directly into the computer).

    i would go with the mac os extended, because it doesn't have the 4GB size limit on a single file.

    check out this article from the apple knowledge base.
  5. LSUtigers03 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 9, 2008

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