What format for 1TB ext drive?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Piplodocus, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. Piplodocus macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2008

    I've got a WD MyBook FW800/USB/eSATA 1TB drive. It was all one partition HFS+/GPT formatted.

    Since it copies fast I figured I'd like to use it with PCs too as well though, to copy stuff about faster, so thought I might format it MBR instead of GPT, with 2 partitions: a FAT32 and an HFS+ partition. If it's MBR with a large HFS+, and smaller FAT32 partition, do I lose anything by it not being GPT/GUID?

    Can I use a MBR formatted drive for Time Machine? Any other reasons GPT is preferable (except that it has a backup of the partition table at the end of the drive)? I could do with a bigger TM drive so have considered using it for this, but it seems silly to use the one with a Hi-Speed FW800 connection for that!

    If I don't use it for TM I could format it all FAT32, but what do I lose from that? It won't search fast with Spotlight then will it?
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
    • No individual file larger than 4GB.
    • 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
  3. Piplodocus thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2008
    Cheers for the quick reply.

    NTFS is out as I want to natively read it from any mac, and HFS+ is out since I definitely don't want friends to have to install drivers to copy projects on/off my HDD.

    Just want to know if it's worth having it partitioned with an HFS+ one on there too, and if MBR stops me doing anything (like using it for T.M.)
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  5. Piplodocus thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2008
    Thanks for the link. It says what I expected about TM having to be HFS, but also says "If the disk is partitioned using the Master Boot Record (MBR) partition type, some partitions may not be available for use with Time Machine. The GUID Partition Table (GPT) or Apple Partition Map (APM) partition types are recommended."

    So I guess I have to suck it and see! If the HFS on the MBR drive shows up in TM, it'll work! But it might not show up, and it's ominously not "recommended"! :eek:

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