Win formated NTFS external hard drives

DrFinkle

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 28, 2006
21
0
Hello folks...

I am planning to cross over from a dedicated Windows user to Apple and get a Mac Book Pro in about 4 weeks. I am concerned about accessing my music and files which are all on NTFS formatted external hard drives. My questions: Will I be able to access these files on my network? Will I be able to write to these drives? If I decided to reformat them to be Mac-compatible should I use FAT (not even sure if this will work) or is there a Mac format that is necessary in order to write to them? If I format them in a Mac format will I be able to read/write to them from a Windows machine?

Thanks for your help.

DrFinkle:confused:
 

almightyshoe

macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2006
118
0
B-Town, India
I ran into this same problem. NTFS is Windows proprietary, so Mac can read but not write. I solved this by borrowing my roommate's external drive formatted in FAT32, copying from the NTFS drive to the FAT32, then formatting the NTFS to a Mac friendly format.

Summary:

NTFS: Mac: Read, no write Windows: Read/Write

FAT32: Both OS: Read/write
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,638
61
Harrogate
If the drives are shared over the network via SMB (Windows File Sharing) or NFS you will be able to write to them without issue from a Mac. This is because the computer sharing them out knows how to write to NTFS.
 

DrFinkle

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 28, 2006
21
0
Limits of FAT32

I am planning on 'phasing out' my WinXP machine so I would like to optimize things for Mac. If I reformat my hard drive to FAT32 then I am limited to 4G files - I assume this is regardless of Mac or Win usage? Does the Mac system utilize a format that allows files to exceed this size? Thanks.

DrFinkle
 

gothicx00

macrumors member
Aug 7, 2006
53
0
Another solution, that I use for one of my external drives, is to format it in OS X native HFS+ format, and get mediafour's MacDrive. It costs $50, but if your are a resourceful internet user ;) you can get it for far less ;) ;) (if you know what i mean)

Then your windows box will recognize the HFS+ formatted drive. Also i do believe there is something in MacDrive's EULA that allows you to install it on any computer you want to access your drive as long as you uninstall it when you are done. A sort of temporary utility installation if you will. Then what you could do is format your external drive with two partitions. One thats about 10mb formated in FAT or whatever and put the MacDrive install files there. Then format the rest in HFS+. That way when you take that drive to somebody else's computer, you plug it up, it will see that small 10mb partition. You install MacDrive, reboot and it will see the rest of the drive.

Genius huh?
 

Temujin

macrumors 6502a
Oct 1, 2005
905
2
Copenhagen
DrFinkle said:
I am planning on 'phasing out' my WinXP machine so I would like to optimize things for Mac. If I reformat my hard drive to FAT32 then I am limited to 4G files - I assume this is regardless of Mac or Win usage? Does the Mac system utilize a format that allows files to exceed this size? Thanks.

DrFinkle
Nope, still 4GB. Have a look at this http://www.mediafour.com/products/macdrive6/ if you guys want to use a mac formatted drive on a windows machine. I use it and it works great.
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,638
61
Harrogate
DrFinkle said:
I am planning on 'phasing out' my WinXP machine so I would like to optimize things for Mac. If I reformat my hard drive to FAT32 then I am limited to 4G files - I assume this is regardless of Mac or Win usage? Does the Mac system utilize a format that allows files to exceed this size? Thanks.

DrFinkle
Macs use HFS+. Files can be up to 16 Exibytes in size ( 1EiB=2^60 bytes).