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formating external hard drive for use on PC and Mac

Posted on 2004-04-01
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I am a film student and have access to Lacie 160GB external firewire hard drive. Our school's computers are MAC and use Final Cut Pro 4.  I have a Dell Dimension 8300 w/ win XP and am currently using Adobe Premier Pro and will be purchasing Avid Express Pro.  My problem is when I connect the hard drive to my computer, I am prompted to format in NFTS.  The manufacturer reccommends using FAT 32 formant for use on both computers.  HOw do I change the format setting or can I have two different partitions and no interference?  Also, this is not my hard drive, it's the school's.
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Question by:mw_dm1179
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roadhog_NZ earned 50 total points
ID: 10738881
Chances are the harddrive is formatted with MACs file system, not actually sure what that is, XP wants to reformat because it cannot read it. DONT FORMAT! until you are back at school and have seen the contents, or if you are sure that nothing on the drive is important and can be lost. You would then want to format as FAT32 which can be read by both OS.

However, I think the maximum partition size for FAT32 is 32 (surprise) GB and would have to be at the start of the disk.

Someone wanna confirm this......
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by:rid
ID: 10739035
I *think* the 32 GB limit for FAT32 is/was a bug in the win XP fdisk program which didn't occur in win98 fdisk.
/RID
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by:Nilknarf
ID: 10739269
The 32 GB limit is a new xp thing. Microsoft wants everyone to use NTFS as it's more secure, fault-tollerant, handles large disks better etc..

It should be possible to format the whole disk in FAT32 with a third party utility, like symantec's gdisk, or partition magic from powerquest.

If you're sure you have nothing on there that isn't saved elsewhere you can format the disk to have two partitions by doing the following:

In XP go to start>run and type diskmgmt.msc, then press enter.

A new window will pop up showing you all the disks on your system. In the lower half of the screen right-click the usb disk and say 'delete partition'.
It will ask you to confirm this, just say yes.

It should now have a black line at the top (it's empty!). Right-click it again and say 'new partition', say 'primary partition', set the size to 32000, then when you get to the filesystem page change 'NTFS', to FAT32. Call the disk "FAT32" or whatever you want, just so you can distinguish it from other disks. Check the 'perform a quick format' option and click next.

After a fews seconds it should be done (might take longer over firewire, should still be fast though!).

Now right-click the black unformatted part of the disk and say 'new partition' again. Tell it to make an 'extended partition', leave the size at it's default value ( everything left), then click finish. The black part of the disk should now turn green.

Right click the green bit one last time and say 'new logical drive'. Just keep clicking next, call it "NTFS Drive", check 'perform a quick format' and click finish.

You should now have two drives, one NTFS and one FAT32.

The NTFS one should be usefull in windows when you're editing video, as it doesn't have the 2gb filesize limit that FAT32 has. And you should now be able to see the FAT32 partition on the MACs for copying work over.

Best of luck! :o)
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by:Callandor
ID: 10740747
Here's some more info on WinXP and the 32GB limit:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_20898883.html

FAT32 is the limiting factor.
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by:mw_dm1179
ID: 10746216
I think I accepted the wrong way.  I wanted to acknowledge two responses and don't  think I did it right.  I want thank roadhog NZ for telling me DON"T format.  I didn't and am thankful you wanted me to test on both systems before I made a change.  I thank NiKnarf for the informative and comprehensive instructions.  Both should be award!  

If anyone could assist me thru the proper etiquitte, this will not happen again.

Thank you

mw_dm1179
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by:Callandor
ID: 10746378
Post a note in Community Support with a link to this question saying what you wanted to do.
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by:Nilknarf
ID: 10747765
Don't worry about it mw_dm1179, I'm not bothered about points, just as long as I was able to help a bit! :o)
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by:roadhog_NZ
ID: 10751427
Cheers Nilk,

happy to offer your share, I learn more on here trying to help others than assitance I provide. This is like my chat room :-)

Thanks DM glad your sorted
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by:mw_dm1179
ID: 10754391
Thanks Nilknarf and roadhog NZ, would it be possible to swap email addresses, in case I need immediate assistance?  I tried to find yours, but maybe I wasn't looking in the right spot.  I'm slightly more than average in knowledge and use will soon have more introduction to programs on both PC and MAC.  

But, you know how it is, sometimes I run straight into a brick wall... :(  It wold be nicer to know I had someone out there that would be willing to assist me.  If this is not appropriate to ask, please let me know.  As I said before, I'm not exactly sure what the proper etiquitte is.  I'd hate to get into any trouble, this website is very useful.

My past computer use was limited to just surfing the net for writing papers.  Now, I'm going to be using my computer for non-linear video editing and graphics.  I'll be adding new programs and new hardware.  Which by the way, my professor said to buy an internal hard drive and then just buy a casing for it to make it external.  Any suggestions either yes or no and a recommended brand?  I was just going to buy a Lacie 250GB external, she says it's cheaper to build one.    

Thank you again for your rescue.

mw_dm1179
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by:Nilknarf
ID: 10756491
Your profesor is right about the external hard disk question (I was talking to someone about this only yesterday!). It is far cheaper to build your own, you can currently get a 200gb disk drive with 8mb of cache for under £100 including VAT, add to that the cost of an enclosure then compare it to the price of a Lacie external disk (they are nice though!).

I myself had a spare 60gb hard-disk after upgrading, so i bought an IDE to USB2 converter, put it into an old hard-drive enclosure and bingo, 60gb of hot-swappable backup space for £25!

In fact, if you just want to buy a complete external hard-disk package just don't get a Lacie, there are other models by Maxtor and Western Digital that are far more competatively priced, like these:

Western Digital:

http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?action=c2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=59554
More info about WD Drive: http://www.westerndigital.com/en/products/products.asp?DriveID=60

Maxtor:
160gb: http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?action=c2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=59544
250gb: http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?action=c2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=51925

More info about maxtor drive: http://www.maxtor.com/en/products/external/onetouch/onetouch_combo/index.htm

I'm not sure about any rules regarding email addresses, but I don't mind offering assistance outside of ExpertsExchange.
I'll post my email address a little later after I read up on it! :o)
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by:Nilknarf
ID: 10756552
Oh yes, hard-drive enclosures cost around £40, add about £10 extra if you want a firewire connection as well as USB2.
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by:Nilknarf
ID: 10756573
£32.98 for this basic USB2 one at the top of the page: http://www.allcam.biz/products/usb525.html
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by:Callandor
ID: 10756802
You can post your email address in your profile, but not in the thread itself.  EE doesn't want you to solve problems by email, because then no one else can participate and add or correct.
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by:Nilknarf
ID: 10757226
Gotcha Callandor, thanks! :o)

mw_dm1179, my email address is now in my profile if you really want it, but I would strongly suggest asking for assistance on experts-exchange, you'll always get a quick reply from someone (I'm often busy!) and then other people will be able to solve similar future problems from the help given.
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