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Initializing FireWire HDD from Mac OS to XP

Posted on 2004-08-31
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Last Modified: 2010-08-05
Hi there.

This may be a simple question but if I get it wrong the implications are great so thought that I would check!

I have a FireWire HDD that has been used only on Mac OS9 machines. I want to mount it under Windows XP so that I can copy the data to a PC. When I plug in the drive and go to Disk Manager a wizard asks me do I want to initialize the drive. I understand that this just writes a Partition Table and Disk Signature to the disk but will it affect the existing data in any way? Also, will I be able to access the data from a Mac in the future if I do this? I really only need to access from the PC but I want to know if I can plug the drive back into the Mac and have it work again.

Looking forward to your answers.
Matt
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Question by:mellingham
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Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 11940913
Good luck. MAC and WinXP use entirely different file formats. I mean do you really expect total interloping considering that the two vendors of these OS'es are not very congenial with each other?
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 11940941
Cross-platform compatible files
http://www.imagemontage.com/Docs/DOSSuffix.html
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 11940954
CTC (change-creator-type)-V2.2 Freeware
http://www.imagemontage.com/Docs/CTC.html
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Author Comment

by:mellingham
ID: 11941424
No...I don't expect to be able to use all of the files but that is not my question. It is a hardware question about the HDD. Will initializing the drive under Windows effect the file system of the HDD causing it to be unreadable under MacOS?

I have already copied files from a Mac to a new PC file server and these files can be read by the Macs and PC's where necessary and this is what I want to do in this case...only from an external HDD.

Any past experiences welcome.

Matt
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Accepted Solution

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iGadget earned 100 total points
ID: 11942768
From your story I understand you've formatted the drive with a Mac filesystem. This filesystem is not readable on windows without additional software, some examples are mentioned above. While you could try to experminent with that, what I would do instead is this:

-backup all the files off the harddisk, so they're safe in case the next steps turn out bad ;-)
-connect the disk to the PC and let WinXP do all it's 'magic tricks'
-see if you can access the disk, and if not, let windows format the drive
-reconnect the disk to your Mac, it'll show up as a PC drive now - DO NOT let MacOS 'initialize' the disk!!
-copy your files back the disk
-reconnect it to the PC... voilà: it should be perfectly readable now.

The point is that MacOS can read/write from/to a windows filesystem, whereas windows cannot do anything with a MacOS filesystem.
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Author Comment

by:mellingham
ID: 11943243
Worked like a charm!

Hate to admit that Macs are smarter than PC's (in this instance)!

Matt
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Expert Comment

by:iGadget
ID: 11943580
Great to hear that :-)

Yes, unfortunately windows is not very social when it comes to foreign filesystems. Almost any other OS is better at that, including MacOS.

Even so, microsoft has taken some steps to improve interoperability with other OS's, although it's still optional:

http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=17300643

Ohwell, it's better than nothing ;-)
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