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transfer data from PC to iMac

George45 asked
I recently bought an iMac leopard. I bought a LaCie external Hard drive to run "Time Machine". I was told to hook the LaCie to my PC and down load whole files into the LaCie. The LaCie is formated to iMac from the factory. The directions say to use the LaCie with "Windows" it must be formatted to NTFS. I did this. Transfering the files was very easy. I just selected a file and selected "send to" and typed in the Lacie port. I then conected the Lacie to my iMac and a window appeared called "new volume" All of my transfered files are in this widow but can't be read by my iMac. It states "this file is in an unrecognizable format".
Do I change the LaCie back to the iMac format? Do I erase the files on the LaCie , reformat the Lacie back to imac and try to transfer the files to the LaCie in the iMac format.
Please help. I'm afaraid to go further without instructions in fear that I may cause a bigger problem.
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Unless you have files that are greater that 4 Gigs, I suggest you format the LaCie as FAT32. This will be recognized by both Windows and the Mac. Connect the LaCie to your Mac and open Disk Utility which is found in Applications/Utilities.  Select the LaCie in the left hand window and click on Erase in the right hand window. The for formatting, select FAT32.
Eoin OSullivanConsultant

OK .. I see you are a bit confused about Formatting Hard Disks for Macs or PCs.

There are 3 ways to format the LaCie ..
1. To use it EXCLUSIVELY on Windows you can format NTFS .. (Macs cannot write NTFS formatted drives by default)
2. To use it EXCLUSIVELY on OSX you can format HFS+ .. (Windows cannot read or write HFS+)
3. To share the drive between Windows and OSX you MUST format it FAT32 *

The LaCie drive often comes with backup software and utilities .. (largely designed for WINDOWS users). If you are using the LaCie for TimeMachine then you do not need any of these .. so I recommend the following.

On your iMac with OSX open a program called Disk Utility.
Plug in your USB Drive and it will appear in the left menu.
Highlight it and pick ERASE .. select  Mac OS Extended (Journaled)  .. this is the HFS+ format
It will reformat the drive to HFS+
The icon will appear on the desktop and you can now turn on Time Machine in the System Preferences and select this drive.

* The FAT32 format can also be used as a TimeMachine backup however there are a few issues with FAT32 worth noting.
You have to format large drives using OSX as Windows stops you formatting drive partitions larger than 30Gb as FAT32 .. the reason is that FAT32 is an old formatting standard .. designed when drives were MUCH smaller.  FAT32 also does not allow any single file to be large than 4Gb which may be an issue if you have large video or other movie files on your Mac.

To transfer the files between the PC and the Mac, you might find it easier to transfer them over a network. Either share the PC hard disk and then connect to it from the mac, or enable windows sharing on the Mac and connect to it from the PC. You can then mount the remote disk and drag and drop the files to copy them across.

Alternatively, as a one off, format the LaCie as FAT32 (as detailed above), copy the files on to the LaCie from the PC, copy them over to the Mac, and then reformat it as HFS+ to use for TimeMachine. The 4Gb FAT32 file limit is likely to be a problem if you use Parallels or VMWare Fusion, as these disk images can easily grow above this size. Similarly, if you use Time Machine to backup additional macs over a network, the disk images for these additional machines will grow to much larger than 4Gb.



Alternatively, there are third party add-ons for the Mac which may allow it to read and write to NTFS volumes. See this discussion:


By the way, the Mac should have been able to READ the NTFS volume on the LaCie, just not write to it. Exactly what caused the error message that the file was unreadable? Did you try dragging and dropping it from the LaCie into a folder your hard drive, or were you trying to open the file by double clicking? If the latter, the problem has nothing to do with the formatting of the LaCie but is a either a file association problem or is caused by your Mac not having an application capable of reading that sort of file.

Can you be a bit more specific about what kind of files were are talking about (i.e. what PC application created them), what corresponding software you have on the Mac and what you were doing when you got the error message.


I had my LaCie attached to my PC. I clicked on Quickens, went to file and clicked "send to" Lacia was in my G port, so I sent it there. I repeated this with all of the files I wanted to keep. I disconected the LaCie and pluged it into the iMac.All of the filesl showed up on the the iMac under a grouping called  "New Volume". Each file in new volume gives me the message "this file is in an unregognizable format" My e-mail is the only thing that comes up and is usable. I tried Internet, documents, Kodak pictures and several others.
George ...

The files on the PC .. where did they come from?  Are they from another Mac? Are you trying to move from Windows to OSX?

If all the files are still on the Windows PC then you might want to start again .. I suggest you re-format the LaCie using the FAT32 file format using the Disk Utility program on OSX.  Then go and plug the LaCie back into the Windows PC and copy the files/folders back onto the external drive.

When you bring the LaCie back to the Mac .. you should copy the files from the LaCie onto the Mac Hard Drive.

Remember that some windows files may have issues on OSX .. photos (jpg), music (mp3) and other standard files will be fine .. however other files like wmv, avi and others may need special applications to open/use them.
Here is information on how to move Quicken PC files to a Mac:


However, this presupposes that you have purchased the Quicken for Mac application and have it installed on your Mac.

Do you have the Mac version of Quicken installed on the Mac? You would be able to open Quicken files on your Mac unless you have Quicken installed on it.


Thanks strung
I will try your suggestions. I do not have macs Quicken but will get it immediately

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