PC/MAC external hard drive

now2010
now2010 used Ask the Experts™
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I have a client that purchased an external hard drive that works on both pc and mac is what they told her at the store.  I don't want to use the software that comes with the external hard drive.  What do I format the hard drive to? How do I do that with windows 7 thanks.

I have a bunch of files froom their old pc that they want to later import into their mac?

What do you suggest?

Thanks.
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Author

Commented:
Please note... I need to do all the file transfer to the external hard drive on windows 7 pc.
Brian PiercePhotographer
Awarded 2007
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
Format in FAT - both PC and MAC can read/write FAT disks

If you format in NTFS then OS X can read NTFS - but won't write to it.
Top Expert 2012

Commented:
In your shoes, I would within WIndows 7 Computer Management to see what format the drive already has.  As KCTS stated, FAT32 format would work gracefully on both operating systems and the drive may already be in that format.  If not, the drive is probably big enough that you would need a third-party tool to format it as FAT32.

Last but not least, remember that FAT32 format can't host files larger than 4 GB in size.  If you need to host/transfer files larger than that, you will need to use NTFS format.
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Plug in the External Hard Drive to your PC.
Open "My Computer" or "Computer" - depending on your OS version.
Right-click on your External Hard Drive (i.e. D: drive or E: drive or F: drive) and choose "Format..."
I would format it in FAT32, Mac's and Linux PC's can read that, plus it supports larger storage sizes.
Brian PiercePhotographer
Awarded 2007
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
... just one thing you need to be aware of - the max size of a single file with FAT32 is around 4Gb - so long as no files are bigger than this it won't be an issue.
Sumit GuptaSystem and Virtualization Engineer

Commented:
Use your drive as NTFS so that you can keep larger files.

Install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X on MAC and it will allow you to read/write on NTFS format too.

Good Luck!

-Sumit-
Format your drive as exFAT - both Mac and Windows can read/write to it and it does not have the limitations of FAT32.

Author

Commented:
if I format the drive exFAT then will I be able to put files on it that was originally created by Windows Vista and Windows XP operating systems?

Author

Commented:
And also will the mac have no problem reading writing to exFAT?

Author

Commented:
Also, once the files are transferred to the mac will it matter that the portable hard drive they came from is exFAT?
Top Expert 2012
Commented:
Yes, you will be able to copy files onto an exFAT-formatted drive from Vista or WinXP, and an OS X machine will read them without any problem.  And no, it won't matter to the Mac that the files originated from an exFAT drive.
THe max file size of FAT16 is also either 2 or 4 GB depending on the block/cluster size.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_systems
Kash2nd Line Engineer

Commented:
FAT or NTFS formatted will work

http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/shareextdrive105.html

Author

Commented:
thank you
I like @sumitgupta85 answer, yes esFAT or FAT32 work, but it is possible to use NTFS

Users running Mac OS X with Bootcamp Windows may struggle to modify or update your documents and files in the Windows partition – usually it is in NTFS File System format which you can read the drive natively in Mac OS X but not write onto it.
Amit Singh, a Google employee, released a implementation called MacFUSE which makes it possible to use any FUSE (File-system in USErspace) file systems in Mac. And the most useful FUSE is the NTFS-3G Read/Write Driver, which ables system to load NTFS with read and write capability.

If you need to support DOS or Win95/98, go FAT32, but you'll notice many external HDs in stores now are by default NTFS, some are extended-FAT and older were FAT32 for maximum compatibility.

So in NTFS format any Mac OSX can read ok, but what if you need write?

Have both the MacFUSE and NTFS-3G drivers on the drive so you can optionally install (with permission of course) on Mac that hasn't write capability and voila it will have NTFS write capability.  Cool eh.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/how-to-read-and-write-ntfs-windows-partition-on-mac-os-x.html

Author

Commented:
thanks ocanada, much appreciated.

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