converting drives to exfat

Hi,
I am getting my first mac tomorrow, I have several external hdds with all sorts of stuff on, some files (a few) are larger than 4GB. I think I'd like to convert them all to exfat in order to use them on my mac as well as on my windows pc.
I've looked and I can't seem to find anything on converting drives TO exfat without having to format.
Ultimately I don't mind loosing some of the data if the process doesn't work, but I can't afford to reformat all of them and loose everything.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Kind Regards
Steven
StevenHookAsked:
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Eoin OSullivanConnect With a Mentor ConsultantCommented:
StevenHook - How are the external drives formatted at present??

It may not be necessary to reformat them as exFAT.

OSX can read all the data on an NTFS formatted drive without issue but cannot write data to NTFS by default but there is a solution.

If they are formatted NTFS then it may be much simpler to add a driver to OSX which adds the ability to write NTFS - there are a few options

1. Commercial
Paragon NTFS - http://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/ $20
Tuxera NTFS - http://www.tuxera.com/products/tuxera-ntfs-for-mac/ $26

2. Shareware - Open Source
OSX Fuse with NTFS 3G
http://osxfuse.github.io/ and https://github.com/osxfuse/osxfuse/wiki/NTFS-3G

3. Finally OSX does include the code to enable writing of NTFS drives but it is disabled by default as it is not 100% reliable/stable and Apple are reluctant to promote it.  Many users have no problems other report it is unstable on certain drives/devices.
There are a couple of simple terminal commands that you run to switch on the WRITE feature on mounted drives as explained here on CNET
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-57588773-263/how-to-manually-enable-ntfs-read-and-write-in-os-x/
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Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
If your data is important to you, then surely you have backups !!

Just make a copy of the directory of your disk;  then reformat it to exFAT; and then copy the data back to it.

If for some reason you don't have backups (data not really important);  then just do the following ...

=>  Copy all of the data from ONE of your external drives to a backup drive.

=>  Now reformat that 1st drive to exFAT;  then copy all the data from one of the other external drives to it.     Now reformat that 2nd external drive in exFAT, and copy all the data from the 3rd external drive to it.    .... Repeat until all the drives are in exFAT -- and then copy the data you saved initially to the last drive.

Clearly you need at least ONE backup drive to do that -- but realistically you should have backups of ALL of the data that you "... don't want to lose."
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StevenHookAuthor Commented:
:)
It's not stuff I mind loosing. It's too big to practically have 2 copies of each. It's movies and series and music and stuff, so I can always download it again if I need to (itunes, amazon, ivave, gomusicnow, but I don't really want to. I guess buying 1 extra drive is a small price to pay for getting them all converted. the extra one will obviously have to be the same capacity as the largest one to ensure the stuff can all fit on it.
I was hoping someone would know of a way to kind of "Convert H: /FS:exfat" or maybe some new application that would just convert the file system in-place.
Thanks
Steven
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Yes, you can do this with just a single extra drive, if you don't think you need to back your stuff up.   [I have ~ 40TB of data -- ALL backed up :-) ]
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StevenHookAuthor Commented:
I can't afford that much storage space :s
I only back up stuff that I can't afford to loose, documents, photos .etc, to the cloud - using Mozy.
I don't back up stuff that I've downloaded, If a drive breaks or is stolen, I will have to download again. Drives are pretty expensive here. Or maybe my salary is just small :)
Tx
Steve
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
The cost of drives is all relative.   The first hard drive I bought (~ 1980) was a 26MB Seagate (yes, that's MB).    I got a 10% discount ... so it was only $4500 !!    That's a rate of $173,077 per GB !!

So at today's prices of about $0.04/GB  (based on $40/TB)  ==> it's more than four million times cheaper !!    [ 1/(4,326,925) th  to be precise]

I accumulate data at perhaps 250GB/month ... so I need about 3TB/year of backup space.    That used to mean more drives, but at today's densities it's less than one drive/year to keep everything backed up.    I consider it worth that to not have to go through the trouble of re-acquiring all of the data !!
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StevenHookAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the advice and the links!
I'll try figure out which is going to work best for me.
Thanks
Steve
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