Thurderbolt to USB

I have an end user
Just purchased a new apple with USB3 and Thunderbolt connections
Also purchased an external 4TB drive with Thunderbolt connection only
He wants to move his data off his PC which only has USB2

What options does he have to move data over?

Also the 4TB drive format, what are his options ? it will stay on the Apple machine after moving the data
jsarinanaI.T. ManagerAsked:
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Bodhi NadlerLead Mac DaddyCommented:
You can actually use a USB3 cable with a USB2 connection.  It will just be limited to USB2 speeds.  When you connect the drive to the PC, you will need to have it partitioned with an MBR front end and a FAT32 formatted volume.  Once the data have been moved to the Mac, you should reformat the drive with a GUID partition and HFS+J format for the volume.  I can put some screenshots together for the Mac side if you need them, but you can do it all in Disk Utility.  FAT32 isn't really designed for large volumes, and Mac can read and write to FAT32, but not NTFS by default.  There are some newer versions of the Mac OS which can, but you didn't say what he has on the new machine.
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Ah, good eye Bodhi.  I missed that part.

You are 100% correct.
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Why don't you just use a LAN connection to move the data?
The easiest solution might be to take the drive out of the PC and put it into an external USB3 case. Then connect the PC's drive to the Mac by USB and connect the 4TB external to the Mac by Thunderbolt.

If the new 4TB external is to be used only by the Mac, it should be formatted using Disk Utility on the Mac as "Apple Extended Format (Journalled).

Another alternative would be to connect the Mac and PC via ethernet and set up file sharing, although that would be slower.
jsarinanaI.T. ManagerAuthor Commented:
1. So use the thunderbolt external drive and connect it to the PC using this adaptor 

2. format the external drive as FAT32 because the MAC may not read the drive if I use NTFS format

3. Since the MAC will read the FAT32 external drive I complete the data transfer

4. After the data transfer is done since the thunderbolt external drive is only going to be used on the MAC I can go ahead and reformat it using Disk Utility to Apple Extended format Journalled to utilize the 4TB

Did I miss anything?
The problem with fat32 is that it's limit it limits your file size to 4GB. Any file that is larger you can't copy to it. since this is only used for transferring files you should in my opinion just use the LAN as there you don't have to worry about what filesystem a disk uses.
You don't need to format the external drive as FAT32. Macs can READ NTFS, they just can't write to NTFS. So you can write to the NTFS drive from the PC and read the NTFS drive from the Mac.

Then after all is done, reformat as Apple Extended Format (Journalled).
However, as Rindi says, instead of copying twice it is probably faster to just connect the two computers by ethernet, either directly or over a LAN and copy that way. But use ethernet. Wifi will be too slow.

The Mac will have gigabit ethernet. If the PC has gigabit ethernet too, it will be faster to just connect the two computers directly making sure your ethernet cable is CAT5e or CAT6 (not CAT5).

If your LAN has a Gigabit switch and all CAT5e or CAT6 Cables, it would be as fast to do it over than LAN, but in my experience, most home LANS do not have up to date cabling like that.

In either case, that would save you the time and expense of buying a thunderbolt to USB connector.
The fastest way of all would be to buy the Thunderbolt to USB connector and use it to connect the PC and the Mac directly.

Then start the Mac while holding down the Command-T key combination. This will start the Mac in Target Disk Mode which will make it appear as an external drive to the PC.

However, the PC will not recognize the Mac file system. For that you need third party software installed on the PC called MacDrive. You can download a free 5 day trial here:

Once you have installed MacDrive, restarted the PC, connected the PC to the Mac and started the Mac using Target Disk Mode, the Mac drive should appear as an external drive on the PC and you can copy files directly to it.

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