External Hard Drive for Mac and PC

I am looking to purchase an external hard drive to back up photos, music, and documents. I have a Mac Desktop and a PC laptop. Is there any way to format a hard drive to support the OS of both? Is there a brand out there that you would recommend?
Jaime LewisMarketing Account ManagerAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

FAT32 and ExFAT will work on both Macs and PC's running Win7 or newer. FAT32 is pretty much obsolete and has limitations on large volumes, so ExFAT is the better choice.

PC's can read from and write to NTFS volumes, but Macs by default can read from but not write to them. However, there is third party software to allow Macs to write to NTFS volumes as well as a terminal command to turn that feature on.

See this recent thread:


Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
>>  Is there any way to format a hard drive to support the OS of both?

FAT32 format.  Files can't exceed 4 Gb in size.  Do this on the Windows machine.  exFAT is also possible but not supported on older machines.  Does support files larger than 4 Gb.

As for the external hard drive probably any that supports USB2 but wait for other experts to comment.
Jaime LewisMarketing Account ManagerAuthor Commented:
If you back up files from a PC running windows, does it automatically use NTFS?
No. The format is determined by how the drive was formatted in the first place, not by the backup software.
Jaime LewisMarketing Account ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thank you for that additional link, very helpful.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Storage Hardware

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.