External Hard Drive for Mac and PC

Jaime Lewis
Jaime Lewis used Ask the Experts™
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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?
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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:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28870759/How-to-get-free-NTFS-write-support-in-MAC.html
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 Manager

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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 Manager

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Commented:
Thank you for that additional link, very helpful.

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