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Backing up data from a Mac and reading the same data into a windows

Posted on 2016-08-10
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Hello I need to backup some data ( pic documents music Videos) form a mac to an external hard drive. And I know how to do that.
then i want to use that data on a windows Pc how can i do that. If i plug the same drive on a windows will it work ? Will I be able to read that data ? I know that hard drive for mac has to be formatted as Journal and they don't work on WIndows. Do i need to convert the data before being able to read it in a windows environment ?

Thank you
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Question by:Italiabella
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rindi earned 300 total points
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First it depends on the file-system used on the external disk. If it uses exFat or FAT32 it is no problem (but with FAT32 your file-sizes will be limited to a max of 4GB). If it uses NTFS you will first have to setup the MAC so that it can write to the Volume, but once that is done it should also work without issues on Windows.

The 2nd part depends on the programs you used to create your documents in the first place, and in what format you saved them. If you used a commonly used format, you should also be able to read the files on the PC using commonly used programs. But if you saved them in a MAC legacy format you will also need something compatible on the PC that can read them.
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by:Eoin OSullivan
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You're incorrect - only the INTERNAL Hard Drive for OSX has to be formatted using the Apple HFS fomat.  External drives can be formatted in several ways
Your options are as follows
1. Format the external Hard Drive on OSX or Windows using the FAT32 or EXFAT32 format as OSX and Windows can both read & write to this type of drive.
2. Format the drive on Windows as NTFS (which is the default on Windows now) but you'll either need to install a program like Paragon NTFS or modify the OSX settings to allow writing to NTFS formatted drives .. see my comments on a related article recently
https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28960819/Mac-Permissions-USB-drive.html
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by:strung
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Just a slight addition to Eoin's comments -- ExFat will work only with Win7 or newer.
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by:serialband
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Just a suggestion:
5+ years ago, I would have gone with unplugging and replugging the disk to copy files.  These days, networking and wifi is fast enough that I would just permanently plug the disk into one of the systems and share the files.  It's less tedious that way.

You won't experience too much of a speed boost in connecting your external disk directly to a Mac, unless you have a RAID unit or one of the newer SSDs.  A single spinning disk will never fill up the network.  SSDs are faster, but only the newer ones with USB3 will benefit from something faster than 802.11n.

If the external hard drive is NTFS, it's simpler to connect it to the Windows system and share the disk.  If it's HFS+, I would plug it into the Mac and share it.  You can mount the share and copy it normally.  I usually use rsync or robocopy over the network to make that copy, so I only copy the changes and that's sufficiently fast enough.  With a share you don't have to worry about installing extra software and making sure they work.  If you don't need a secure air-gapped network, its less tedious to use a network share.  You'd also be without access to the file during the copy process, while the permanently attached share is available to use by both systems during a copy.  It depends on your workflow.
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by:Italiabella
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Some many new info everyone and thank you all. I need to make a quick decision because tomorrow afternoon I will doing this job and I need to be prepared :). The external hard drive that I have its formatted already for Mac computers so I am sure that I can simply lug it in the Mac and copy out the dataZ then I will copy the data to the Windows computer. At that point I will is install the paragon software to read those files.

Did I say it right? Are these the proper steps to take ?

Thank you everyone.
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by:rindi
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In my point of view, no.

Reformat the disk to ExFat. Then copy the files from the MAC to the external disk. After that plug the disk into your PC and you will be able to access the files on the disk without any additional software.

Or as has been mentioned above, just connect the PC and the MAC to the same LAN, then just enable file sharing on one of them and you should be able to copy the file to the PC without even needing an external disk.

But again as I mentioned earlier, you will only be able to open those files on your PC if they were saved by your application in such a way that the programs on your PC are compatible with the format.
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by:Eoin OSullivan
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italiabella - you appear to have misunderstood the suggestions.

If the external HD is already formatted and there is data on it and you cannot reformat it as FAT32 or ExFAT then you cannot use Paragon NTFS.

Instead you copy all the files onto the HFS formatted drive and then on the WINDOWS PC  you install the following program .. HFS Explorer - http://www.catacombae.org/hfsexplorer/
This will allow you to copy the data off the external HD and onto Windows.

As we explained earlier however if possible you should reformat the driver to a format which both OSX and Windows can read/write without 3rd party tools.

I assume the Mac and Windows PC are not on the same network and located in such a way that you cannot use WiFi or a network for file transfer.
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by:Italiabella
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Yes, your extremely amazing information blown out my brain :)..I am sorry.
So I pick the easiest option. The one that Eoinosulliavan said:

 "Reformat the disk to ExFat. Then copy the files from the MAC to the external disk. After that plug the disk into your PC and you will be able to access the files on the disk without any additional software"

The External USB drive is a new drive. How do I reformat it to ExFat? Please ? Baby step I am getting there :)
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by:Italiabella
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Ok the new 2TB drive is formatter as NTFS. How do i reformat this drive to ExFat?

So ExFat can read both format from Mac and from Windows correct ?
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by:serialband
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If it's formatted to NTFS, then just install Paragon.
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by:Eoin OSullivan
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On OSX or Windows you can reformat the HD.

On OSX just do the following
Plug in the external HD
Open Disk Utility application
Select the External HD in the side menu
Select the “Erase” in Disk Utility.
Select MS-DOS (FAT) from the drop down box.
Click Erase and follow the prompts.
Let it finish, and you're done.

OSX only offers FAT32 formatting which works fine on OSX and Windows ..

If you format as FAT on a Windows 8 or 10 you will be using ExFAT which again both OSX and Windows can read.  The main difference between FAT and ExFAT is that the ExFAT supports very large files > 4Gb which FAT does not,  If you've no individual files like this to copy then FAT32 will be fine for now.
If you do, then plug the external HD into the Windows PC and choose Format and select ExtendedFAT (ExFAT) as the format.

Personally I always recommend also having Paragon NTFS installed on your Mac anyway so you can deal with writing to other NTFS formatted drives in the future as Windows uses NTFS by default and you'll come across USB devices and memory sticks in future you might want to write data to and it will be useful to have.
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by:rindi
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You don't need any 3rd party tool on your MAC to be able to write to NTFS, at least not if it is a current OSX version. You can make it writable by following the instructions below:

First with finder check what label your disk has within "Volumes". Then open the terminal and then enter the following command:

diskutil info /Volumes/DRIVENAME | grep UUID

(replace "Drivename" with the label you found above).

Then you can add write support for that device in the fstab file using the following command:

sudo echo "UUID=ENTER_UUID_HERE none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse" >> /etc/fstab

(replace "ENTER_UUID_HERE" with the UUID you got with your previous command).

After that remount the external disk and you should be able to write to it.
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by:Italiabella
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Ok I am gojng to format the drive as Exfat. Just in case anyone can provide a good/secure link where I can download paragon without the risk to download spyware or other kind of junk please?

Thank you so much,
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by:rindi
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You don't need anything from paragon.
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by:Italiabella
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Rindi I thought parago ni is a software that needs to be installed to view some kind of files ?
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by:rindi
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No. If you use a filesystem like ExFat or Fat32 on the external disk you can view the files on both systems without any additional software. Even with NTFS you can view the files on both systems without additional software.

Paragon offers a driver for OSX so that you can additionally write ot an NTFS file-system, not just read the files, but you don't need that either as you can use my earlier comment to make NTFS writable on OSX.

Paragon also offers a driver so you can access an HFS file-system on a Windows PC, but again you don't need that as the external disk has been formatted with a file-system that is common to both OS's.
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by:Italiabella
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Ok my drive if fornstter with ntfs how can I format it with Exfat ?
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by:rindi
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You already said you formatted it to ExFat. It has also been explained further up. But here it is again. Connect the external disk to a PC running Windows. Right Click on the "This PC" (if you are running Windows 10), or "My Computer" (If it is Windows 7) icon on your desktop and select "Manage". Then under "Storage" select "Disk Management". Now select the disk in the graphical list and right click it. Now select "Format". After that you can select the format you want, ExFat or NTFS. enable "Quick format" as that will take only very little time.

Done.
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by:Italiabella
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No I said that its formatted to ntfs and I need to learn how to format it to Exfat
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by:Italiabella
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Sorry for the confusion
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by:Italiabella
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Ok got it now and thank you for your patience
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by:Italiabella
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Ok, thank you to your patient and meticulous instruction even the dimmest me was able to pull out this project. You were able to prepare me very well. I formatted my drive as Exfat and I was able to read and copy the data from both mac and Windows. A piece of cake. I learned something new and very important to me. Thank you all for watching my back.
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