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How do I use a USB hard drive with Mac OS X


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#1
tomdrayson

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Hi, I am trying to use an iMac for the first time. I have lots of data on my Windows PC which I need to transfer to the iMac using a USB hard drive. When I connect my hard drive to the iMac I get the following message:
"You have inserted a disk containing no volumes that Mac OS X can read. To use the unreadable volumes, click Initialize. To continue with the disk inserted, click Continue."
If I click "Continue", nothing happens, and I can't work out how to open something like "Device Manager" to access the drive.
If I click "Initialize", I have to format the drive, which is fine - but then Windows will not recognize it, so I can't transfer any files.

I read that I should format the drive in Windows in FAT32. But there is not option for FAT32 in the format menu, only NTFS. I also read that you could use the command prompt by typing "format x: fs:fat32". This appeared to work, but when I try to access the drive in Windows it tells me it is not formatted and I need to format it first, which brings up the menu with only NTFS as an option.

I thought this data transfer would be reasonably straightforward but this has got me pretty frustrated!

Does anybody have a solution?

Many thanks

Edited by tomdrayson, 18 November 2007 - 03:30 PM.

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#2
silverbeard

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There are NTFS Drivers for Mac. There are also various partitioning tools like the ever used fdisk Though I don't know if it will work with a USB drive but Parted Magic and gParted will get the job done.
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#3
Josiah

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If you have osx tiger or lower you will lose all data on the disc before you do this or if do this in os x leopard there is an option for non destructive partitioning.

Open disk utility select your drive and format 30gb of it in fat 32 and the rest in hfs+ the hfs+ will only be readable on the mac and the 30gb of fat32 will be able to be used by the pc or mac... if you want to create a more flexable layout or do this without erasing the data you have on your drive use a boot cd of "gpared" which will also allow you to formate ntfs (which is the file formate used by windows) remember the max size of fat32 is 32gb

Another option that may work for you is network filesharing, burning dvds, or usb keys.

If you want to formate the drive in hfs+ only you can, but you must use this app to read that formate on the pc http://www.mediafour...ducts/macdrive/

Edited by Josiah, 25 November 2007 - 08:47 PM.

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#4
tomdrayson

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Thanks for your replies, but I wasn't too sure about partitioning so I just decided to use DVDRWs to transfer the data instead!
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