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External Hard Drive, format for mac AND PC?


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#1
Hollz

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I recently picked up a Seagate Free Agent Go 250GB external hard drive and was told I would be able to format it for both Mac and PC. I found out that because it is NTFS, it opens as Read-Only on the Mac.

My problem is that I'm going to be working equally on Mac AND PC, and I wanted to know what the best thing to do would be. I didn't want to mess around with the Format option since I don't know what I'm doing, and looking in other places it seemed it would format the WHOLE external hard drive, but again I need to work with BOTH systems. I also wasn't sure if the FAT format would be best because I'm going to be working with video files too, and those can take up a lot of space o.O (although I think I wouldn't mind having a bit of FAT formats too for certain things, if that's possible too)

Please help! And thanks in advance!!
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#2
Neil Jones

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You would need to format it FAT32, which is a horrible file system for a drive of that size because there's an obscene amount of wasted space - saving a file that takes up just one byte will be seen to take 32kb of space. Therefore 1024 1 byte files, for example, will be seen to take up 32Mb of space. Under NTFS this would only be seen to take up 4Mb.
MACs cannot write to NTFS. HFS (the "standard" format for a MAC) is not readable at all under Windows.

The other issue you have, is Windows will not format a drive to FAT32 if its bigger than 32Gb in size. It will insist on formatting it NTFS.
Video files is the third issue. The maximum size of any file under FAT32 is 4Gb. For standard AVI video at 720x576, 4Gb will only give you about 7 minutes of video.

Edited by Neil Jones, 27 January 2009 - 05:38 PM.

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#3
Hollz

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Thank you for responding.

Unfortunately I'm going to need more than 7 min of space, I'm a Visual Effects major and will be working on animations and movies.

I also don't have any idea of how to format it, or allocate different amounts of space for different formats (which I heard could be done?)
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#4
Neil Jones

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You can split the drive however you like, but the only way you'll get the two systems to talk to each other is FAT32, for reasons already discussed.

There are several differences in the way Macs and PCs deal with files. On a PC, a file appears as a single sequence of bytes which can store any type of information. On a Mac there can be two separate parts to a file called forks that are linked to one name. The data fork is the equivalent of a file on the PC. It can contain any type of data which may be used by an application. The resource fork contains Mac specific resources (menus, fonts, etc.). It is generally of no use on a PC. When files are copied from a Mac to a PC the resource fork is usually discarded.

This might be of interest to you:
http://knowledgebase...g.de/257_1.html

MacDrive might also be of intersest, but it's not free:
http://www.macdrive.com/
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#5
CJNoon

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so how's about having a liaison hard drive that has FAT32? you can use that one to transfer files from Mac to PC hard drives. would that be more efficient?

Also, could you do this in a Mac pro?
1st hard drive - HFS [MAC]
2nd hard drive - FAT32 [MAC/PC]
3rd hard drive - NTFS [PC]
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#6
lolineedhelp

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i have a ? if i take my 32 gig flash drive put windows on it can i run it on my computer by passing the other hard drive like idk how to say it like if a PC has a hard drive already but i don't want to use it how do i use this fat flash drive ????? :confused:
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#7
TillyTheDreamer

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I wasn't able to view my Seagate External Hard Drive on my MacBook Pro running OSX or my Mac Mini running OSX. I downloaded the NTFS from Seagate's website and it immediately fixed my problem upon install for both computers. I didn't have to format anything or delete anything, it immediately worked.

It also fixed the problem I had with the hard drive not showing up on my computer. I hope this helps someone. :)

http://www.seagate.c...r_Mac9.5.5a.dmg
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