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Old 08-29-2011, 09:06 PM   #1
Dankk
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Default Formatting a USB hard drive for both Mac and Windows?

This might be a stupid question, and hopefully it's easy to answer.

I have a little external-USB hard drive, Western Digital, 120GB. Really convenient, can plug it into any PC I want and it goes.

I'm gonna wipe it off and reformat it so I can use it for school though, and at school, we actually use Macs. So my question is: Is there a way I can format it so it works perfectly on both Mac and Windows? Nothing special here, just transferring files. If I want to plug it into my Mac at school, put my work on it, take it home and continue working on Windows, is there anything special I need to do?

I use HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool for most of my formatting needs, and it works great. Will just a simple NTFS format do? Or do I need to use a different filesystem or something?

Thanks. I'm not a Mac guy.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:12 PM   #2
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FAT32. Unfortunately you'll be limited to 4 GB files though.

Macs cannot natively write NTFS.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
FAT32. Unfortunately you'll be limited to 4 GB files though.

Macs cannot natively write NTFS.
+1, the only way to do it, just dont use it for large media files cause as mentioned 4GB is the file size limit.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:47 PM   #4
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Ok, thanks guys. I'll format it in FAT32 for now.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:27 AM   #5
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Better idea...

exFAT. Snow Leopard (10.6.6) and Lion both support it as well as Windows 7. And you can have exabyte size files. Ditch Fat32.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:32 AM   #6
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True. Note that exFAT is not supported in earlier versions of OS X. XP doesn't natively support it either but I'm told you can download a driver for it.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganachain View Post
Better idea...

exFAT. Snow Leopard (10.6.6) and Lion both support it as well as Windows 7. And you can have exabyte size files. Ditch Fat32.
Never knew about exFAT, thanks!
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:30 AM   #8
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You could also enable NTFS write on your Mac.

http://blog.nolar.info/ntfs-3g-in-ma...write-support/
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:50 PM   #9
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You could also enable NTFS write on your Mac.

http://blog.nolar.info/ntfs-3g-in-ma...write-support/
If it's anything like the NTFS-3g support on Linux, the write speeds will be abysmal. I've tried creating backup images of laptops to a USB drive that's NTFS via dd_rescue on Linux and after reformatting the drive to ext3 or XFS the write speeds went up by 10x, easily. For just saving small documents that might not be a problem, but for anything larger than that it's going to be painful.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:15 PM   #10
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You could also enable NTFS write on your Mac.

http://blog.nolar.info/ntfs-3g-in-ma...write-support/
Or HFS+ write on your Windows machine.

http://www.mediafour.com/products/macdrive

I used this in the Windows 5.0/5.1 era and it worked pretty well.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Or HFS+ write on your Windows machine.

http://www.mediafour.com/products/macdrive

I used this in the Windows 5.0/5.1 era and it worked pretty well.
$50 for something that should just work anyway?
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nothinman View Post
If it's anything like the NTFS-3g support on Linux, the write speeds will be abysmal. I've tried creating backup images of laptops to a USB drive that's NTFS via dd_rescue on Linux and after reformatting the drive to ext3 or XFS the write speeds went up by 10x, easily. For just saving small documents that might not be a problem, but for anything larger than that it's going to be painful.
There's a native driver hack that operates at full speed.
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
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There's a native driver hack that operates at full speed.
That sounds reliable...
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:08 PM   #14
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That sounds reliable...
Agreed. I love hacking things as much as the next guy, but sometimes you just need a bulletproof, professional system. I'd stick with exFAT.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:13 PM   #15
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I love hacking things as much as the next guy, but sometimes you just need a bulletproof, professional system. I'd stick with exFAT.
How is a terrible, ancient filesystem that's had larger files and filesystems duct taped on like exFAT considered "bulletproof" or "professional"?
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nothinman View Post
How is a terrible, ancient filesystem that's had larger files and filesystems duct taped on like exFAT considered "bulletproof" or "professional"?
So maybe that was an overstatement, but compared to implementing some legacy hack, I'll take my chances.
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