Formatting a Portable Hard Drive for OSX and Windows

GriMReapeRAK

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 24, 2009
Messages
306
My sister is using a Macbook Pro and needs a portable hard drive to carry data for her internship. The hard drive she has been looking at is formatted in NTFS, and from what I've read Mac OS X can only read from it and not write. To be able to read/write she'll have to format it to Mac OS Extended. My main concern is if she does format it to Mac OS Extended, will she be able to read/write from a Windows machine also?

Sorry if this seems like a stupid question, but my experience with Macs is minimal. Thanks in advance for any help.
 

Red Falcon

[H]F Junkie
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
11,569
As far as I'm aware, the only fully compatible format between all OSes is FAT/FAT32.

As long as she isn't using or copying any files larger than 4GB in size, she should be ok.

Just format the drive as MS-DOS (FAT) under OS X or FAT32 under Windows/Linux.

Performance-wise you won't see any difference between the two formats with an external drive.
 

GriMReapeRAK

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 24, 2009
Messages
306
Thanks. I was just reading about the FAT filesize limit, but my sister usually deals with video files which can be large. I've found tools, either on the Mac side or Windows side, that will allow each system to read NTFS or Mac OS Extended respectively, but she needs it to be where she can just plug-in and use. She told me she'd need it by some time this weekend, so I'm trying to find a quick solution for now. I'll ask her again how large her files are and go from there. The FAT/FAT32 format seems like the only solution, but if anyone has another I'd appreciate it.
 

GriMReapeRAK

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 24, 2009
Messages
306
Hmmm. Yeah I saw ntfs-3g also when I was doing some reading and was going to ask about that. I'm not sure if my sister's Mac is the only one that is going to be used. If it is, that would be great, but I'm thinking that she may be using other Macs as well.
 

Red Falcon

[H]F Junkie
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
11,569
I would try ntfs-3g which should let the macintosh read and write ntfs.

http://macntfs-3g.blogspot.com/

This driver works well under linux but I have not tested it in a mac.

I've never heard of this before, thanks for posting it.

But it will need to be installed on all systems to work though, unfortunately, and I'm not sure if your sister will have admin privileges to do so.

I'll keep looking. ;)
 

Morpheus256

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
2,774
If she's using snow leopard osx 10.6, format it as exFAT.

windows xp, vista and 7 all can support exFAT, (xp and vista require a patch)

large file sizes are supported without issue.
 
Top