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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Feb 11, 2012
    External Hard Drive
    I have an external hard drive that I have been using on a windows laptop. This has a lot if data held on it which I have to keep.
    How do I format the drive so i can write to it from my iMac and also keep the data on the drive?

  2. #2

    McBie's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 26, 2008
    2013 MBA 13" - OS X 10.11
    Welcome to the forums.

    If you format your drive, then the data is gone.

    If the external drive is formatted as FAT32, you can read and write to it directly from your iMac, with one limitation and that is that a single file can not exceed 4 GB in size.

    Alternatively, what you can do is ..
    1) copy the data off that external drive to another drive
    2) format the external drive using the HFS+ file system
    3) copy the data back onto the newly formatted drive.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers ... McBie
    A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
    The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

  3. #3

    Spellbinder's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 10, 2012
    Highland, Indiana - U.S.A.
    Late-2013 27'' iMac, 3.4GHz Quad-Core i5, NVIDIA GTX 775M 2 GB GDDR5 Mem, 8 GB Mem, El Capitan 10.11
    Ne need to format. I have a 3 TB external and had the same question. It is formatted NTFS for Windows and I can read and write without issue.
    If you're willing to spend $20.00, your answer is here: NTFS for Mac®

    Best $20.00 I ever spent.
    “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.” - Frank Zappa

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  4. #4

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    +1 for Paragon NTFS. It just works.

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