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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Jun 21, 2013
    Question Need help formatting my external hard drive
    Alright, so I just transferred over from Windows to a Macbook Pro. I saved all my important files onto an external 500GB hard drive (Toshiba).
    Now when I was transferring files from the hardrive to the Mac, I noticed I couldn't modify files or add new folders to the hardrive itself (I could edit and use them once I moved them out though). I googled it and I found out you can't modify stuff on a hardrive if its in the NTFS format, and that its recommended to switch to a FAT32 format.

    Since my new Macbook is going to be my primary device, I want to be able to read and edit the contents of my hardrive on this device; however, I still want to at least be able to READ the contents on a Windows system.
    Now I understand that FAT32 is the best as it works on both systems, but I also read somewhere that FAT32 only allows you to copy files smaller than 2GB; I have large movie files that I want to be able to save onto the hardrive so I don't think FAT32 is an option.

    My questions are:
    -Which format allows for the external hardrive to be read and edited (write) on a Mac and at least read and copied on a Windows system?
    -Should I format the hardrive on my Mac or Windows? And how?
    -Will I lose my data on the hardrive when I format it?

    I appreciate any help and advice

    p.s I'm not sure if this thread should have gone under the software category.. but yea..

  2. #2

    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
    First, FAT-32 limits single file copy and transfer to 4 GB not 2 GB. However, it's not recommended to use FAT-32 because it's not a journaled file system. Leave the external drive formatted to NTFS and buy Paragon NTFS from Paragon Software for $19.95. That will allow you to read and write to the drive from your Mac. Here is the LINK. And yes, formatting will destroy all data.

  3. #3

    Member Since
    Jun 21, 2013
    Thanks a lot! I tried out Paragon NTFS and it works fine.

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