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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Need help formatting my external hard drive


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just8food

 
Member Since: Jun 21, 2013
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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..
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chscag

 
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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.
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just8food

 
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Thanks a lot! I tried out Paragon NTFS and it works fine.
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