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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

strange problem with external hard-drive

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Member Since: Sep 17, 2012
Posts: 3
jjaina is on a distinguished road

jjaina is offline
Hello, I wrote this post for the seagate community forum, but am having technical difficulties posting it there. So I thought I would post it here instead since you guys probably know more about MAC issues:

I bought a seagate freeagent goflex external drive to back up files from my MAC, an older powerpc G4 with 10.4.11. I set it up to be mac and PC compatible. (I am not sure exactly what I did, only that I followed the directions exactly.)

At first I copied files from my brothers PC easily, but had trouble copying files off of my MAC. It said it was MAC read-only, which I've seen a lot of people have trouble with. This was frustrating, but then when I tried it with my mom's newer MAC laptop it worked to copy files, and after that I was also able to copy files from my own older laptop. I am really not sure what happened to make it start working, but it did.

Everything worked normally for a little while. Then a couple weeks ago I tried to create some new folders on the external drive to back up some photos and videos. I did this in the normal way, but clicking "untitled folder", then highlighting the folder name and typing in the name that I wanted the folder to be called. When I tried to organize my folders by putting a folder within a folder (For example, I made one folder called "2012 PHOTOS" then within "2012 PHOTOS" I tried to put the folders "1. January 2012 photos," "2. February 2012 photos," etc.) anyway, when I tried to organize my folders in this way (folders were still empty) they started all switching up their names randomly. All of a sudden a folder which I had named one thing, which was inside another folder, would appear as a folder outside of the main folder, with a name of a different folder which I had also recently named. Every time I tried to do anything, open a folder to see what was in it, or drag it into another folder, or create a new folder, the names would switch, usually the last folder I had created assuming the name of the second to last folder I had created, so that there were now two folders with the same name. I tried to simplify the process then because I thought maybe I was creating too many folders at once, so I just created one folder, didn't try to put it in any other folder, gave it a name, and then backed up a group of photos into it. But even after the photos successfully copied, when I then tried to make another folder the name would randomly switch up with the previous folder and sometimes the photos I'd copied would also disappear, or appear as empty files (disappearing when I clicked on them to try to open them.)

So.. at this point I have not been able to back up anything on my computer for a long time, and am feeling the urgent need to get everything backed up because I have an old laptop and am worried it could crash. I don't have enough money to buy another external drive, and at the time that I bought the goflex it was the only drive i could find that was MAC compatible. My computer memory is also almost full, so I really need to be able to back things up and then delete them off my computer to make more space. But I am really, really hesitant to delete anything off my computer after backing it up with this goflex drive, even when it appears to have backed up successfully. I don't feel confident that a group of photos I have copied are actually really copied on the drive, because obviously the drive is having some issues and I am afraid that when the folders switch names they are also possibly deleting data. Like what happened the time I opened up a folder whose name had recently switched and all the photos I'd recently copied appeared as empty files.

I am not great with technical computer issues and I get kind of confused trying to read MAC forums about how to solve the problem. I have done a lot of searching on the internet and have not found any other people who have posted anything similar to what I am experiencing. Am I the only person experiencing this problem?

If anyone has ANY idea at all of what is going on, or what is causing my inability to create and organize folders on my goflex drive, could you please let me know? All ideas would be greatly appreciate.
Thanks so much.
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Your post is long and complex. Let's simply things....

First, any external hard drive can be Mac compatible. Don't be fooled by "This drive is Mac compatible". Any drive can be reformatted to be Mac compatible.

However, making a drive compatible to use between a Mac and PC means it has to be formatted to FAT-32 which is a common file format between the two platforms.

As to your folder problems, it appears you have assigned some illegal folder names to the sub folders. The first folder you created "2012 Photos" is OK. The sub-folder with the number is not. It should look like: 2012 Photos/January 2012

You can't assign a folder name as "1. January 2012" as that is an illegal folder name in both Mac OS X and Windows. You need to re-do all your folders using correct names.
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Member Since: Sep 17, 2012
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Thanks so much for writing back to help me so quickly. You're right, the whole problem I was having was just because I was using illegal file names. I went onto my hard-drive and tried to switch everything that was using punctuation that could mess things up, and after that everything started working normally again. Thank you so, so much!
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