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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

New PC to Mac Guy with Partition/Hard Drive/Backup Questions


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decrink

 
Member Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posts: 15
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Major PC user who is new to the Mac world. I work at a college in creative division and its nice to be both/and where I can still use Sony Vegas on the PC side and Mac for compatibility with video/graphics and music departments. Anyway...

1. Want to have hard drives that can access both/and
2. Tried plugging in MyBook 1tb and Mac wants to set it up as Time Machine (reformat)
3. Went ahead and set up Time Machine but can't access the drive with XP for regular backup/storage.
4. Couldn't reformat back to Windows because Time Machine had set up its own protected partition.
5. Reformatted on Mac.
6. Reformatted on Windows to NTFS which seems to be preferred
7. Mac can't read

What I want:
1. Time Machine partition
2. Some partition that I can plug in (or access by wireless) and be able to access files either by Windows or Mac and move and easy plug and play

That's it. Can't seem to find a way to have Time Machine and flexible partition on same HD. Step by step would be nice.

P.S. I'm crazy for the OSX system. Already starting to wish I'd switched years ago. I've got the "Missing Manual" and am learning all the nooks and crannies
Thanks.
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mrplow

 
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Member Since: Oct 01, 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 6,699
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decrink View Post
Major PC user who is new to the Mac world. I work at a college in creative division and its nice to be both/and where I can still use Sony Vegas on the PC side and Mac for compatibility with video/graphics and music departments. Anyway...

1. Want to have hard drives that can access both/and
2. Tried plugging in MyBook 1tb and Mac wants to set it up as Time Machine (reformat)
3. Went ahead and set up Time Machine but can't access the drive with XP for regular backup/storage.
4. Couldn't reformat back to Windows because Time Machine had set up its own protected partition.
5. Reformatted on Mac.
6. Reformatted on Windows to NTFS which seems to be preferred
7. Mac can't read

What I want:
1. Time Machine partition
2. Some partition that I can plug in (or access by wireless) and be able to access files either by Windows or Mac and move and easy plug and play

That's it. Can't seem to find a way to have Time Machine and flexible partition on same HD. Step by step would be nice.

P.S. I'm crazy for the OSX system. Already starting to wish I'd switched years ago. I've got the "Missing Manual" and am learning all the nooks and crannies
Thanks.
You need to partition the drive into 2. How you split it is up to you...i.e. how much space you need for storage.
I'd go for a 700gb/300gb.

Format the 700gb storage partition using FAT32 (NTFS can be read by os x but not written to)
Then let the Time Machine utility format the 300gb partition for it's sole use.

That should sort things out.

mrplow

External hard disk acquisition addict - but admitting the problem is the first step to a robust backup

Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - top right of this post
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Lifeisabeach

 
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Member Since: Sep 30, 2007
Location: Wilmington, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decrink View Post
<snip>
What I want:
1. Time Machine partition
2. Some partition that I can plug in (or access by wireless) and be able to access files either by Windows or Mac and move and easy plug and play
Ok... first things first. Out of the box, OS X can read NTFS volumes, but it cannot write to them (thus, it cannot format a drive using NTFS). OS X can read and write to FAT32 volumes, but I strongly recommend against using FAT32 due to its limitations, some of which are quite severe. FAT32 partitions get increasingly slower and inefficient with drive sizes larger than 32Gb for starters. It doesn't have some security features that NTFS offers. And it's far more susceptible to file corruptions, especially if you don't "eject" a FAT32 volume properly. I've experienced it myself, as did this guy. Check out this article that goes into great detail the differences between FAT32 and NTFS. Particularly interesting is how NTFS is actually more compatible with the way OS X writes data than FAT32 is.

Ok, so that all said, what to do? I would use Windows' partitioning utility to split the external drive into two partitions: one for use with Time Machine, the other for sharing files between OS X and Windows. Format both in NTFS (yes... both).

Once that's done, use OS X's Disk Utility to reformat the Time Machine partition in HFS+. As for the shared partition, you'll need to get some 3rd party software to enable OS X to write to NTFS partitions.

There are two solutions I know of to get OS X to write to NTFS partitions. Firstly there's Paragon NTFS. It's not free, but it has been around for some time and is probably the fastest and most reliable solution. The other solution is free but requires installing two packages: MacFUSE and NTFS-3G. I use the freebie solution myself and have no complaints, but I don't use it heavily, and I've read that it writing to NTFS is slower than under Paragon's solution.

It is also possible to install software in Windows to enable it to have read/write access to HFS+ volumes. Under no circumstances would I do that... you would be leaving OS X vulnerable to Windows and all the malware it may bring.
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mrplow

 
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Well it looks like a toss of the coin then...... lifeisabeach raises some good points about FAT32 issues as far as physical integrity is concerned. NTFS is far more robust. You do need to be mindful about ejecting the drive correctly with FAT32 disks etc. But I'd say that's something you should do with any re-writable storage medium regardless of file system. FAT32 also can't store files >4gb.

However, having fallen victim to Paragon NTFS corrupting countless files I wouldn't endorse that myself. Others seem to swear by it but it was unreliable for me. Haven't tried the freebie solution.

I use a 500gb disk for the same purpose as you - half FAT32 for storage, half for Time Machine. Not had a single problem for the past 6 months and counting. Hence my original post

But..... If you're after the benefits that NTFS offers and are happy install and trust 3rd party drivers in OS X then that's the way to go as lifeisabeach suggests.

I would offer that you don't need to sit around waiting for your time machine partition to be formatted with NTFS just to format it again with HFS+ though. Just create 2 partitions and format the one you want to use for storage as NTFS and then plug into the mac and have time machine prepare the second partition.

mrplow

External hard disk acquisition addict - but admitting the problem is the first step to a robust backup

Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - top right of this post
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Lifeisabeach

 
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Member Since: Sep 30, 2007
Location: Wilmington, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrplow View Post
However, having fallen victim to Paragon NTFS corrupting countless files I wouldn't endorse that myself. Others seem to swear by it but it was unreliable for me. Haven't tried the freebie solution.
Ouchie... well given your experience with Paragon's solution, I'd be inclined to suggest the OP stick with the NTFS-3G solution. Actually... better yet... since this drive is supposed to be shared between two separate computers, why not just leave it attached to the Mac, leave both partitions formatted in HFS+, and enable a file sharing option to network the computers together? That will eliminate any problem with one OS or the other working with a file system that is not native to itself.

Quote:
I would offer that you don't need to sit around waiting for your time machine partition to be formatted with NTFS just to format it again with HFS+ though. Just create 2 partitions and format the one you want to use for storage as NTFS and then plug into the mac and have time machine prepare the second partition.
I had some odd reason for suggesting it the way I did... durned if I can recall why now. *shrug* Chalk it all up to lack of sleep.
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jah

 
Member Since: Jun 15, 2007
Posts: 342
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i have a macbook-pro w/ 10.5.2 and i can read/write into my ntfs home file server.

i just got TimeMachine working on the above network over a wifi link.
-the initial build took about 12hrs but the updates take very little time.
-10.5.2 TimeMachine has a bug in it for ntfs network usage. it is unable to setup a new image on a ntfs server but once this is done manually it is just fine with it and can backup just fine w/o error. so the initial setup is manual. there is a text string you will need type in the terminal window once. the name of the backup file is critical so know your computer hostname and its wifi mac address. use the mac disk utility to create any small sparsebundle file on your local hd the sparsebundle has no partitions or encryption, mac extended journled type. copy it to your network, rename it as hostname><mac adr>.sparsebundle and re point TimeMachine from your local drive to the network. TimeMachine will resize the sparsebundle file as needed. Typical max size may be 2x your mac hardrive.
i covered the method in a forum s2ki.com the commuter section and bits and peaces can be found here too

-i initially looked at iTunes and it seemed to throw chunks at my ntfs home network, if you know a fix pm me

-10.5.3 will be out in May? and could include fixes for these bugs, introduce new bugs too
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