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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

eMac - Using ext. HD with both PC and Mac???


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This forum is great. Post a question and in no time at all get an answer. So, here is my latest newbie post. I have an ext. harddrive for my PC which I was able to use on my PC right out of the box. The box says it can be used with PC or Mac. It is USB. So here comes the question: in order to back up files from my eMac to this drive, do I have to partition and then format this partition or can I drop files onto it using my USBs? I don't want to use back-up software which came with the drive. I copied an entire HD onto it but then could not restore it and lost about 30 gigabytes of data. It's still on the HD but cannot copy it back. This may be a silly question but I cannot get it straight in my head. Hope I can count on your help again.

Another quick one: Is it possible to copy data from Quicken 2007 (PC) to Quicken 2005 (Mac)? I have big enough flash drive or my ext. HD to transfer it with. (As you can see I'm trying to change over to Mac alltogether, hence all these questions.)

Thanks as usual.
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What format is your external hard drive in? It has to be FAT32 for both Mac and Windows to read and write to it. Many external USB hard drives are pre-formatted to FAT32. I know mine was.


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There are other options as well. The first is free, while the last two will cost a little money, but they are all better than FAT32.

First Option: you can format your drive for ext2/3, the mature well established workhorse of the unix/Linux world. There are ext2/3 drivers for both Mac and Windows. For the Mac, you can get ext2fsx. For the PC, you can get ext2-ifs for PC. ext2/3 is an extremely mature, fast and very well regarded file system. It supports pretty much the same full file permissions model that HFS+ does (both, after all, are *nix based file systems), making it a recommended solution. Both the Mac and PC drivers are free, so that is attractive too.

Second Option: you can format your drive for Mac native HFS+. Then go out and buy MacDrive for your PC. MacDrive is an HFS+ driver for Windows. With MacDrive in place, your Windows box will be able to read and write the HFS+ drive equally as well as the Mac.

Third Option: you can format your drive for Windows XP native NTFS. In that case, you need an NTFS driver for your Mac. Go out and buy Paragon NTFS for Mac OS X to do this job. It was beta'd by a lot of folks right here on Mac Forums and got positive reviews.

All of these options are better than using FAT32 - it is a dreadful file system with no security, no journaling and a file size limit (maximum size of any one file) of 4 GB.

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