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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Mar 25, 2009
    Posts
    48
    External HD Issue
    I have a 500GB external HD filled with a lot of pics, videos, files etc. that I previously have been using with my Dell laptop. I wanna back up my Mac via Time Machine but it says I have to format the drive before anything can be saved to it (obviously I don't wanna lose anything stored). Now once the HD is formatted via the Mac, can it then be used for both Mac and my Dell or just the Mac? Also, I'm not sure where to store the HD contents if I do decide to format the drive.

  2. #2


    Member Since
    Feb 03, 2008
    Location
    Surrey BC Canada
    Posts
    444
    Specs:
    Mac Mini 2.5 i5/16Gb/500Gb/Radeon 6630M-256MB
    The drive is probably formatted in NTFS, the NT File System, what Windows XP and Vista use, the Mac want's to make it it's HPFS, once that happens it will be unusable for your Dell, FAT32 is an option however on the Windows side the partition size is limited to approx 32Gb....an easier solution would be to pick up a second external drive for the Mac, they aren't that expensive now. There are NTFS drivers available for OS X but in my experience, I find them to not be the best solution.
    This is a multiplatform home !

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Mar 25, 2009
    Posts
    48
    What do you mean by:
    "FAT32 is an option however on the Windows side the partition size is limited to approx 32Gb"

  4. #4

    cwa107's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 20, 2006
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    Lake Mary, Florida
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    Specs:
    15" MBP, Core i7/2GHz, 8GB RAM, 480GB Crucial M500 SSD
    Long story made short, Time Machine should really have its own dedicated external drive, period.

    Now, if you want to use the existing external, you're going to have to do a fair bit of rejiggering to get it working. In particular, you're going to need to copy all of the data off the drive. Then, it will need to be split into two partitions, one formatted in HFS+ (The Mac filesystem) and the other in either FAT32 or NTFS (you'll need to decide what your priorities are in terms of storage accessibility, but that's a whole 'nother topic).
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  5. #5

    cwa107's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 20, 2006
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    Specs:
    15" MBP, Core i7/2GHz, 8GB RAM, 480GB Crucial M500 SSD
    Quote Originally Posted by PhillyEagles5 View Post
    What do you mean by:
    "FAT32 is an option however on the Windows side the partition size is limited to approx 32Gb"
    FAT32 is the older Windows filesystem. In an effort to force users into NTFS (the newer filesystem), Microsoft imposed an artificial 32GB to any FAT32 formatted drive.

    With that said, you can format the drive as FAT32 (which is universally compatible) on the Mac, but this won't be appropriate as a storage facility for Time Machine. Also, you'll be limited by the fact that FAT32 doesn't support single files larger than 4GB (this can be a problem if you deal with video or database files).
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  6. #6

  7. #7

    cwa107's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 20, 2006
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    Lake Mary, Florida
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    Specs:
    15" MBP, Core i7/2GHz, 8GB RAM, 480GB Crucial M500 SSD
    Quote Originally Posted by PhillyEagles5 View Post
    Sure, but it doesn't have to be specifically for Mac. Any external hard drive will do. This one happens to come pre-formatted for Mac, but formatting a drive is very simple to do.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  8. #8

    TyNix's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 10, 2009
    Location
    Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    4
    Specs:
    13'' Aluminum MacBook, 2.0 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 320 GB WD 7200 RPM
    FAT32 would be inadequate for a backup solution. However you can still use NTFS drives in OSX. You can download two files, MacFuse, and NTFS-3G. This gives the Mac the ability to read, as well as WRITE to a drive formatted for a dif platform, WinXP/Vista, etc. However, you can not to the best of my knowledge use an NTFS drive with Time Machine. I do not like Time Machine for backup up data anyways, I use Personal Backup X5. It allows for fine tuned incremental backups.

    Another draw back to a drive formatted with something other than HFS+, is that you cannot use Spotlight, and Spotlight rocks!
    13'' Aluminum MacBook, 2.0 GHz, 4 GB DD3 RAM, 320 GB WD 7200 RPM HDD, iPhone 3G 8GB 3.0 FW
    VMWare Fusion Ubuntu Linux 9.04

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Mar 25, 2009
    Posts
    48
    How's this?
    Was looking for an external hard drive and found this 1 and just wanted to see other's opinions on it - thanks.

    Western Digital - My Passport Essential 320GB External USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - Cool Silver - WDMES3200TN

  10. #10

    MBasile's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 12, 2006
    Posts
    505
    Specs:
    MacBook CoreDuo
    WD stuff is supposed to be good quality...

    What are you going to use it for? They make these new things that you just stick a bare drive into, rather than have all of the enclosure casing if you're going to have multiple drives. I was thinking of it for photography/music&videos/backup drives.

  11. #11


    Member Since
    Mar 25, 2009
    Posts
    48
    Was gonna use it to back up basically the same as you - music, photos, videos, everyday things. What is the thing you are talking about?

  12. #12

    cwa107's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 20, 2006
    Location
    Lake Mary, Florida
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    26,883
    Specs:
    15" MBP, Core i7/2GHz, 8GB RAM, 480GB Crucial M500 SSD
    Good, but you can get it a bit cheaper than that (Best Buy is usually the Worst Buy):

    Western digital my passport essential 320GB Hard Drives - PriceGrabber.com
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

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