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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

external HD with both Mac & pc


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da f dub

 
Member Since: Oct 05, 2009
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Hey all. I have a 320gb WD passport elite hd that I have used as a backup for my wife's pc. I would now like to use it to hold my video files off of my Mac book. There is plenty of room on the elite. I do NOT want to transfer files from one computer to the other. Just use it for both separately. Can this be done or do I need a dedicated one for each computer? Thanks
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chscag

 
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It can be done, however, video files can be very large. 4 GB is the maximum file size for FAT-32, the only common file system for both the Mac and PC.

As long as your files do not exceed ~4 GB, you can use FAT-32 for the external drive. The other choice is to use either NTFS or HFS+. But you will need file system driver support (either for Windows or for OS X) for those.

Two separate drives may be a better choice depending on your situation. I currently have separate drives for backup for Snow Leopard and Windows 7. I find it easier that way. Nowadays external hard drives are inexpensive.

Regards.
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thomas998

 
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I have to disagree with the previous poster. IF you are using snow leopard on your mac you can use NTFS on the pocket hard drive and after you change some setting on the Mac it will read and write to the NTFS disk.

In the pre-snow leopard days I used third party software to do what you are talking about... with snow leopard I no longer have to use any third party software. Snow leopard has the ability to read and write the NTFS built in to it, but for some reason it is turned off by default.

But if you do turn it on everything works seamlessly... no need to use FAT32.
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da f dub

 
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Interesting & thank you. I am not running Snow leopard. I still don't understand FAT-32 & NTFS but can research it. Do you have a simple synopsis?
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HFS+, FAT 32, and NTFS are all different file systems. If your hard drive were say, a parking lot, each of these system would have different rules for organizing the parking spaces and making use of the space. That's why, generally, you can't have differing systems on the same drive. There have been other methods in the past (such as ProDos on the Apple II series) and there will be new formats in the future.

It is possible to create separate partitions on the same drive. For a brief period of time I had a drive with HFS+ and FAT 32 on the same drive. Now there seems to be a way to have all three on the same drive. Create an HFS+/NTFS/FAT32 external drive - Mac OS X Hints. I haven't tried this yet.

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thomas998

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da f dub View Post
Interesting & thank you. I am not running Snow leopard. I still don't understand FAT-32 & NTFS but can research it. Do you have a simple synopsis?
From a user standpoint the main difference between a FAT-32 and NTFS drive is the maximum size of files that either can have. A FAT-32 is limited to about 4GB size files... the NTFS can do much larger files. The size of a file is really only a factor if you are dealing with a lot of video editing work, if you are downloading digital video from your camcorder 4 GB is maybe 15 minutes of video (depends on the format, could be more or less depending)... in my case some software synths had sample databases that were too large for a FAT-32.

If you aren't doing video editing or using specialized software that requires NTFS, then from your point of view it doesn't matter which you use... taking the parking lot analogy a little further look at FAT-32 parking lots as only allowing cars.. a NTFS also allows semis to park.
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NTSF 3G google it. Lets you write to NTSF formated HDDs.

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