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  1. #1

    Mesalline's Avatar
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    Western Digital 500GB portable hard drive questions
    Hi, merry christmas and happy new year to all!
    I have a Western Digital 500GB external Hard drive to use and is compatible with both my mac and PC, however it says when I plug it into my Mac that I need to reformat the volume, and then it says it will erase all the data and cannot be undone. I have no data on it, but I'm wondering whether it will ruin it if I do this. Also, can I use the same external hard drive for both my Mac and PC? I have windows 7 on my mac and need it to transfer files. However I'm worried that If I reformat it I won't be able to plug it into my windows side and copy the files. Also, I don't want it to back up every single file on my computer. I want it to back up my music and my uni work, but I don't really want all my system files etc on this, I'll get another one in a few years for that.
    I was also wondering whether 500GB would be enough space. I'm doing a computer animation course, and I did buy a 1TB one but it was a desktop one, and not very portable, so I swapped it for this portable one. I hope it'll be enough space.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    MYmacROX's Avatar
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    You have some options, depending on exactly how you plan to store/access your files.

    1) You can partition (separate) the external drive in two. One part for Windows stuff, one part for Mac stuff. To do this, plug in the drive, go to Disk Utility(applications>Utilities>Disk Utility), partition the drive and format the Mac side to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). I believe the remainder of your external is already formatted for Windows (NTFS: Primarily Windows, Macs can read from it but cannot write to it)

    2) You can reformat the entire drive to Fat32. Both Windows and Mac can read and write to this formatting. However, there is a file size limit of 4gb. Meaning you cannot save any files to the external larger than 4gb.

    I cannot tell you if 500gb will be enough space. Only you will know that, based on how many files you backup and the size of them.
    Also, using Time Machine (included with your Mac) you can choose what folders/files to backup. I don't think Time Machine works with the Windows side of your HDD. WD usually provides a Windows-compatible software that allows you to back up your windows stuff. I have it installed on my Dell Desktop and I used option 1) for my needs... btw. Using that software, you'll also be able to select which folders/files you want to back up. Convenient.

    Don't be afraid to Google for suggestions and tutorials on how to do this stuff. Can be very handy to see someone actually performing the actions you need to perform. (youtube)

  3. #3

    Mesalline's Avatar
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    Thanks. Just been trying to do it, but i'm not sure if I partition it twice or once. Also, I wanted to ask, is there anyway of undoing this if need be? I'm planning on giving each part 250gb of space for windows/mac. Oh, before I forget (sorry!) if I do partition it twice, what to I name it as? Free Space or Mac OS Extended (Journaled)?
    Thanks!

  4. #4

    MYmacROX's Avatar
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    Well, you want two separate partitions. Which means you only have to partition it once. When you partition your HD in Disk Utility, you are separating it into two "partitions". One for Mac, one for Windows. blah blah blah (there's a neat little picture on the left of two "blocks" that will change side as you slide the bar between them up and down. Quite fool-proof.

    Name it anything you want. Just so you can tell which is Mac and which is for Windows.

  5. #5

    Mesalline's Avatar
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    Just looked up a tutorial on youtube. Its for a 1TB, but I'm guessing the same applies to all. Apparently I need to completely erase the harddrive first, then verify it and partition it. So I only need *one* partition, and I move the line up/down to designate the amount of space? Once I've done that the rest of the space will be for windows automatically?
    Sorry, just double checking I've got it completely right before I do anything with it. I have a long back history of destroying technology the moment I'm given it xD

  6. #6

    MYmacROX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mesalline View Post
    Just looked up a tutorial on youtube. Its for a 1TB, but I'm guessing the same applies to all. Apparently I need to completely erase the harddrive first, then verify it and partition it. So I only need *one* partition, and I move the line up/down to designate the amount of space?
    Yup.

    Once I've done that the rest of the space will be for windows automatically?
    Yup. Pretty much. Just pay close attention to the 2 designated partitions and what they are formatted as in Disk Utility. For your windows partition, you want NTFS.

  7. #7

    MYmacROX's Avatar
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    P.S. Might help if you see an example. Here's what I have for mine (3 partitions) The Dell WIN XP is NTFS.


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