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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

Converting NTFS to FAT32 without data loss


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Bulla

 
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Hi all! New to the forum

I have a Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex external hard drive in the NTFS format with about 400Gb data on it. I want to re-format the drive to FAT32 so I can use it on my MBPwRD. I know how to re-format it by going through disc utility etc... but I'm almost positive all 400Gb will be lost with the wind if I do it. So my question is: How do I re-format the external drive without losing all my data?

Should I click and drag all the contents of my external drive onto my desktop, reformat, then click and drag it all back in?

What are the other formats used for?
- Max OS Extended (journaled)
- Max OS Extended (journaled + encrypted)
- Max OS Extended (case-sensitive + journaled)
- Max OS Extended (case-sensitive + encrypted + journaled)

On a side note, what is partitioning and do I have to do this??

Thanks a bunch!
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You can't change formats ( regardless of what they are) without losing the data on there. So first backup,the data and then format to your chosen format.

Going FAT32 means the drive will be accessible by Windows machines easily. Going to any Mac OS file system means you're restricting access to OS X unless you install special software on a Windows machine..

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Bulla

 
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Ledge! Where should I back up the 400Gb to? Just click and drag it all to the desktop?

Seems like all the Mac OS formatting options are pretty useless then if it's OS X exclusive. I often transfer data (music, movies, etc) between a windows desktop and my MBP so FAT32 would be ideal for me.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulla View Post
Ledge! Where should I back up the 400Gb to? Just click and drag it all to the desktop?

Seems like all the Mac OS formatting options are pretty useless then if it's OS X exclusive. I often transfer data (music, movies, etc) between a windows desktop and my MBP so FAT32 would be ideal for me.
You can keep that drive formatted to NTFS if you want, and for your Mac to be able to read and write to it, look at something like Download MacFUSE for Mac - FUSE-compliant file system implementation mechanism. MacUpdate.com (Free) or Paragon NTFS for Mac OS X software which will cost $19.99, but from long standing members here in the forums, they swear by it. The best out there.
If you look at re-formatting to FAT32, just remember that it has a 4GB file size limit. Meaning, if you have any files over the 4GB Limit, they wont transfer over. . . .
Something to think about.

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bobtomay

 
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Highly recommend spending the $20 for the Paragon software. Keep all of my spare drives as NTFS. You will need it if you have now or ever will have movie files stored on that external drive.

From your posts, it sounds like you're extremely concerned about losing the data you have on that external drive. Do you have the data on that drive backed up? No? Even more highly recommend another drive to back up that data.

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Lifeisabeach

 
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I'll add to the recommendations for using 3rd party software to support NTFS. Besides the file size limitations, FAT32 is just a very antiquated file system that is lacking a lot of features present in NTFS and Apple's HFS+ that help ensure data integrity. It's adequate for devices like USB thumb drives for temporarily storing files to be moved between computers, but for long-term use with anything you value, avoid FAT32 like the plague.


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Bulla

 
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Thanks for the tips! Yeah I am concerned about losing all my data. My last HP brick laptop crashed and I lost everything. Unless I spend $1000AUS to get some guy to recover it... bit steep for me.

Sounds like a 3rd party software is the way to go. I have large files on the drive, much bigger than 4Gb (HD GoPro video). I keep my large files on the external drive and import them to Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 as needed. Any noticeable difference between the $20 Paragon and the free MacUpdate?

Trying to click and drag an album by Flume across into my itunes library from the external drive also but it's not working. Some other albums on the drive have transfered across without a drama. Not sure what's going on there too?

The weird thing is it says my media is in FAT32 but my drive's in NTFS :S Trying to upload an image of this to show you guys but it wont let me attach a 377kb PNG image...
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bobtomay

 
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There are a couple of long timers here that use the free MacFuse and don't appear to have any problem with it.
But, we get posts with folks having issues with that software from just not working to worse. Just had a poster last week that couldn't get it to work - then installed Paragon and was in business.

There are quite a few of us using the Paragon software - I've been using it for 6+ years starting with 10.4 up to 10.8 - have not seen any posts with regard to any issues. I hate to say use the old axiom, but it has always "just worked" silently in the background for me.

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