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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

How does a Mac connect to a PC when they use two different file systems?


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michelle_taylor

 
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OSX is formatted using OSX extended (HFS) file system and PC is normally formatted using NTFS. How is it possible that they can read and write between each other when they are connected together in a network?
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michelle_taylor

 
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Thank you for a reply. I am wondering then how come Windows won't recognize a HFS formatted external hard drive? I know there is a program called MacDrive which allows Windows to recognize Apple formatted hard drives. I wonder if MacDrive works similar to Samba?
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Windows will recognize the drive if it is share from the Mac via Samba. It's in System Preferences > Sharing > Advanced. Also, under Network > Advanced: make sure you have the Mac set to the same workgroup.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michelle_taylor View Post
OSX is formatted using OSX extended (HFS) file system and PC is normally formatted using NTFS. How is it possible that they can read and write between each other when they are connected together in a network?
This is because the hard drive is not part of the equation. The data is spooled off the drive and encapsulated into a network packet, which goes over the network. The receiving end doesn't know or care that the remote system has a particular filesystem; it only sees the incoming network packets and turns them back into the relevant data. This is how two operating systems with very different filesystems can share resources on a network.

Your external hard drive is not a network resource. When you plug it in to your Windows PC, the OS tries to read it as a hard drive, which makes the filesystem relevant.
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