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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?" :)

Couple of External Hardware Questions


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Peakoverload

 
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Okay, I'm a total newbie. Used PC's for more years than I care to remember and know them back to front but have never used a Mac before and have just ordered my first, a 20" Intel iMac. It hasn't even arrived yet, might be tomorrow!!!, but I have a couple of questions regarding external hardware I hope someone here can answer.

External Back up Drive.

I already have a 250GB USB 2 drive that I use as my backup drive for both my desktop PC and Laptop PC. The desktop is going in the bin but I'll still be keeping and using the PC Laptop. Primarily the backup drive will be for the iMac but as I need to also use it with the laptop how should I format this drive? If I use NTFS the iMac can't write to it, if I use FAT32 it's a little unsecure for a backup drive, if I use HFS or HFS+ the PC can't read it without 3rd party software.

So is FAT32 okay or would it be best to use HFS+ and then use something like MacDrive on my laptop?

External DVD Burner.

My laptop only has a CD burner and my old desktop used to have two DVD drives so as the iMac only has one DVD drive I'm considering buying an external (USB 2) Lightscribe DVD burner for use on both the iMac and PC laptop. Can I buy any old USB burner or does it have to be specifically for the Mac? Looking at the spec of numerous burners most dont specify any OS requirements but those that do only ever seem to mention Windows. I've already ordered Toast 8 which supports Lightscribe.
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yogi

 
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1. Fat 32 is the only format currently compatible fully with both OSes.
If you need both OSes to be able to add data to the disk, you'll need Fat32. I have a Disk formatted NTFS by my dad but I never write from the mac, I just pull data off it.

2. You can basically use any burner, they should all work fine with the mac.

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For the burner, I would recommend anything by Lacie. They seem to be reliable and are both Mac and PC compatible.


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Sgt Beavis

 
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2nd vote for the Lacie.

However I think you can mount that USB drive with NTFS if you share it out from your PC and access it across the network on your Mac. I'm not sure about this, but I think you could then do your backups as you wish...
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FAT32 does have the drawback that does not preserve file ownership and access permissions. HFS does of course preserve this, but then you have to buy a commercial package like MacDrive to support it.

As a lower cost solution, consider using the old Linux stalwart ext2. It is supported by both Mac and Windows. It has the full *nix ownership model, with owner IDs and permissions just like HFS+.

For the Windows support, see: http://www.fs-driver.org

For the Mac support, see: http://sourceforge.net/projects/ext2fsx

I have used the Windows support for ext2 on a dual boot Linux/Windows machine and can vouch for it - it works well. I have not used the Mac support so far, but have read good things about it.

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Peakoverload

 
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Cheers everyone for your replies, much appreciated.

Interested to hear the positive thoughts on LACiE products as personally I've had nothing but trouble with LACiE drives and have found them to be made from very cheap components.

I bought 4 external drives for work and all 4 of them died within 12 months all with the same problem, the controller card failed.

Another friend of mine bought several of the same drives and 3 of them failed within 18 months with the same problem.

The only LACiE drive I've used that hasnt failed is the 1TB drive but then that doesnt actually get used that often.

Maybe we just got a bad batch but it doesnt fill me with confidence.
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which lacie drive did you buy.. the porches are not of good quality.

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Peakoverload

 
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Ahh it was indeed the Porsche drives.
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Rambaud

 
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I have taken the HFS+ and Macdrive 7 route.

I have put a BenQ 1640 DVD burner in a Firewire 400/USB2 enclosure. This works fine with my PC, but it will only burn CDs with my MacBook - although I have only tried Verbatim 4x DVD+RW media and Firewire so far.
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