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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?" :)

Formatting External Drives

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Member Since: Jul 12, 2007
Posts: 16
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Is there any way to format a drive on PC so that you can read and write on a Mac without erasing everything on the drive?

Also, how do I format drives so they work with both in the future?

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Member Since: Apr 11, 2007
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Macs can read NTFS, but not write to it. No way to format the drive without erasing everything.

In the future, you can format the drive in partitions of 32 GB as FAT32. But, you can't write a file larger than 4 GB to the drive.
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Member Since: Apr 19, 2007
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If you get an external drive, it will be formatted FAT32 anyway, so it will work with both.

Well it should be, otherwise that's not a very good company.
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Member Since: Jul 12, 2007
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So I've formatted a portable drive with my powerbook and my PC cant see it now so, how do I reformat it as a FAT32 drive?
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Sherman Homan

Member Since: Oct 27, 2006
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Disk Utility. A PC can't see HFS+ drives without some third party software help. A Mac can't write to NTFS without some third party help. Use Disk Utility to format it as FAT 32. Do not use a PC to format it, Windows imposes a ridiculous size limit on FAT 32 volumes.
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Member Since: Jul 12, 2007
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Sorry about all the questions, so I plug the drive into the power book, open disk utility but, I cant see fat32 as an option under erase, would you mind walking me through it?

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Member Since: Jan 26, 2007
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Fat-32 is MS-DOS under Disk Utility, if you want to use the drive in a mixed OS environment, partition the drive so that you have one partition formatted as Fat-32, and one as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
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