external HD question

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I want to buy an external drive 500GB max. Tiger direct is next to my house and they have great specials. My problem is that I keep seeing HD's with software and what not.
Why would I need software for a hard drive?
Can I just use the hard drive that I buy in the same way I use my Ipod with disk usage enable? i.e. drag and drop files/folders freely like I do on the Ipod and other memory sticks?
What drive would you guys recommend? I know I can make one but the price is very good at tiger direct.

Thanks guys and sorry for the barrage of questions.
 

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I want to buy an external drive 500GB max. Tiger direct is next to my house and they have great specials. My problem is that I keep seeing HD's with software and what not.
Why would I need software for a hard drive?
Can I just use the hard drive that I buy in the same way I use my Ipod with disk usage enable? i.e. drag and drop files/folders freely like I do on the Ipod and other memory sticks?
What drive would you guys recommend? I know I can make one but the price is very good at tiger direct.

Thanks guys and sorry for the barrage of questions.

The software included is likely to make full and incremental system back-ups. Some drives also offer a "one touch" feature to simplify backups. Some drives include Mac software, others don't. Regardless of the software included, yes, you can use the drive in the manner you describe.
 
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Thanks. How does the auto system back up work? What exactly does it back up?
 
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Can I use a 500GB HD with my mac and pc? I know the pc uses ntfs or whatever, can I just partition the drive in half with both formats?
 
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You can format the drive as FAT-32 and use it with both systems. Macs can read and write to FAT-32 partitions. In fact, you're probably better off formatting the drive to FAT-32 on the Mac rather than on the PC.
 

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Thanks. How does the auto system back up work? What exactly does it back up?

It depends on how you have it configured. It can backup a few folders, or the entire drive. It all depends on how it's configured.
 

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You can format the drive as FAT-32 and use it with both systems. Macs can read and write to FAT-32 partitions. In fact, you're probably better off formatting the drive to FAT-32 on the Mac rather than on the PC.

Can you format a drive that large with FAT32 though? I know there's a limitation, but am not sure if that's just imposed by Windows to try to force users over to NTFS.

Here's what I do - I have a 300GB external drive. I seperate it into 2 140GB partitions. One for my Mac and one for my PC laptops.
 
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Can you format a drive that large with FAT32 though? I know there's a limitation, but am not sure if that's just imposed by Windows to try to force users over to NTFS.


Yes, you can. Just not on Windows and for the reason you mentioned. Go figure.
 

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Thanks much guys. Fantom drives any good? This is the one i can get a deal on http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2807658&CatId=136

They're not a major manufacturer. It's probably just a generic, Chinese conglomerate company with a badge name that sounds interesting (for Marketing purposes). I'd recommend you check with Tiger on what kind of drive is actually inside the case. If it's not a Seagate or a Western Digital, I'd look elsewhere (JMO).
 

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Yes, you can. Just not on Windows and for the reason you mentioned. Go figure.

I thought I'd read that somewhere. I think Windows will only let you go up to 64GB or some arbitrary limit. Once again, it takes a Mac to do things right ;)
 
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I just wanted to clear something up guys. HFS+ is the format if I only want to use on the mac correct? If I want to use it on both its fat 32 I know that now. My last question is, Can I partition half the drive fat32 ant the other half HFS+?
 

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I just wanted to clear something up guys. HFS+ is the format if I only want to use on the mac correct? If I want to use it on both its fat 32 I know that now. My last question is, Can I partition half the drive fat32 ant the other half HFS+?

HFS is what you want to use if you just need to use it with the Mac. FAT32 will work with both.

Yes, you can use the Disk Utility to create 2 "partitions", that is, two or more areas of the disk that essentially behave as multiple disks.
 
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How would one format to fat32 on a mac?
 
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1-Open Disc Utility

2-Select the Hard Drive in Question

3-Click on the upper of the two hard drive icons. The upper is the drive itself, the lower is the current partition

4-Select ERASE and select the format MS-DOS from the drop down menu.

5-Erase the drive. This will reformat it as MS-DOS (FAT-32)
 

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If you may be dealing with files larger than the 4GB allowed by FAT32, another option, although not free, is to get MacDrive.
This software installed to windows will allow windows to read and write to your Mac drives.
It will eliminate the need to have a partition set up for each, and the possible necessity of storing duplicate files, one for each OS.
They do give you a 5 day trial to check it out.
 

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