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Portable hard drive question, Mac OS X

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have picked up a Seagate Free Agent Go 160gb portable hard drive. I will be using it for work, to back up customers data during OS reinstalls and such. I mainly work on Windows boxes, but lately I'm getting more work on Macs. I want to be able to use this drive on both types of systems, no files will live on the drive permanently, it's just for temporary storage. My question is which file system should I format it to? I'm guessing FAT32, that's the only way I see it working with Mac & Windows without having to format it every time I need to use it.
post #2 of 11
FAT32 is the only one that is read/write by both, I think. Careful on the Mac boxes, they still don't really play too nice with FAT32 drives, in my experience. It's certainly better than Win support for HFS+ or Mac support for linux fs's though.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hmm, maybe I'll have to partition it half and half. If the need for a larger partition came up I could just reformat the whole thing temporarily.
post #4 of 11
If you're just using it as temporary storage, FAT32 is fine. The drawbacks to FAT32 are as follows:
- much slower (I last benchmarked FAT32 versus HFS+ using Panther and at that time it was roughly 60% slower, which isn't surprising since OS X needs to do two accesses for every file to check for resource forks)
- not designed for data integrity, vulnerable to power outages and sudden disconnections
- file size limitations (even though FAT32 can store up to 4GB files, OS X may still enforce the FAT16 max file size of 2GB for backwards compatibility; if memory serves me right, Panther did, this is worth checking)

However, for most temporary storage uses, none of those are major limitations. I'd go with FAT32. I just don't recommend this a primary data storage method intended for long-term storage.
post #5 of 11
Aren't there a program which allow osx to use NTFS?
post #6 of 11
Probably, like there is a program that allows HFS+ access on win. However it's probably not practical for "field" work, installing it on every client's machine, I guess.
post #7 of 11
Format it on the mac, tho, so you can make bigger partitions
post #8 of 11
Macs can be tweaked to read AND write NTFS, but the steps I saw were not quick and easy. OS X can read NTFS by default but not write.

I've formatted my external hard drives under Mac's HFS+ for speed and security, and to be able to have files greater than 4gb (Can't do that with FAT).

In the distant past, I've used a program by Mediafour called MacDrive:
MacDrive allows Windows (now including Vista) to read AND write to Mac HFS transparently.

So it all depends on what you want to tweak. The easiest commercial solution (but it costs $50, more for the multipack) is MacDrive installed on your Windows machine. It's a small enough program to carry on a keychain USB flash drive (FAT32-formatted), but I don't know if this is consistent with the licensing and EULA.

I have yet to get my Macs to WRITE in NTFS (it involves open source software), but that's an option to google if you'd rather install something on your Mac.
post #9 of 11
Originally Posted by RYCeT View Post
Aren't there a program which allow osx to use NTFS?
post #10 of 11
Originally Posted by user18 View Post
Thanks a lot for the link!
Might become useful...
post #11 of 11
Just to make aware - the 3g NTFS driver works to read/write however it will at times mangle permissions on files it interacts with. This isn't a problem per say as it's not going to destory data, just something to be aware of.
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