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External Hard Drive Compatibility Technical Question!

2190 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Jul 6, 2010 8:29 PM by Fortuny RSS
TiffanyNicole Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 5, 2010 8:29 PM
I have a technical question....

I just recently bought a MBP 13" and am brand new to the Mac world. I have an external hard drive that has all my pictures and Word documents on it. I didn't realize that this particular hard drive has to be reformatted to be compatible with the Mac! Since it's just pics and documents do I really have to reformat it? Or, would I be better off transferring everything to my Windows desktop and then move what I want to a portable flash drive? Need some advice...Please

Tiffany =)
iPhone 3GS, iPad 64gb -3G, HP Pavilion Dv6338se, HP Desktop, Windows Vista
  • Fortuny Level 7 Level 7 (21,415 points)
    Hi Tiffany,

    a reformating or repartitioning of the external HD would definetly delete everything that is on it right now.

    But if you want to use this 'opportunity' to clean up your files/photos the way you proposed (using the PC and the flash drive) would be my personal way of doing this.

    After you have copied all important files from the HD you can then do the reformating without losing anything.


    MacPro 2.66 (Late 2006) 8GB X1900XT, Mac OS X (10.6.4), Refurb 27" iMac i7 4GB 1TB iPad Wi-Fi 32GB
  • Neville Mayfield Level 4 Level 4 (1,305 points)
    I'm not sure why you say the drive needs to be reformatted. If it is Fat32 format it should be totally compatible for file storage. If NTFS then the Mac should still be able to at least see & read the files. Are you sure that it's not a problem of the software versions you have?

    I've found that it's sometimes necessary to open files created on a windows platform by using the application menu File/Open rather than trying to open with a double click.

    Perhaps you can feed back the format details for the external drive and the software versions they were created with and that you are using on the Mac. This kind of detail can help focus our suggestions.

    Macbook Pro 2.53, 4GB RAM, 250GB, 1TB WD ext, Mac OS X (10.6.4), eMac 1.42MHz, 160GB, 10.4.11, 1.5 GB, Superdrive, 250GB My Book Essential
  • Fortuny Level 7 Level 7 (21,415 points)
    TiffanyNicole wrote:
    Hey I found is an NTFS Partition!

    NTFS is a Microsoft WIndows filesystem that Mac OSX can read from but cannot write to / copy files to without additional help.

    One such helper tool is the free NTFS-3G (there are others for which you have to pay).

    But if you plan to use that external Harddisk solely with your Mac it would be best to reformat/repartition it.

    *Be aware that doing this would erase everything that is on it right now !*

    Start Disk Utility (in the Applications/Utilities folder):

    in the left pane click on the 'External Harddisk' -
    then in the right pane click on the Partition Tab.
    Then choose the amount of partitions you want ( or leave it at one partition) and use 'MacOS Extended (Journaled)' as file system.
    Give it a 'Name' to your liking.
    Click on the 'Options'-button and make sure that GPT Partition Table is set if you have an Intel-based Mac.

    Then start the partitioning.


    MacPro 2.66 (Late 2006) 8GB X1900XT, Mac OS X (10.6.4), Refurb 27" iMac i7 4GB 1TB iPad Wi-Fi 32GB


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