5 Replies Latest reply: Nov 13, 2007 10:33 PM by gamma ray
ajwride Level 1 (0 points)
I've never owned a mac before, but i am loving my new iMac. My only problem is my external hard drive. My external drive is a western digital and the format is MS-DOS (FAT32). There are some files/folders which i have permission to read and write, and others that i only have permission to read. Is there a way to change that so i have permission to read & write all of the files/folders on my drive.

iMac, Mac OS X (10.5)
  • Ian Bickerstaffe Level 6 (14,235 points)
    Hello Adrian and welcome to discussions,

    As I understand it, you will have to re-format the drive to Mac OS extended journaled to be able to do what you are trying to do. But of course, doing that will erase all the files you need / want.

    You may be able to copy all the files back onto the Mac. Wipe the drive, re-format it, then move all the files back across. Just make sure there is room on the Mac before you attempt this!


  • ajwride Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks Ian. Im not sure if that will work though because when I copy a locked folder to my mac and i try to delete files from that folder it still will not let me.

    I think that I have read that FAT32 formatting will allow me to read and write on the hard drive so I shouldn't have to reformat it.

    What i really need to do is to change the permissions for each folder i think. But that would be an enormous task. Is there a way to change the permissions for every file and folder on a drive at once?

    Also, if I do reformat my hard drive with my mac (something I intend to do) will that drive be accessible from a Windows based PC?
  • mrtotes Level 6 (11,825 points)
    Hello and Welcome to Apple Discussions.


    Ideally for Mac use you should re-format as the FAT32 format is no good for large drives or big files like movies. However Windows can't read a HFS+ drive without additional software.


    To change the permissions on all files on a drive:

    • Select the drive on the desktop
    • Choose File > Get info
    • Click the padlock and enter the admin password
    • Set the permissions as you require them
    • Choose "Apply to enclosed items".



    BTW this forum is for the much older iMac (Flat Panel) models

    G4 (aka Flat Panel): Intel:

    Click image to go to correct forum.


    You'll get better advice in the more relevant forum in future although both Ian and I have both recently upgraded.


    regards to both



  • ajwride Level 1 (0 points)
    thanks mrtotes. i will ask my question in the right forum today then.

    also, i would reform my drive to work specifically with mac, but i have to use PCs too frequently and i need access to those files.

    the other problem i have is that i cannot change the permissions for my external drive the way you described. i don't have the same options for my external drive as i do for my HD--I do not have a padlock in the bottom corner and there is no option to change the permissions, it just tells me "you can read and write". (i would post an image of it, but i don't know how to post an image in a forum)

    if you have any other ideas, please respond, but like you suggested i will post this question in a more relevant forum.

    Message was edited by: adrianwride
  • gamma ray Level 1 (0 points)
    Click on Get Info for the external drive. Click on the lock at the bottom right. You will be asked to enter your administrator name and password, and the lock will open, allowing you to make changes.