10 Replies Latest reply: Dec 18, 2008 12:33 PM by Shahid Malik
njoay Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I just recently purchased a LaCie 500 GB Hard Drive from the Apple Store in order to back up and store most of my PC (Window) files. Most of my files that I need to back up are on CD, DVD, and USB mini drives. I was thinking of transferring the files through my MacBook Pro but I'm not sure how to partition the hard drive, since most of my files are generated from PC's and I would need to connect the hard drive to a PC in the future anyway.

From what I understand, the files that I save in the Windows partition will only be recognized when on a PC, and the same for the MAC. But what about simple compatible files that are read cross platform, such as Word documents? Would I still only be able to access each file depending on the platform and the partition?

Is there a way that I can just partition it into a single storage space – as how servers store data, regardless of whether it’s a PC or MAC file? I’m also wondering what would happen if I were to plug it into my laptop first? If it doesn’t ask me to partition the drive on my PC, will it ask me when I plug it back into the MAC afterwards? And if I partition it then, what would happen to my data?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you

Mac OS X (10.4.11), LaCie External Hard Drive
  • john_powers Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
    Well, if you want to leave the drive as a single storage space that is compatible for both Windows and Mac OSX, then you should format the drive as FAT32 as this will allow the drive to be recognized by both OS. This will allow you to store files from both windows and Mac, although by doing this you run into a issue with file size limits as FAT32 can only support files of (correct me if I'm wrong) I believe 4 gb(?). You could also partition the drive into 3 storage spaces if you really wanted to and have one partition for Mac, one for PC's, and one as a FAT32 so that you can move files between both operating systems.
  • njoay Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi John,

    Thank you soo much for your response! Dividing the hard drive into 3 segments might do the trick, although I might just straight up plug the hard drive into a PC and have it "default" as a single drive. A colleague told me that that's what she does. She plugs her hard drive's into her PC first and keeps her hard drive as a single non-partitioned drive. And then when she plugs it into her MAC, her MAC will not prompt her for anything because at that point everything is taken care of.

    But I'm not sure if handling it this way will open myself up to problems in the future though.

    Thanks for your suggestion, I will definitely think about it and update you on it!!
  • john_powers Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
    While that should technically work, if I were you I would hook it up to the mac and through disk utility erase and reformat the drive either way. Its only a couple of steps and then you know that the drive has been whipped clean and should be likely to have fewer issues with bad blocks. Either way though, let me know if you need any more detailed steps.
  • njoay Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi John,

    I really appreciate your response! So I did plug it into my PC laptop and actually the LaCie Setup Assistant automatically launches as well (as it did on the MacBook Pro) and if I want to quit out of this setup I am threatened with this message:

    "Your drive will not be ready to use and will require manual formatting. The user manual and utilities will not be available on your drive and will have to be downloaded from the LaCie website: www.lacie.com"

    Does this mean that if I manually format my disk I'll have to download all the utilites myself? So, correct me if I'm wrong, but you think I should format my drive manually through LaCie's setup assistant and then reformat the drive through disk utility? I would really appreciate detailed steps, if it's not an inconvenience to you. Is disk utility something already installed on the MacBook Pro? The MacBook Pro (OS X 10.4.11) that I have is from my work and they have disabled admin rights, so even with this slight handicap do you think everything should work out?

    Thanks so much! You're a life saver!!
  • john_powers Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
    Unless you can get the admin rights, you will need to use the Lacie setup assistant to format and set up the drive. Be aware, since I believe you wanted to make sure that the drive could be used by both windows and mac platforms, that the drive is in FAT32 format. If you are able to partition the drive through the Lacie setup assistant then you could set up different partitions if you wanted to. I wouldn't think that it would be an issue, but you might want to check if the utilities are platform specific or not.

    If you can get the admin rights to use disk utility then post back and let me know and I'll try to help you with that.

  • Long Ge Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi, njoay

    I just moved to Mac from Windows last week onto a new MBP. I purchased a Lacie 500GB ruggedized drive. Here is what I know and tried:

    1) If you format the Lacie in Mac format, then you can't use it on a Windows machine without software eg MacDrive.

    2) If you format the Lacie in NTFS, you can only read from it when connected to Mac without other software.

    I work a lot with VMWare, so I need the LACIE to be able to connect to both PC and MAC. I found a solution from another MAC user: "Paragon NTFS for Mac OS" (see http://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/) which you can purchase for US$39.

    This is what I did:
    1) connect my Lacie to my PC and formatted it in NTFS format.
    2) Installed Paragon NTFS onto my MAC
    3) Connected LACIE to Mac.

    Here are the results:

    1) Connection with USB2.0 from Lacie to Mac - it works (can read and write to LAcie formatted in NTFS)

    2) Connection with Firewire 800 from Lacie to Mac - it does NOT work. The disk gets ejected. I have logged a support call with Paragon on this issue and am waiting a reply.

    3) Connection with Firewire 400 from Lacie to Mac - have not tried it yet.

    Hope the above helps.
  • Long Ge Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi, njoay

    just to update my last post. The firewire 400 on the LACIE NTFS works with my MBP with no problems. So just the Firewire 800 left. Will be bringing it to the Mac store for them to take a look.

  • Shahid Malik Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi there - I am facing a related problem. I formatted my LaCie 500GB disk using SuperDuper software to partition the disk. I did manage to create two separate partitions and have been backing up my MacPro successfully to one of the partitions. However I also want to back up my Windows PC to the other partition - it doesn't appear that SuperDuper supports Windows (or at least I can't figure out how to make the LaCie appear on my Windows XP machine). I can see it in Disk Utility but it doesn't mount nor can I back up to it. I wasn't able to get Windows Disk Management to solve the problem so now I'm stuck.

    It's not clear to me that the Paragon software mentioned on this thread would do the trick.

    Does anyone have any idea how I could make the LaCie become recognized on a Mac as well as a PC?

    Many thanks in advance,

  • Rod Hagen Level 7 Level 7 (31,985 points)
    Hi Shahid, if you want to use the drive regularly on the same PC my recommendation would be to install MacDrive on the PC. http://www.mediafour.com/products/macdrive/

    This will let it read and write to Mac formatted discs. You thereby avoid problems that can arise with partition schemes, file systems and file size limitations on one computer or the other using other strategies.


  • Shahid Malik Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Rod - that's a great idea. I checked up MacDrive on the web and it looks like it will work. Thanks again.