6 Replies Latest reply: Mar 14, 2011 3:15 PM by cyclistSteve
Ministrel Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
I'm still pretty new to Mac & was wondering if it is okay to use any external hard drive with mac.I have external hard drives that I use for PC & would like to know if it was okay to use them with my Imac.Do I need to reformat i or just plug into USB & use it? Also pls let me know where the deletekey is on my keyboard.I see a 'backspace 'key although it says 'delete'.It works like the backspace key / button on a PC.The Imac I own is the one on this link http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MC508LL/A?mco=MTg1ODA3OTA please let me know what OS it uses.Also I would like to know where to make the right click settings for the mouse.
Thanks for your replies.

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (28,320 points)
    I'll try to help with a couple of questions:

    To find out which version of Mac OS you are on, click on the Apple sympbol in the upper left corner and click on "About this Mac". It will show Mac OS X Version 10.6.x (which would be Snow Leopard). And, if you want to find more info re. your iMac, simply click on "more info" in that window and the System Profiler will open with all the hardware and software information available.

    And yes, you can use most USB external drives with Macs, but they will most likely have been formatted for Windows, so you will need to re-format them. To do so, plug in a drive, and go to Applications folder -> Utilities and open Disk Utility. Highlight the external drive on left. Choose the "Partition" tab. Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format and, if you want to use it as a bootable clone, click on Options and choose GUID partition scheme. Disk Utility will then erase and format the drive. Remember to copy anything you want to keep elsewhere temporarily - partitioning a drive will erase it.

    I don't use an Apple keyboard currently, but my previous ones never had a problem actually deleting with the delete key, so unless someone else has an idea, there may be a problem with that key.

    And, I also do not use an Apple mouse, but you can set up your preferences and settings for both keyboard and mouse by going to System Preferences and choosing the Keyboard and Mouse panes.
  • Ministrel Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Thanks for the immediate response.I guess I understand most of what you explained except for the term bootable clone.I have totally no clue on booting from the drive.My knowledge on computers is pretty low.On your reply I guess you meant reformatting by using the term 'partition'.I thought they were 2 different things.I was hoping to use 1 ext hard drive for both my PC & Mac but from what you say it looks like it may not be possible as I can afford to loose any data on my ext drive.It would be great atleast to have a drive which I can partition partly for mac & use that section for Mac & keep the rest for my PC . Regarding the delete key,I have the recent wireless mini keyboard that ships with the new Imacs.On the far right corner,2nd row,there is a key which says 'delete'.But it works pretty much like the backspace key on a PC.It does not delete forward!My other question not asked previously is,would I need a virus protect for Imac.That is,do most people use an anti virus software when it comes to mac?
    Thanks for taking the time to reply.Happy New year!
  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (28,320 points)
    Happy New Year to you as well! I've never really worked with Windows, so is this a Windows thing and/or am I just not getting it?:

    +It does not delete forward!+

    Or do you mean simply selecting any portion of what you typed (not necessarily back, but any portion)? If that is what you meant you can just highlight whichever portion and hit delete.

    Re. the external drive: yes, you can partition and then use for both Mac and Windows, but because I don't run Windows, we'll need to have someone chime in who knows what type of formatting you need to do for that. Therefore, I'm also not sure what would happen on your current (Windows) contents.

    When you use Disk Utility and want to format the drive, the option available is to partition - that does not mean you have to have more than one partition, but it's the method used to format the drive. And, you can choose to have more than one partition.

    Another possibility would be to get a second external hard drive and format it for Mac only while keeping your current one for Windows.

    Bootable clone = an exact copy of your entire system (Mac) on your internal hard drive which is bootable. This means that if you have a major problem with your Mac's system or hard drive, you can keep working by being able to boot up from the external while trying to figure out how to troubleshoot your internal's problem. Since hard drives all will fail at some point, I have two externals and have bootable clones of both my iMac and my Macbook on both (just in case one goes kaput).

    +My other question not asked previously is,would I need a virus protect for Imac.That is,do most people use an anti virus software when it comes to mac?+

    Short answer: No. This article would be an excellent read:

  • Ministrel Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Thanks for the excellent response.
  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (28,320 points)
    You're welcome; once you make a decision re. your external, post back (possibly starting a new topic so it doesn't get buried here) with any questions regarding formatting for both Windows and Mac.

    And, since I assume your mouse question hasn't been addressed, you may want to start a separate topic for that as well.
  • cyclistSteve Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi ! Like Ministrel, I am new to Macs from Pc this year and not a computer whizz... getting to grips with it & liking it so far !

    However, I also have an external HDD, used with my old PC, with files & photos etc (only about 50GB used) and I assumed that I could just plug it in to the Mac & transfer files (thought I'd been clever buying Microsoft Office software so that I could read the Word files)... but see that I'm supposed to format the HDD before I can use it with the Mac.

    Any ideas how to transfer these files before formatting the HDD ?? Any help much appreciated.
    (PS - wanted to post a new question but cannot seem to find how to do that !)