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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Can I change external hard drives from Mac to Pc?
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Showing posts 1 - 15 of 15, (reverse)
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12/29/2016 08:35:33 AM · #1
Long time but I have sold most of my gear and now my iMac seems to have fallen ill, I can't get it to boot at all and have been working on it for weeks. I don't have the money budgeted for a new computer but I could swing a PC in a much shorter time than a new Mac, but I have thousands of photos I don't want to lose that are sitting on external drives. The drives are formatted for my Mac, can they be read if I moved over to a PC?
12/29/2016 09:35:04 AM · #2
If actually formatted as Mac drives I don't think you can read them on a Windows machine unless you can find third-party software to do it. Drives formatted as FAT 32 can usually be read by both, but it is less-efficient than newer formats.

I'd suggest getting an older (used) Mac and some new (PC-compatible) drives -- remember it doesn't need much processing power to move files around, so you should be able to get one really cheap.
12/29/2016 09:51:30 AM · #3
If you know somebody else with a Mac then buy another external drive and format as ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/1031.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/1031.gif', '/') + 1) . ' GeneralE said. Then copy from your old drive to the new. You'll have duplicate copies and something readable by both Mac and PC. Storage space is cheap these days.
12/29/2016 10:11:19 AM · #4
A common mac problem that causes non-booting (at least for macbooks) is a bad hard drive cable. Its a relatively cheap thing to test.
12/29/2016 10:14:18 AM · #5
The option of copying to another external drive, using a borrowed mac, is a good one, since it does create another copy. Failing that, there are two possibilities. What you need to do depends on how the drive was originally formatted. If it has the native Apple HFs+ format, then you will need third party software. For about $20, Paragon Software offers HFS+ For Windows. Once installed, an HFS+ formatted drive should show up like any other. If, on the other hand, it was formatted with exFAT, it will show up without any shenanigans.
Try connecting the drive to a PC, and if you get a message saying the drive needs to be formatted, hit CANCEL. You know that it is HFS+. If the drive just shows up normally, it's exFAT.
12/29/2016 10:37:22 AM · #6
OR if your external drive is already on NTFS and you still want to use that in Mac then you will need something like Tuxera NTFS for Mac. This is again a paid driver that you can buy.
12/29/2016 11:14:57 AM · #7
I should have spent more time learning computers while learning photography, this all sounds like another language to me. I'm going to try and hook up a drive to my wife's laptop but I think the drives won't be readable.
12/29/2016 11:26:53 AM · #8
I second Nobody, the fix for my imac not booting was a simple part a friend found on the internet for a very small$ (after the apple genius's told me it needed a very expensive repair) if that does not work I'd listen to kirbic or pgirish007
and even if the first remedy works you still might like to look into your drives compatibility .
12/29/2016 02:29:02 PM · #9
Originally posted by MinsoPhoto:

...I'm going to try and hook up a drive to my wife's laptop but I think the drives won't be readable.


Make absolutely sure that if you get a message telling you the drive needs to be formatted before use, DON'T! Instead hit "Cancel" and disconnect it. Install the Paragon software linked above and try it again. It should show up normally.
12/29/2016 03:28:20 PM · #10
Thanks for all the advice, I'll see what happens.
12/29/2016 03:35:01 PM · #11
Originally posted by MinsoPhoto:

Long time but I have sold most of my gear and now my iMac seems to have fallen ill, I can't get it to boot at all and have been working on it for weeks. I don't have the money budgeted for a new computer but I could swing a PC in a much shorter time than a new Mac, but I have thousands of photos I don't want to lose that are sitting on external drives. The drives are formatted for my Mac, can they be read if I moved over to a PC?


Not of any help help for you now I'm afraid (but perhaps for someone else later). Get an external backup like eg. Backblaze. It's more expensive than DPC but still relatively cheap and you never have to worry about your photos again (kind of insurance). And it doesn't matter what kind of PC you're using.
12/29/2016 08:24:24 PM · #12
Well I still can't get my original HD to boot but I was able to load OS X onto an old external drive so that I can get access to my photos. Time to budget to purchase a new external drive that I can format for PC to make the move.
01/15/2017 08:22:39 PM · #13
Well I have my imac running enough to where I can get my photos but the computer itself is pretty much unusable. Good news is I purchased a new HP laptop and have my photoshop and lightroom creative cloud loaded on it. Planning on entering some stuff soon. I also want to start learning some more advanced editing techniques and seeing what I can do. I have gotten a bit rusty in the time I have been away and now I need to relearn Windows and the PC shortcuts and whatnot in PS.
01/16/2017 11:10:41 AM · #14
Great news!
I can see the keyboard shortcuts being a re-learning task if you were using them extensively. Other than that, I think these days the OS you're running is almost a non-issue. I've been experimenting with Lr and Ps on a newer laptop that has plenty of memory and a fast SSD, but only moderately powerful processor. Ps seems snappier than Lr, but I think Lr is being slowed mostly by the combination of the large RAW files from the 5D IV and the high-resolution previews it is generating to accommodate the 4k screen on the laptop. I seems will need to adjust Lr's preferences for previews to speed it up, I think. The reason I mention this is that many newer laptops are using lower-power processors to enhance battery life, and that will inevitably mean some compromise on performance of CPU-intensive apps like Lr, requiring user adjustment.
01/16/2017 04:34:48 PM · #15
The speed is pretty nice, and a significant step up from I'm old iMac. I purchased a gaming laptop so it has a nice speedy processor, decent RAM and a decent size solid state drive in addition to a 1TB hard drive for storage.
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