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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> External Harddrive Question...
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02/21/2010 03:04:17 PM · #1
Okay this one is somewhat simple, My wife bought me Seagate FreeAgent 2Tb external harddrive for my birthday... Its the PC model, problem is, I have a Mac... Now I figured it was just the software that was different but apparently, the mac version they make is formatted differently. So, here is my question, why is it that my portable Western Digital Harddrive works on both her P.C. and my Mac, without any formatting, right out of the package, and this particular harddrive only works with one, or the other? Are all other non-portable harddrives like this? I was going to link it up to my Belkin wireless router too, which my Western digital did just fine, but I don't think this will work, and would be useless if it only worked on one of our computers... Any and all help and knowledge would be greatly appreciated... Thanks in advance
02/21/2010 03:07:31 PM · #2
Does the MAC not recognize it? I have 4 external drives, all formatted on my PC and the MAC works very well with them, 2 WD, 1 Seagate and 1 LaCie. If it's the read/write issue then there's a free program for MAC which makes the NTFS file system writable from the MAC. Without it NTFS is only readable. (iNTFS I believe is the name of the software.)
02/21/2010 03:28:02 PM · #3
Try opening "Disc Utility" from "Finder" and see if it shows up there.
You can also try looking for it from "Finder" in the search box at the top right. I had one that didn't show up for a while. It may be on your desktop. If it is, just drag it to "Finder".
02/21/2010 03:49:54 PM · #4
Well, in all fairness, i haven't opened the package yet out of fear that I couldn't return it... I have been told that there is a way to format it so that it will work with both the Mac and the P.C. I may look into that, because this version was on sale and the mac one was not...
02/21/2010 04:21:28 PM · #5
If you want to format it for Mac, you can do that using Disc Utility. It will work fine, at least the 3 external drives that I use seem to be fine with my Powermac G5, running OSX 10.5.8. For some reason, it took a while for one of them to show up in Finder, but I think that it was just a matter of dragging the icon from the desktop to where I wanted it in Finder.
The last one that I bought is a 1tb Fantom Green Drive, and I just plugged it in USB, and left it formatted as it came out of the box, with no problem. I haven't tried plugging it into a Windows PC yet to see if it will be compatible. I think that it should be ok for that too.
02/21/2010 04:26:31 PM · #6
The one that only works on the PC may be formatted with the NTFS file system, which a Mac cannot recognize. A drive formatted using the older FAT32 system will work on both systems.
02/21/2010 05:29:06 PM · #7
MAC recognizes NTFS. FAT32 is useless since the max file size is 4MB.

All four of my external drives are NTFS and the MAC has no issues reconizing them. At the moment I have them shared from the PC but have connected them directly.

The software to make NTFS writable from a MAC is iNTFS. Google NTFS mac OSX to find out more.

When a USB device is not recognized it's usually the driver that is at fault.

Message edited by author 2010-02-21 17:43:33.
02/21/2010 05:50:20 PM · #8
Originally posted by cpanaioti:

FAT32 is useless since the max file size is 4MB.

I don't think that's right, or your camera memory cards (usually FAT32) wouldn't be able to store any pictures ... I think (but can't remember for sure) that the file size limit is 2GB ...
02/21/2010 06:03:24 PM · #9
the problem from what I understood was that NTFS is read only for mac... So I can't save anything to it... Anyway, I'm going to format it.. When I opened up Disk Utility, I didn't see a format option, but I did see the partition option... So I chose to do a single partition, but it has been stuck on "Creating Partition Map" for like an hour... I assume a format could take 5 or 6 hours, but is being stuck on Creating Partition Map for so long normal? Sorry if that sounds stupid, this is my first time formating anything on a mac :)
02/21/2010 06:16:07 PM · #10
Originally posted by Sirashley:

the problem from what I understood was that NTFS is read only for mac... So I can't save anything to it... Anyway, I'm going to format it.. When I opened up Disk Utility, I didn't see a format option, but I did see the partition option... So I chose to do a single partition, but it has been stuck on "Creating Partition Map" for like an hour... I assume a format could take 5 or 6 hours, but is being stuck on Creating Partition Map for so long normal? Sorry if that sounds stupid, this is my first time formating anything on a mac :)


... however, there is software that can be installed on the mac to make NTFS writeable by the Mac. A simple google search brings up lots of material on this.
02/21/2010 06:17:30 PM · #11
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by cpanaioti:

FAT32 is useless since the max file size is 4MB.

I don't think that's right, or your camera memory cards (usually FAT32) wouldn't be able to store any pictures ... I think (but can't remember for sure) that the file size limit is 2GB ...


A lot of information is out there regarding what to format a disk as so both PC and MAC can read it and FAT32 is ruled out for file size reasons. Now I can't find the reference.

Anyway, NTFS works with iNTFS installed on the mac. The disk is read and writable by both PC and MAC.

Corrected, largest file size for FAT32 is 4GB which is a problem if you are dealing with large files like video or slideshows etc. It should be fine for photos and regular documents. Sorry for any confusion.

Message edited by author 2010-02-21 18:40:03.
02/21/2010 07:59:58 PM · #12
Okay well I formatted it with the default option for mac... It works just fine... Pops up as in "Untitled drive", and the drag and drop transfer works perfectly. The only thing I couldn't get working was connecting it to my Belkin N+ router, which has the software to connect a USB Harddrive. So I'm going to have to do some research there, but thanks for all the advice...
02/21/2010 11:04:50 PM · #13
The Belkin probably assumes the drive is formatted FAT32/NTFS, if you format it NTFS does it then show up on the Belkin using the USB?
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