Mac external drive to be used with vista

By Talstar ยท 5 replies
Mar 9, 2008
  1. My son just bought a new pc because his mac laptop died, he wants to see if he can use the lacie external drive with his new pc. Will he loose the mac files or can he format the unused portion of the disk.
  2. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    If the external drive was kept in FAT32 for example then he won't have any trouble recovering his old files & using the remainder of the disk space with Vista. If it was formated in HFS (the native Mac file system) though, it might prove to be a bit more complicated.
  3. Imatyta

    Imatyta TS Rookie

    Yeah check the formatting that's all it is about. It should be readable by Windows as Macs use FAT32 but it could be the native formatting as well so then you might have to use some special tool.
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

  5. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Yes, FAT32 is usually the solution because both Windows and Mac OS can work with it...

    But FAT32 is limited by a maximum of 4GB per file. So, it may be unlikely, but if you are planning to store files larger than 4GB (Home movies etc...) then FAT32 isn't really an option for you.

    If the above is a concern, then you can leave the drive formatted as HFS+ and buy Macdrive. It is a terrific little program that runs on your Windows system, allowing Windows to work with HFS drives (Mac formatted).

    Your second option would be to format the drive with NTFS and use FUSE + NTFS3G for Mac OS X.

    Fuse, the program that allows file system extensibility

    Ntfs-3g allows support for NTFS through Fuse

    Fuse GUI, a simple management program for Fuse

    And of course, FAT32 is recommended because it is well supported by both OS X and Windows. But if you NEED access to files larger than 4GB, then ntfs-3g or Macdrive are your only options. By the way, you can check the formatting of your drive in OS X by clicking on Go > Utilities > Disk Utility. In windows, you just right click on the drive icon in "My Computer" or "Computer" and click "Properties".
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,177   +990

    hope it's obvious, but don't reformat until you've extracted all the contents you need/desire.

    this means you need read-only access to the HFS+ filesystem on the drive and
    SNGX1275 referral url is a known solution :)
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