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Hard drive to go between Mac and PC without deleting anythin

by cheapsis / June 30, 2012 6:59 AM PDT

Is there an external hard drive that will allow moving documents between a Mac and PC? Everytime I buy one that says works with Mac and PC, it turns out that it can only read and write on one, and the other will "format" it to use. In other words, have to erase everything stored on it and start over to switch over and use exclusively on either Mac or PC. Anything that can go between the two?

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All Answers

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Re: external disk for Mac and PC
by Kees_B Forum moderator / June 30, 2012 7:17 AM PDT

If you make a partition on it with a FAT32 file system, both the Mac and the PC will be able to read it and write to it.


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As already mentioned but,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 1, 2012 12:49 AM PDT

be aware that FAT32 is notoriously unstable and does not allow files greater than 2GB.

However, for use as a transfer agent between the Mac and PC, it will work fine.
Just don't use it for long term storage.

Note that Kees said "make a partition" on that drive. There is no need to format the entire drive, unless you want to.


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Re: moving
by Kees_B Forum moderator / July 1, 2012 1:16 AM PDT

As an alternative, you can use a USB flash drive. Recent ones are 32 GB or 64 GB, and if you don't mind them being somewhat slower than a hard disk, they aren't expensive. Great for moving files between machines.


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a better option for you

The Mac is "smarter" than the PC in that there is no easy way for a PC to use a Mac formatted HFS+ drive. But it is VERY easy to get a Mac to use and understand an NTFS formatted drive. Just install Tuxera NTFS for Mac. Now you can read AND write from both Mac & PC and share files etc. It works and is fast. And there is no 2 GB file size limitation.

Here's the link for you:

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