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Extrenal Hard Drive is "read only" on Macbook

by sunnydjs / February 23, 2007 9:40 AM PST

I have a homemade 250gb external hard drive, and have used it with my windows XP computer for about a year now. I recently bought a Macbook, and want to use the extrernal drive to back up files. I plug it in to my macbook, it regonizes it, and I can read the files on it, but I can't write to the drive. I have looked through the drive's prefrences on my XP computer, but I can't find anything to address this issue. Hope you can help!

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That's proper. Here's why.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 23, 2007 10:40 AM PST

MacOSX can read but not write to NTFS volumes. While FAT32 works, it's not as damage resistant and has that nutty 4GB file limit.


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by sunnydjs / February 23, 2007 6:17 PM PST

Thanks for your responce.
So, basically what you are saying is that I can't use that drive, right?
And so, are all the Mac External drives Fat 32? Or is there a way around all of this?

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I didn't write that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 24, 2007 3:16 AM PST
In reply to: Ok..

I only noted the limitations and how FAT32 volumes give you a 2 way exchange but with a small issue about not being very robust.

The Mac can format the drive in it's native file system but then Windows can't read that. FAT32 gives you an exchange volume that's 2 way. NTFS is readable by both, writable by Windows.

Hope this explains it well enough for you.


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Get partition magic
by nu2duo / February 24, 2007 8:59 AM PST

Get yourself a copy of partition magic and create a fat32 partition using your win pc. Mac will be able to write to that particular partition. Good luck

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Sounds pricey when the native and free tools can do this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 24, 2007 10:22 AM PST
In reply to: Get partition magic

Why spend that much for a small task?


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Ok, so how do I do it?
by sunnydjs / February 26, 2007 9:20 AM PST

Ok, so, How should I, If i can, partition my external drive so that half (or some portion) of it works with my macbook, and the other half works with my windows computer? and would this erase all the info from the drive?

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Such a drive is not storage.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 26, 2007 9:38 AM PST
In reply to: Ok, so how do I do it?

No need to repeat what others have learned about this. If interchange is all that's needed then make a FAT32 volume or better yet don't futz with this drive if you have files that are no where else.

I don't have a clear picture or know if you are using this for "storage."


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by sunnydjs / February 26, 2007 12:25 PM PST

K, what I use this drive for is backup for my desktop, and to hold large, rarely used files using up my small macbook hard drive. Also, some of the files are larger then 4 gb or whatever you said the FAT32 limit was.
Anyway, how can I make this drive usable with both my PC and my Mac?

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It's backup. NOT storage.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 26, 2007 8:31 PM PST
In reply to: Ok

Then we are free to do as we please since when it goes away we still have our primary copy.

Sounds like all you need to do is execute your plan.


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by sunnydjs / February 27, 2007 1:54 AM PST

Ok, well that's great, I just need to know what I can use as my plan. How can I partition my drive to work with both computers? An explanation or links would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Windows Disk Management ...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 27, 2007 2:00 AM PST
In reply to: Ok....

Is in Start Help and Support.

You would delete the old NTFS partition, create a new FAT32 one which will be writable by both OSes. You could make a few since Windows limits it to 32GB each or make another new NTFS volume for Windows READ/WRITE and Mac READONLY use.

What's stopping you?


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MacFuse. FIX!
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 1, 2007 10:30 AM PST

"Examples of file systems that work have been tested (to varying degrees) include sshfs, ntfs-3g (read/write NTFS)"

I haven't tried it yet but it may be the answer. More as I look deeper.

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