HD Format for Windows and OSX (not FAT)

in Genius Bar edited July 2014
Is there any format that will work with both Windows and OSX? I want to use it for a 320GB external drive. As far as I know, FAT will not support larger than 32GB. Any suggestions?


  • Reply 1 of 8
    kareliakarelia Posts: 525member
    I've got a 160 GB hard drive formatted with FAT right now, and in fact, most external hard drives come either unpartitioned, or partitioned with FAT.
  • Reply 2 of 8
    drboardrboar Posts: 477member
    The 32 GB limit is a MS "feature" for formatting in XP/Vista. In Win 2000 and ME you can format any HD in FAT32

    Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table

    My 320 MB drive is OK in FAT32, as long as you stay away from files of 4 GB and larger.
  • Reply 3 of 8


  • Reply 4 of 8
    Originally Posted by penguincentral View Post

    Isn't there software that you can install on XP to access mac formatted drives?

    I doubt it. As far as I know, it needs to be built into the core of the OS. It's for that same reason that Mac OS X can read NTFS drives, but not write to them.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    Actually, there is. Try MacDrive.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    I stand corrected.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    talksense101talksense101 Posts: 1,737member

    Try the ext2 file system if you don't like FAT. There are drivers for both OS-X and Windows and ext2 works with Linux as well.

    disclaimer: I haven't done this, but it is doable. You might want to check the OS X drivers first.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    spinnerlysspinnerlys Posts: 218member
    There are free alternatives for both sides of access to either Windows and Mac OS X.

    For accessing an HFS+ formatted volume under Windows you could use HFS Explorer.

    It's a standalone progamme that works with Java. With it you can browse your HFS+ formatted volumes.

    MacDrive is of course simpler, because you can just open the Explorer and there is your HFS+ volume, shown like all the other volumes.

    For writing to an NTFS formatted volume under Mac OS x you can use MacFuse and the NTFS 3G Read/Write driver. It works like a charm for me.
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