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Mac / PC / External Drive Backups

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Mac / PC / External Drive Backups

 

I know this topic has been covered, however as is typical of the all mighty Internet there appears to be conflicting information so I thought I would try once more.

 

What I am working with:

PC with windows XP

Mac Air

Seagate Free Agent External Hard Drive (NTFS format – 1TB)

 

What I want to do:

Have my PC regularly backup to the Seagate on the same partition as the MAC.

Have my Mac Air reg regularly backup to the Seagate on the same partition as the PC.

Have my Mac & Seagate backup to a remote cloud service.

 

Concerns:

I have read that some Mac’s cannot read a NTFS formatted hard drive.  I have no issue with that, my Mac accesses it just fine.

 

I have read that having a Mac regularly access a NTFS formatted hard drive can eventually corrupt the NTFS hard drive.  Is there truth to this, has anyone experienced it?

 

My current status:

Using the software that came with my free agent I have no issues having my PC backing up to the Seagate, it works perfectly.

 

Unless I do it manually (meaning drag and drop), I cannot get my Mac to automatically backup to the Seagate.  I searched for free agent software for the Mac however I had no luck.  I tried to use Time Machine on the Mac however it wants to reformat the Seagate hard drive to a HFS+ Journaled Format.

 

I read that once I format the Seagate to the HFS+ Journaled Format that my PC will not be able to access the drive.  Is this true?

 

Does anyone have any suggestions or has anyone accomplished what I am trying to do?  If so can you suggest software for the Mac and software for the PC that will run scheduled backups.  Also does anyone have any suggestions on a reasonably priced and secure cloud / offsite storage service for a regular backups of about 1 TB of data?

 

Thanks and let me know if you need any more information.

post #2 of 6
By default Macs can't write to NTFS and Windows can't read or write HFS. There are 3rd party tools to enable both but it's not a good idea to backup either machine to a filesystem that differs from their own as it's not bootable. Your best bet is to partition the drive in two: one HFS, the other NTFS or buy an extra drive.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Marvin,

Thanks for the feedback.  The main reason I want to keep one partition is that most online back up services only allow one PC and one external hard drive.  If I partition the drive I was expecting the online service to see it as two drives (I have not tested this).

 

So I actually have 2 seagate 1 TB drives that I use as backups (one is a mirror image of the other).  If I were to reformat one of the drives to the HFS, how can I get the data from my other drive (NTFS) to the newly formatted HFS drive?  Right now my Mac will read / write to the HFS however I read that it will corrupt the data.  What is the safest method to get the NTFS drive data to the HFS drive?  Also say for example I was working on a word doc on a PC, saving it, then working on it on a Mac and back and forth, etc.  Will this file become corrupt?

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Air View Post

The main reason I want to keep one partition is that most online back up services only allow one PC and one external hard drive.  If I partition the drive I was expecting the online service to see it as two drives (I have not tested this).

It should be ok, Bootcamp requires a second partition and they wouldn't prevent backups of Bootcamp'd machines. The cloud backup won't be much use anyway as upload speeds are crazy slow. Even if you have a 1MBit sustained upload, a 128GB backup will take:

1Mbit/s / 8 = 125KBytes/s
128GB / 125KB/s = 12 days

Subsequent backups would take less time but the only backups you'll be able to do will fit on the internal so you don't need to have the external attached while you do the backup.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Air View Post

So I actually have 2 seagate 1 TB drives that I use as backups (one is a mirror image of the other).  If I were to reformat one of the drives to the HFS, how can I get the data from my other drive (NTFS) to the newly formatted HFS drive?

The Mac will read NTFS and write HFS so you'd just plug both in and copy from the NTFS drive to the HFS drive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Air View Post

Right now my Mac will read / write to the HFS however I read that it will corrupt the data.

NTFS read is supported in the OS so that's ok. The possibility for corruption would come from using 3rd party software to enable NTFS write:

http://www.tuxera.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1287

If you keep Mac data separate from PC data, it should be fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Air View Post

Also say for example I was working on a word doc on a PC, saving it, then working on it on a Mac and back and forth, etc.  Will this file become corrupt?

It's not the best workflow to jump back and forth between them but it would be fine as long as you save to the right filesystem e.g.

- create a Word document in Windows, you'd save to the PC internal and backup to NTFS drive/partition
- on the Mac, you'd copy this file off the NTFS drive and any changes would be backed up to the HFS drive/partition
- if the PC needed to use this file again, you'd copy it from HFS. In order to do this, you'd need to enable HFS read (Bootcamp does this now and there are 3rd party software packages)

You can also get a network drive if you need to share files between different operating systems or setup file sharing between the Mac and Windows via Gigabit ethernet.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Marvin,

 

Thank you, everything is making sense. 

 

Just for clarity on the last item about working on a word doc for example between a PC and Mac.  Lets say I saved my "working" files in dropbox.  I work on a word doc no my PC, its saved in dropbox, 5 mins later I work on it on may Mac, saved again in dropbox - back forth till the end of time.  Do you foresee this word doc becoming corrupt?  (This is just an example)

 

Thanks again

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Air View Post

Marvin,

 

Thank you, everything is making sense. 

 

Just for clarity on the last item about working on a word doc for example between a PC and Mac.  Lets say I saved my "working" files in dropbox.  I work on a word doc no my PC, its saved in dropbox, 5 mins later I work on it on may Mac, saved again in dropbox - back forth till the end of time.  Do you foresee this word doc becoming corrupt?  (This is just an example)

 

Thanks again

The file won't be corrupt as long as you remember to save the file on either computer when you are done working on it. If you start working on an Excel spreadsheet in Mac, but leave the file open, then an hour later decide to work on the same file on your pc and save it, and then a few hours later you go back to your mac and quit Excel and save the same file. This would cause confusion in the file data and your file would probably be corrupted, or at the very least, would not have the latest data saved.

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