Using a Windows-formatted external drive

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
I need to copy a large number of PDF files from a Windows-formatted USB external drive to a Mac-formatted USB or Firewire external drive. Before I do this I want to make sure no issues will arise. Will the drive mount properly on my Mac? Will any Mac-specific files be created on the Windows drive?



  • Reply 1 of 4
    smaxsmax Posts: 361member
    Is the drive formatted FAT of NTFS?

    Either way, you'll be able to read the files form the drive.

    If it's FAT, a few harmless hidden files may be created (I wouldn't worry about them).

    If it's NTFS, the drive won't be altered at all.

    OSX can't write to NTFS partitions, so the data can't be changed.
  • Reply 2 of 4
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Thanks for picking up on this question.

    I'm going to assume the drive is formatted FAT32. Is this not the default format for Windows hard drives? I know that OSX can read and write to FAT32 volumes but read only to NTFS. Do you think that OSX will create "hidden" files on the external drive? Presumably these files are hidden to OSX but will be visible to Windows users. This could annoy and confuse the person from whom I'm borrowing this drive. It would be great to know what will happen in advance.
  • Reply 3 of 4
    smaxsmax Posts: 361member
    The files are hidden in Windows too.
  • Reply 4 of 4
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
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