External HDD on PC and Mac

in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Is this doable? I'm getting a Powerbook soon and ideally, I'd like to be able to move my old files onto it by plugging in my existing USB hard drive. Can it be compatible with both?


  • Reply 1 of 12
    whisperwhisper Posts: 735member
    Format it as a PC disk, and it should work on both computers. I think it has to be FAT32 or FAT16 for this to work though. On the other hand, NTFS support might maybe be in OS X now; it's been awhile since I've checked.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    joeyjoey Posts: 236member
    FAT32 is your best bet (then you can also plug it into just about any other OS... such as Linux... if you should ever decide to). NTFS is a better file system than FAT32, but if you're just using it as a backup drive and not as a system drive... that's not all that important. I'm pretty sure NTFS isn't compatible with OSX... but I'm not sure on that either.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Actually, that's a good question.

    I got a 160MB Firewire drive because the internal drive on my Powerbook was too slow for Garageband.

    I formatted it with Fat32, but OS X had problems with that. I tried copying my previous garageband files over to it, but OS X said that the files had "special characters" and it couldn't write them. I don't know if it meant the filenames or the content, or what. I'd be pretty happy if someone has that figured out, since it'd be VERY nice to actually use this drive on my Powerbook, my Windows box and my various Linux machines...
  • Reply 4 of 12
    either buy a mac drive reading software for windows or format the drive as ext2 and download the ext2 driver for osx and use paragon extfs anywhere for windows. Linux would require nothing to read this drive. The paragon software costs around $30 bucks and the ext2 driver for os x is free.

    I use this set-up on a maxtor one-touch and it works good for me.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    That's cool... but I'd still like to know why Mac OSX can't deal with the Fat32 thing...

    I mean, maybe with OS 10.3.5 the issue has been resolved... right?
  • Reply 6 of 12
    do you even have any special characters in the filenames or is os x just being picky? I have noticed that even when os x is writing to fat 32 drives, it is noticeably slower than writing to a native hfs+ drive or the ext2 drives. example - I formatted my original ipod as fat32 and is took a lot longer to transfer my songs over than hfs did.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    I have no idea - I don't even know which file it's complaining about. It just gives a very obscure error message.

    As far as I know, no, there are no special characters. I've looked through the files (which, at the time, were not many). Didn't see anything that I think Windows would have a problem with.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    ikaika Posts: 52member
    Which characters work in Windows, but not OSX?
  • Reply 9 of 12

    Originally posted by Ika

    Which characters work in Windows, but not OSX?

    Let me know if you find any. I don't think there should BE any. Maybe they'll /look/ different...

    Only thing I can think of is maybe there was a filename.with.dots.in.it, but there actually wasn't one...
  • Reply 10 of 12
    ikaika Posts: 52member
    no dots in filenames in OSX?
  • Reply 11 of 12

    Originally posted by Ika

    no dots in filenames in OSX?

    No, I think Windows doesn't like them. Old DOS filesystems woudln't let you have more than one 'dot', but FAT32 should have that hacked in there somehow...

    Meanwhile, I've installed ext2 on my Mac, and formatted the drive that way... now at least TWO types of systems can use it. I don't really use Windows very often, but it'd still be nice to be able to use the drive on that, too. For free, I mean. I suppose I could've made a FAT32 partition on it...
  • Reply 12 of 12
    ikaika Posts: 52member
    That's a relief, because I use dots in Windows filenames all the time.
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