View Full Version : Mac to PC FAT issue?

04-22-2009, 06:20 AM
Ok guys, I'm pretty much a PC guru, but when it comes to Mac's I' a total noob.

My school uses only Mac, and I have a PC. I bought an external harddrive so I can do my work at home on the PC version of our school programs. As it turns out I completely forgot that Mac uses FAT, whereas Windows XP uses NTFS.

I have my external (1 TB) converted to a FAT (MBR) type partition so that I can use it at school, but my PC won't recognize it. I tried formatting with the "journaled" FAT. No avail, I tried with the MS-DOS MBR FAT, still no avail.

I've never had this problem before having never touched a mac prior to 4 months ago (and I despise them). Any solutions on how I can get both machines to recognize my external drive would be great.

04-22-2009, 10:06 AM
I used MacFUSE to get my external working on my mac. It works great and I can use it fine with my xp box.


04-22-2009, 10:17 AM
Are you trying to format the hard drive on the PC?

Can you get anyone from your school who has a Mac to Format your external Hard drive? From what i know you need to Format the external HD on a mac..

04-22-2009, 11:24 AM
The external was formatted with a mac using two seperate attempts. The first attempt being a OS "Journaled" partition. and failed. The second attempt was done with MS-DOS (MBR) and failed.

I can't run MacFUSE on the computer at school. They will not install it here. Also, I have no problem getting the mac to read the drive. It's windows XP that will not read the FAT system in any format.

I was told to get MacDRIVE mirror for the PC. I'll give that a try, but keep the suggestions coming guys. I need this working asap, I have some pretty important projects coming up that I can't do without this :(

04-22-2009, 11:40 AM
Could just bypass the drive all together and use Dropbox (https://www.getdropbox.com/referrals/NTQyODg5Mzk)
Store files you want to use at work or home in the folder, its autosync'd to the server and to any computer you have the box on + there's a web interface if you can't install.
Watch the video tutorial.
If you dont have this program yet, you should get it.

04-22-2009, 12:09 PM
Format it to FAT32. That should solve it. In a family of PC's, I'm the only Mac. :) FAT32 works on any of the computers in my house.

From a Mac computer:
- In "Applications" open "Disk Utility"
- Select the drive in question and click the "Erase" tab
- Under "Volume Format" change it to "MS-DOS File System"
- Click "Erase" button.
- Enjoy the freedom of not being bound to any specific OS system!

If you want, I can sell you my FAT32 hard drive...


04-23-2009, 12:21 AM
I originally had the drive formatted to FAT32, and it didn't work.

However, I believe that was because I formatted it from windows to FAT32, but didn't work. I guess Mac was a dirty snob and decided it had to do it. It works now. Thanks.

One other side note, do you notice any speed issues on the Mac side of things? For example. while in journaled partition, 200gb took about 60 minutes Via USB transfer. But while in MS-DOS partition the same 200gb took almost 6 hours. Thankfully thats the only somewhat large sized folder I have to put on in the near future.

04-23-2009, 12:43 AM
Yeah... Windows has a tough time making nice FAT32 partitions on its own. FAT32 also isn't the greatest for huge files, regardless of what OS you use, so it will take you a while to transfer huge files on to. I once tried to back up 80 gb of data from my hard drive to a FAT32 drive. I had to leave my Mac on overnight to get the job done!

You could always try finding extensions for your PC to read HFS+ (Mac OS Journaled) drives if a 6 hour wait is too much.

Out of curiosity, how is it that your files are 200 gb? What programs are you working with? That's so huge!

04-23-2009, 04:57 AM
I'm going to school to be an audio engineer, working with pro tools doing 3 hour sessions of HD audio in 7.1 channels, plus a video file to marry picture to sound makes huge files. 200 gb is small for the most part. But this was a file I had to take outside the school to get my work done.

Then adding in compositions from cubase and logic, into protools makes it even bigger... gets kinda silly.

04-23-2009, 06:13 PM
Both Windows and Mac should support FAT and FAT32. But these file systems are quite dated and don't handle large files very well.

You can purchase a Windows driver that provides support for HFS+ filesystems. One such product is MacDrive.

In my opinion, the best way of handling this would be to install MacFUSE + ntfs-3g. These are both free software packages and fairly easy to install.