file systems and Mac OSX

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file systems and Mac OSX

Postposted on Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:02 pm

I am thinking about leaving Windows and picking up an iMac within the next few weeks. I just bought a 1TB external drive that I need to format for me to at least store if not transfer data from my Windows XP PC to my future iMac. My question is this: Can Mac OSX read NTFS volumes, or does it have to be FAT32? FAT32 is less efficient than NTFS and I would rather not have to use that to transition out of Windows into OSX. I will be using a Firewire 400 connection since the WD MyBook 1TB I have purchased does not have a network connection at all.

Thanks for your advice. I may end up using the MyBook as the HW component of Time Machine, which if I read the forums correctly, requires HFS+ in its own partition.
Laptop: HP Pavilion 17-e016dx. AMD A8-5550M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 8550G integrated video, 17.3" display, 1600*900 (HD+) resolution, SD card reader, Windows 8.1 (DL Classic Shell)
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Re: file systems and Mac OSX

Postposted on Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:48 pm

OS X can read NTFS, and if you get the NTFS-3g driver, it can also write to NTFS (though write performance sucks compared to Windows, and without the driver it reads much faster).

http://www.ntfs-3g.org/

You're right that Time Machine needs an HFS+ partition.
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Re: file systems and Mac OSX

Postposted on Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:30 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:OS X can read NTFS, and if you get the NTFS-3g driver, it can also write to NTFS (though write performance sucks compared to Windows, and without the driver it reads much faster).

http://www.ntfs-3g.org/

You're right that Time Machine needs an HFS+ partition.


Thanks very much. That will make my decision a LOT easier.
Laptop: HP Pavilion 17-e016dx. AMD A8-5550M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 8550G integrated video, 17.3" display, 1600*900 (HD+) resolution, SD card reader, Windows 8.1 (DL Classic Shell)
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Re: file systems and Mac OSX

Postposted on Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:59 am

What I would do is this:
1a: If you aren't going to have individual files larger than 4gb, then format half the drive fat32.
1b: If you are, then format half ntfs
2: when you get the mac, format the remaining half to HFS+ and copy the data from the first half
3: Delete the half created in step 1 and expand the HFS to the whole disk.

But that's just me. Do you need all 1TB of space right now, or is 500GB enough for the migration?
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Re: file systems and Mac OSX

Postposted on Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:49 am

That's dangerous : you're really going to suggest allowing a disk partitioning software to play with the drive without a backup? If you have a backup, you might as well blow away the partitions right and let Disk Utility do whatever formatting you need after the fact, and then restore your backup. If the data is important to you, copy it to the internal drive, re-partition, and copy it back.

I wouldn't do this in any environment, irrespective of the OS, if the data is important to you.
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Re: file systems and Mac OSX

Postposted on Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:53 am

derFunkenstein wrote:That's dangerous : you're really going to suggest allowing a disk partitioning software to play with the drive without a backup? If you have a backup, you might as well blow away the partitions right and let Disk Utility do whatever formatting you need after the fact, and then restore your backup. If the data is important to you, copy it to the internal drive, re-partition, and copy it back.

I wouldn't do this in any environment, irrespective of the OS, if the data is important to you.

To each his own. I've done a handful of resizes using various tools and so far they've worked flawlessly. I can certainly understand your hesitation though.
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Re: file systems and Mac OSX

Postposted on Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:08 am

eh, fair point, that it depends on your preference.

If that's what you want to do, I need to make a change to your suggestion, though: The partition you want to make HFS+ (and then extend) needs to be the first partition of the drive - the commandline tool that extends partitions can only go towards the end of the drive (kinda like Vista's partition extender), and iPartition is kinda expensive for this one-time use. But it does seem to work; I used it once a long time back (when 10.3 was the current OS) and it managed to not completely destroy my data (though I did have that data burned to DVD just in case).

edit: one other good reason to re-partition in OSX is that you can use the GUID partition map. That allows you to install OS X to an external drive, should you choose, and boot from it. A real OS X DVD won't install to a drive (even with an HFS+ partition) unless it's GUID on an Intel Mac (or Apple Partition Map drives on a PPC Mac - however an Intel Mac will still boot APM partitions, so if you want a universally-bootable drive, partition it and install OS X on a PPC Mac, and you could move that universal bootable drive to any Mac).
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Re: file systems and Mac OSX

Postposted on Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:37 am

Yeah, that is a good consideration.
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Re: file systems and Mac OSX

Postposted on Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:00 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:What I would do is this:
1a: If you aren't going to have individual files larger than 4gb, then format half the drive fat32.
1b: If you are, then format half ntfs
2: when you get the mac, format the remaining half to HFS+ and copy the data from the first half
3: Delete the half created in step 1 and expand the HFS to the whole disk.

But that's just me. Do you need all 1TB of space right now, or is 500GB enough for the migration?


I will most likely use about 400GB or so for the migration. I would rather use NTFS than FAT32 since the former is more efficient with HDD space (and none of my files are larger than 4GB). The rest will be used for HFS+ for Time Machine on my future Macs (one MacBook and one iMac) as well as other backup files from Mac-land. I also do not intend to delete the NTFS partition since it would simply be easier to use the external drive as storage.
Laptop: HP Pavilion 17-e016dx. AMD A8-5550M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 8550G integrated video, 17.3" display, 1600*900 (HD+) resolution, SD card reader, Windows 8.1 (DL Classic Shell)
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Re: file systems and Mac OSX

Postposted on Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:54 pm

http://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/

^ Never used this before, but Smith-Micro (makers of StuffIt) sent me an email with a 25% off discount ($30 instead of $40). Reviews are pretty good, better than NTFS-3g.
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