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Old 07-17-2006, 05:35 PM   #1
davidw
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Windows/Mac Compatible multi partition external hard drive

I bought a 250 gb external Hard drive. It was originally formatted to FAT32 which wont work for me. I want to be able to put files that are over 4gb on to the drive.

I would format it for macintosh computers but then I wouldent be able to use it on a windows computer, Which also dosent work for me. i need to be able to download stuff on a windows computer and put it on the drive.

If i Made it multiple partitions with one partition a 1gb MS-DOS formatted disk would the windows computer know how to read it. WIndows computers dont even support multiple partitions do they? they always just have one disk.
Perhaps I would need to partion it with the MS-DOS partiton first?
THanks,
David.
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Old 07-17-2006, 05:42 PM   #2
trevor
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Do you need to use it on just one specific Windows computer? Or on many?

If you only need to use it on one (or a small number of Windows computers, all known to you), then I would suggest formatting the drive as HFS+ and buying MacDrive to install on the Wintels.

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Old 07-17-2006, 06:23 PM   #3
davidw
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im going to be using it on a bunch of random windows computers for downloading. Most of which I wont have administrator acess to install anything.
Do you know if the Multiple partition Idea I had would work?
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Old 07-17-2006, 06:37 PM   #4
voldenuit
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There's nothing that would stop you from creating two partitions on that drive, one HFS+ and the other FAT32 using Disk Utility.
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Old 07-17-2006, 08:46 PM   #5
davidw
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Quote:
There's nothing that would stop you from creating two partitions on that drive, one HFS+ and the other FAT32 using Disk Utility.

oh, I know that. Here's what IM asking.
I made it two partitions. One HFS+ and the other FAT32, that worked great.

When I plug it into a windows comptuer is it going to load up correctly and just Let me access the just FAT32 partition of the drive?
Is that going to work?
or will it just not work at on a windows computer if I have Multiple partitions? Windows computers only allow one partition, Correct?
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Old 07-17-2006, 11:35 PM   #6
davidw
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ok, When I partitioned it from disk utility when I added the FAT32 Partition it changed the opitions for the disk from
Apple Partition Map to Master Boot Record
Which it claims that its to use the disk to start up DOS and Windows Computers, or to use with devices that requrie a DOS-compatable or Windows-Compatible Partition
Does this mean that it will be using a multiple partition format that is compatible with windows? Will all FAT32 Partitions show up?
Does anyone know about Mac/Windows compatible Partition Mapings?
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Old 07-18-2006, 02:40 AM   #7
davidw
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I found some information on this here
http://www.macosxhints.com/article.p...30613121738812
It seems that this is quite a biger issue then I thought it was.......
If only Microsoft wasent so stupid to make such a shitty Disk format that only allows files less than 4gb... what a mess.
Then people had to go using it to make it the standard in disk formating.
perhaps i Will just format it with only the mac file system, then make an oath to never touch a windows computer ever again (even if it has fast internet and I want to download files for my macintosh compters benifit)
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Old 07-18-2006, 02:58 AM   #8
NB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidw
Does this mean that it will be using a multiple partition format that is compatible with windows? Will all FAT32 Partitions show up?

It IS going to work. As you said, choose Master Boot Record as the partition map type, and create a FAT32 partition and a HFS+ (or whatever) partition. The FAT32 partition will then show up on just every system, while the HFS+ partition will only mount on Mac.

You may want to avoid to create a FAT32 partition of more than 32 GB. Microsoft does not "officially" support this, even if the FAT32 partition can theorically handle this.

For the record, Windows handles multiple partitions, just not on "removable medias" and floppys.
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Old 07-18-2006, 08:09 AM   #9
JDV
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This isn't quite fair

Microsoft DOES have a file system that permits large files, it's just that it happens to be NTFS. Why not complain that Apple doesn't do a better job of supporting this more advanced file system? Clearly, neither company goes out of its way to ensure compatibility with the other, and neither company can predict with absolute certainty what the next generation of users is going to come to expect. That's why we call them "competitors".

At the time the FAT32 system was conceived (more than a decade ago), DRIVES of 4 GB were not available except by spanning drives in servers, much less files of that size, so this need was probably not at the top of their list of priorities. It's major advantage was support for larger disks and for long file names that FAT16 did not support. Video editing on a normal desktop computer was not realistic given the processing power required.

Now, it isn't that I don't understand your frustration, nor that I don't understand the tendency to blame Microsoft for every problem, but the fact is that moving between two fundamentally different platforms is ALWAYS going to have some problems and trade-offs. That we're able to do it at all is a little bit surprising. There are always workarounds (compression, file splitting, etc.) that can make this stuff work--it just isn't as transparant as we'd like it to be.

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Old 07-18-2006, 12:15 PM   #10
davidw
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NB, JDV you guys were a big help
and really I think My problem was solved. Im going to have a 2gb Windows partition and a 231gb mac partition. As long as windows WIll read that FAT32 file system I will be fine. I really wish i had a windows computer to test this on though. I almost dont want to put files on the disk yet until I can test it on a windows computer. because if it dosent im going to want to get that windows file system off of my disk, And I would want to get it of Master boot record.

NB, You said that Microsoft dosent support Multiple partition disks on Removable Media.
now im never going to need to do this, but just so I understand a bit more..
If it is going to work with master boot record with one FAT 32 partition would it not work if I had multiple FAT 32 partitions? because thats where im confused with the windows Disk system.

JDV, you are right. I read about this NTFS system a bit and it seems that that would be an perfect set up. Will a macintosh computer not read a disk formated as NTFS? Its hard for me to say it, But its really time that Apple and microsoft started working together for once. If they both worked hard on one file system they could make it perfect, and then we could have a flawless multiplatform file system.
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Old 07-18-2006, 12:18 PM   #11
davidw
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it took me hours googling to find that one article on this
http://www.macosxhints.com/article.p...30613121738812
and it dident really help.
I hope this thread gets indexed on google to save some other people some time.
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Old 07-18-2006, 12:53 PM   #12
tlarkin
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HFS once was in the same boat as FAT16/32 and has evolved into HFS+ and HFS+ journaled.

The really cool thing about FAT file systems is that linux, unix, windows, and mac os x can all read and write to them. Unfortuneately there are draw backs like file size limit, not as many bits/sector, and it is less secure than other file systems.

Your best bet is to use a third party app like trevor mentioned, or set up a linux box running a samba server and use SMB over a network if that is possible for your set up.
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Old 07-18-2006, 12:55 PM   #13
JDV
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I THINK an external drive can be partitioned...

It is definitely the case that SOME external drives (SCSI drives, for example) can have multiple partitions. Only recently have USB and FireWire-type drives been common on PCs, but I think they are read as hard-disk drives and can be partitioned normally. So I see no reason right off to believe that external hard drives couldn't be partitioned. However, NB is correct about ZIP drives and floppy drives. They are identified as removable media and can't be partitioned.

Windows has no intrinsic problem with FAT32 partitions greater than 32GB; it's just that the Windows format command (utility) won't CREATE a partition greater than 32 GB. That is a limitation on the utility, not on the OS. There are a number of 3rd party utilities which let you create FAT32 partions up to 2 TB. So, in theory, a FAT32 partions created on the Mac of 200GB will be seen without problems in Windows. Now, there IS debate on what I say next, so I'm not willing to bet the farm on it, but it is my OPINION that you are better off formatting the FAT32 partition using a Windows machine, NOT Macs version. There seems to be a subtle difference somewhere and I believe there are instances where a FAT32 volume created by the Mac will have some problems being read on a Windows machine, but I know of no problems of a FAT32 partition created by Windows being read by a Mac. But some on this forum have disputed this, and I can't be certain that I'm right.

The Mac can READ an NTFS volume, but cannot write to it directly. (It can if the NTFS volume is a network volume and the server has the right protocols installed). It WOULD have been nice for all of the players to get together on a consistent file system, but they didn't. When IBM and Microsoft were "partners" on the development of OS/2, NT would use either NTFS or HPFS, the file system owned by IBM. When they broke their partnership, Microsoft stopped any support of HPFS, which was a much better file system than NTFS. Of course, the best technology doesn't always win, we know, and when IBM's OS/2 failed to catch on, HPFS disappeared, for the most part. It isn't clear to me why Apple doesn't find a way to incorporate native support for NTFS, but possibly Microsoft is being obstructionist about it, I just don't know.

Joe VanZandt
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Old 07-18-2006, 01:23 PM   #14
tlarkin
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an external drive can be paritioned for fat and hfs but not for hfs and ntfs, at least not that I have ever found. unless there is some sort of third party app that allows this.
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Old 07-18-2006, 01:33 PM   #15
JDV
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I didn't mean to comment on that, actually...

I was actually referring back to post #8 (I think) by NB regarding whether a USB HDD would be treated as removeable media by Windows. Whether an HFS+ and NTFS partition can co-exist without a lot of help from other utilities, I honestly don't know. But I see no reason that one couldn't have (if desirable) multiple FAT32 partitions on the external disk, though I've never really TRIED it, so I'm not entirely sure.

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Old 07-18-2006, 01:52 PM   #16
davidw
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"But I see no reason that one couldn't have (if desirable) multiple FAT32 partitions on the external disk, though I've never really TRIED it, so I'm not entirely sure."
Im sure I could. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Im just going to try to google some information About how windows handles Multiple partition disks. pehaps I will be able to find a article about this "Master Boot Record" partition map also.
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Old 07-18-2006, 01:55 PM   #17
tlarkin
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usually any disk that is partitioned will have a primary and secondary partition, primary partitions will carry a boot sector incase you load an OS on it. At least i think thats how it operates, i haven't really looked into it for a while.
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Old 07-18-2006, 02:20 PM   #18
JDV
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Well, maybe it works a little different in Windows.......

You must have a primary partition where the boot files reside, of course, but you may have as many additional partitions as needed (and drive letters available to assign). At least, that's how I recall it. Otherwise, Windows machines could not partition drives greater than 64 GB and be able to use the full capacity of the drive, which would be a strange limitation. Perhaps not that much stranger than some of the other limits imposed by FAT32, but strange nonetheless. Pre-Linux Novell also permitted multiple partitions. The first had to be a DOS partition for the NOS files to reside and launch, then the drive was divided into volumes, which were logically the same as a partition. There was, so far as I know, no particular limit to the number of volumes that could be created. I haven't worked with Novell since it became a Linux-based OS, but I doubt that this feature changed much.

I once used a utility called System Commander which allowed one to determine at boot time which OS to load. The OS had to be able to use FAT, I suppose, but one could load several different versions of Windows, DOS, and UNIX onto the same machine and decide at boot time which one to use. It was not required, but it was possible, to place the system files (but not the boot files, obviously) on separate partitions if one wished. Just recalling the old days now, although the product still exists.

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Old 07-18-2006, 02:34 PM   #19
davidw
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I havent tryed it on a windows computer yet but with what NB said im fine. Just wanted to see what you think about that JDV
Quote:
It IS going to work. As you said, choose Master Boot Record as the partition map type, and create a FAT32 partition and a HFS+ (or whatever) partition. The FAT32 partition will then show up on just every system, while the HFS+ partition will only mount on Mac.

If what he said is correct then Awesome! You agree with this also right?
I was just hoping to hear more about this master boot record partition maping. Do you know anything about it?
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Old 07-18-2006, 03:19 PM   #20
voldenuit
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You'll probably have more luck investigating how exactly Windows deals with external drives on a Windows-centric forum.

Just avoid to overemphasize the HFS part to get nice answers...

Note that OS X has NTFS read support in case that's helpful.
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