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I am attempting to transfer a 6.1 GB file between a Ubuntu Linux 9.10 and a Mac OSX 10.6. As the file size is over 4GB I can't use Fat32 and I cant seem to format the USB drive to NTFS in either OS. Is there another file type that is read/writable for both OS?

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4 Answers

So, after searching the Ubuntu forums, i seem to have answered my own question. athough Ubuntu's Disk Utility does not have the ability to format to NTFS. GParted does. Thanks for the looks!

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Disk Utility can format to NTFS (or at least on Ubuntu 10.04 claims it can). did you check DU, then install Gparted? installing Gparted probably pulls in the ntfsprogs package (that's what allows Gparted to do it); i don't think it's part of the default install. if you haven't checked DU since installing Gparted, check again and see if it can format NTFS now. –  quack quixote Jun 4 '10 at 20:14
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Ubuntu provides a mkfs.ntfs aka mkntfs command in the ntfsprogs package. See the manpage or the Linux-NTFS wiki.

There also seems to be a port of ntfsprogs to Mac OS X through DarwinPorts.

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For a one off large file transfer you would probably as well just using the split and cat commands to split up your file and rejoin it, rather than reformat your USB drive.

It wouldn't take many repetitions of this procedure before you are back to looking at reformatting however...

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You can use dd to cut the file:

$ dd bs=1000000 count=4000 if=input-file of=output-file-1
# bs: block size, here 1MB (not 1MiB)
# count=4000: only read 4GB
# if: input file
# of: output file

$ dd bs=1000000 skip=4000 if=input-file of=output-file-2
# skip=4000: skip 4GB already read above

# only two pieces needed for a  6.1GB file

Then reassemble:

$ mv output-file-1 reassembled-file  # rather than copy
$ cat output-file-2 >>reassembled-file
# make sure you use >> (append) instead of > (overwrite)

If you need to do this often, I'd either write a script to cut and reassemble, use an archive program which can handle that automatically, or—more likely—format the USB drive to not be FAT32. I have a 160GB USB HD formatted as ext3 and it works fine, even though it's starting to show its age by being too small.

But if you only need to do this once or otherwise don't want to reformat, this works.

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