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I'm looking to format an external hard drive for use exclusively Mac OS X (for use with the time machine feature), but the Mac that I'm using is too slow to format the entire harddrive.

Considering I own a PC that's much faster than that, is there any way I could use Linux or Windows to format it for Mac OS X?

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Why would the Mac be too slow to format a hard drive? –  slhck Jul 2 '11 at 21:47
    
@slhck Because it's an iMac G4 (quite old). (Much like this: flickr.com/photos/larsa/3333151930) –  leeand00 Jul 2 '11 at 22:24
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I thought the speed a harddrive is formatted at relied more upon the cabling/data transfer than the speed of the system... –  Vervious Jul 3 '11 at 0:00
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@Nano8Blazex You're right, the ports on the iMac are USB 1.1 –  leeand00 Jul 3 '11 at 3:27

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

OS X uses HFS+ as the file format for external disks. Note that Apple only supplies read-only drivers for Windows, which means that there's no easy way to write.

However, there are a couple of commercial tools to format as HFS+ using Windows:

TransMac

TransMac for Windows can open Macintosh format disk drives, flash drives, CD/DVD/Blu-ray media, high density diskettes, dmg and sparseimage files. [...] Format disks for use on Mac

MacDrive

MacDrive™ 8 allows Windows users to open, edit and save files on Mac disks. [...] What if you need to format a Mac disk or create and delete partitions on a Mac drive? You can, using the powerful MacDrive Disk Manager.

Both offer free trials though.

That being said, I don't see why a Mac would be too slow to format a drive. Be on the safe side and just do it on the Mac, even if it takes a while longer.

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Not that I can think of, off-hand. But, even if there was, considering this is going to be your backup, why take a chance?

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