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So I bought a new 500GB external hard drive. I have a Windows 7 and a OSX 10.5.2 Leopard (Which I'm very new to)

I've heard formatting the drive to Fat32 would make it compatible with Windows and Mac, I used DOS on Windows and it took hours to format the darn thing.

After that, it was just unrecognizable on Windows 7! I ejected, and restarted the pc, nothing. It shows up in explorer, but I can't open it and everytime I do, Windows asks to format it.

The only format options are NTFS and exFAT! And like an idiot I formatted it to exFat, now it's usable on Windows but unrecognizable on the Mac!

What are my options? I want a Mac-Windows compatible drive! And I want to be able to format it in less than an hour!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

This is a very common issue when using Windows and OS X.

There are a few options depending on your system configuration. If you are running Windows 7 on a Mac (via bootcamp / parallels) formatting as NTFS would suffice. However because you even asked the question I am assuming that you are running two separate machines.

  1. If you plan on using the HDD on more Macs than PCs: Format the HDD on using Mac's Disk Utility as Mac OS Extended and purchase Macdrive to run on the Windows side. I have been using Macdrive for about 2 years now and have had great luck with it.

  2. If you plan on using the HDD on more Windows machines: Format the HDD as NTFS using Windows or Mac and install NTFS for Mac($20 and supports Lion) or NTFS 3G(free but does not support lion). Before choosing a NTFS driver for OSX, do some research because there have been read/write performance issues on some versions.

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thanks, yes I have two machines, I'm going with option (1) since I bought the drive for the mac, I have another drive for the windows machine =P I really thought I could have formatted it for FAT32 and used it on both machines like I do with my flash drive, but I didn't know about the 32 GB limit! – gideon Oct 10 '11 at 20:29

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