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We have 1 mac user in a PC environment... and I have bought a 1TB WD external hard drive and need to format it so that both PC and Mac can read/write to it. Doing this from the mac should be easy, but I do not know where to format the drive from, and what is the best option to format it to.


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migrated from Sep 26 '09 at 16:48

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

Beside Paragons NTFS offering, there is also NTFS-3G, which implements NTFS as a FUSE (File System in User Space) driver and is free.

As long as you control all systems that need to read/write the disk and can make sure they have an NTFS driver installed (every MacOS since at least 10.4 can read but not write NTFS) , I would recommend going with NTFS as this is a much more stable and secure FS. FAT was never meant to be used on TB size FS sizes.

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+1 about sizes. FAT32 is limited to 2TB volume size, and 4GB file size. – Steve Folly Sep 26 '09 at 16:13
I'm using NTFS + NTFS-3G on osx with a 250GB external HDD and it's very slow on reading/caching and especially writing. Any tips to get decent speeds with NTFS-3G please ? – George Profenza Jan 8 '11 at 12:34

Use Disk Utility under /Applications/Utility. Select the device or existing volume on the left and select the 'Erase' tab. Choose the 'MS-DOS (FAT)' format.

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If you want to use the disk on both a Mac and "PC" then your best bet is to use FAT32. Most disks should already come formatted as such, but you can easily format it on a Windows machine if you need to. If you want to format it from the Mac, use Disk Utility from the /Applications/Utilities directory.

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As already stated, you can use FAT but if you prefer to use NTFS the MAC will need a suitable driver, such as the one from Paragon. I notice it's currently selling for about half price.

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