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Note: I can access a flash disk drive formatted as exFAT. Just not my external HDD. So, you can imagine I have installed the exFAT update for winXP.

My external HDD was formatted in Mac OS X as exFAT. I'm able to access it via Windows 7 and 8, but not thru WinXP. When I go to Disk Management in WinXP, it shows the volume as a GPT Protective Partition without a logical letter.

What should I do to be able to access my external HDD via WinXP?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Windows XP 32-bit cannot access GPT-formatted drives to my knowledge, thus to be able to use it with a Windows XP computer, you would reformat it in MBR. This can be done in Mac OS with Disk Utility (Under the "partition" tab), or from Disk Management in XP (I believe called "initialize"), and will destroy all data on the drive.

If you cannot reformat the drive, some products claim to allow mounting of GPT-formatted drives in Windows XP, though due to their cost I can't test or vouch for any of them.

From Microsoft:

GPT disks are supported only by Windows XP 64-Bit Edition. You cannot move GPT disks to computers running the 32-bit versions of Windows XP.

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I remember that I was able to access it via WinXP to make a backup for my uncle. I'm not sure, but, I think the issue seems to have started after using it with Win8. – Karolinger Oct 14 '12 at 16:20
I guess I will have to see when I have access to a Mac. – Karolinger Oct 14 '12 at 16:24
My memory fooled me, I used my exFAT formatted USB flash drive to make the backup. So, yes, you are completely correct. I have read that Windows XP x64 edition can access GPT but only for data. – Karolinger Oct 15 '12 at 1:47

exFAT was introduced with Vista SP1, so that's why you can't read it under XP. You can't convert exFAT but you can update XP to add support for exFAT.

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I have updated my post to point out that I have already installed the exFAT update. And I still can't access my external HDD. – Karolinger Oct 14 '12 at 16:04
I assume you've already rebooted, so apparently the update doesn't work as advertised. That's surprising but possible, I guess. In that case, I would copy the drive, reformat it as NTFS and write it back under Win7. – Nicole Hamilton Oct 14 '12 at 16:13
If you read my edit, you would see that I can read a flash disk drive formatted as exFAT, just not my external HDD. – Karolinger Oct 14 '12 at 16:19
If you read my comment, I would copy the drive, reformat it and rewrite it under Win7. It's possible that Apple's implementation differs in some unexpected way from Microsoft's and that it's compatible with Win7 but not the XP update. – Nicole Hamilton Oct 14 '12 at 16:20

Getting rid of GPT protective function on a Flash Drive. The use of Diskpart and list drive did not work for me on a 128GB flash drive which shows up in disk management. The GPT protection was implemented when I used the flash drive with an iMac (OSX 10.6). The solution after trying {diskpart and list drive which did not show the flash drive, as well as the EaseUSPartition Master (free) - it could not do it and tried to sell lots of other stuff):

  • Go back to the iMac. Bring up Disk Utilities -> Erase. Allow it to erase and then jank out the drive before it formats it for the iMac: that is right after unmounting of the disk is completed.
  • The iMac can no longer read that drive.
  • Back on the PC with Windows XP, go back to disk management. The drive shows up. Right click and select Format. The disk is formatted and results in a healthy drive for Windows again.
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This is not the same scenario as the OP described. – HopelessN00b Jul 26 '14 at 5:11

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