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I've got an Airport Extreme and an external USB Hard Drive formatted with NTFS. (And a LAN of Windows XP Machines.)

The drive works perfectly when connected directly to a PC.

When it's connected to the AE, however, the Airport Utility sees the drive and lists it in the Disks list, but the drive doesn't appear on the network (as near as I can tell.)

Can the AE handle NTFS formatted disks? The documentation is vague on that point.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

OSX doesn't support NTFS Formatting -> NTFS is not supported by AE.

FAT32 or HFS+ only

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Even though all the machines in the network are Windows oxes? – Electrons_Ahoy Jan 18 '10 at 4:36
yes, the OS of the client computers is irrelevant, as it is the host (the Airport Extreme) that can't handle NTFS. – Molly7244 Jan 18 '10 at 4:59

Airport Extreme obscures the filesystem of the drive with the transfer protocols it uses. Your best bet is to format it with HFS+ (so you can have files larger than 4GB). It will then share the data with all the Windows machines using Samba. If you happen to get a Mac in the future it will connect using AFP (Apple Filing Protocol). You can have Macs connect using Samba too but AFP is a better choice. I have an Airport Extreme at my house and I have to say that I was very disappointed with the Samba implementation. I kept getting connection drops to the shares no matter what Windows PC I used. I ended up setting up an Ubuntu server on an old PC and connected drives both internally and through USB to it. It works perfectly now.

Since you have all Windows boxes you will need to use Linux to format the drive to HFS+. You can get the latest Ubuntu LiveCD and do it with GParted.

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