I appreciate that my question is addressed in many other posts in some shape or form, but I still haven't been able to find any definitive answer. Advice would be appreciated.

I presently have Windows 10 and Mac OSX El Capitan. I would like to back up both Windows (using Acronis) and Mac (using CCC) to a single external 5tb hard drive. The hard drive shipped with an NTFS Paragon driver (version 11 - so not the latest one). As far as I can tell, the NTFS driver functions fine - but I don't really want to rely on it for backup purposes as I have read that there 'can' be issues with data corruption.

Is this true? Some posts say that NTFS is the best way to use an external HD with both OSX/WIN, other posts suggest that exFAT is the best filesystem, while there are also posts which suggest that HFS+ is the only way to go as OSX Time machine can backup to only HFS+. Adding to the confusion, many posts are several years old.

In short, I have a Paragon NTFS driver that works with my external HD. Should I use this? Or would it be better to either use exFAT or partition the drive with both filesystems?

If the last option is the best way to go - can anyone describe the best way of doing it? At present, I'm thinking to partition the drive in OSX, formatting 50% in HFS+ using disk utility, leaving 50% unformatted, and then format the remaining 50% in NTFS in Windows.

1 Answer 1


Time Machine is the confusion... if you're not going to be using Time Machine, then the best way to do it would be to format GUID[GPT] with two user partitions, one HFS+, the other NTFS.

Then CCC & Acronis can each see & use the drive as native, each to their own partition.

One note: CCC will offer to repartition to put a Recovery partition on the external drive it's just cloned to. Let it do that first before you switch to Windows, just in case it does anything that the NTFS partition doesn't like. [It shouldn't, but safest to do it that way]

That way, in case of disaster recovery you could boot easily to Mac from the external Recovery Partition to restore.
Windows might be more difficult; I've never had to do a disaster recovery to bootcamp on a 'split' drive. Obviously booting from an Acronis recovery USB wouldn't work, as it wouldn't be able to do the correct partitioning; you'd probably have to set up a fresh Boot Camp & 'import' the Acronis backup to it.

Alternatively - I've just bought this for myself but haven't had chance to give it a full workout - Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac claims to pretty much be able to do the whole lot. As I say, I haven't yet tested it so it's not really a recommendation, just something probably worth a look.

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