Can i use the disk for both::: backup (only on mac) and file sharing (on both Windows and Mac)?

HI :cry:

i have recently bought a hard disk: my passport essential 500GB to back up my data on my MAc book pro snow leopard.  When i first plugged in the disk it asked if i want to use it as a time machine, and ten to reformat it, which i did. I backed up everything on my mac, no problem. but it cant be opened on Windows. i have read to make a partition in the disk to make 1 part for the time machine (i thought 300gb) and the other for file sharing ( 200gb) . … ***and that is what i want to use the WD for both backup and file sharing on both Windows and Mac*** now how do i do that,?

  1. which is most suitable for partition: Apple Partition MAp , Master Boot record or GUID partition table —>> if i want to open on both windows and MAc will that type of partition let me open it…

  2.  i have also heard of reformatting  it  to FAT 32 solve my problem…but what is the 4GB per file limitation? like for example i have a file with videos in it…which are like more than 4gb…??? i dont understand…  

any way please help me if there is some way i can use the disk for both backup (only on mac) and file sharing (on both Windows and Mac)

thank you…God Bless :smiley:

The FAT32 is the format that works for both Windows and Mac, unfortunately has a 4GB limitation per file, meaning that high quality DVD movies or any other files larger than 4GB will not get transfered. If the folder is over 4 GB but is full with pictures or files under 4 GB it should work.

  1. Apple Partition is for older G4/G5 Macs, if you have a Mac with Time Machine it should have an Intel processor, so you should use GUID partition table. However, both of them are Mac-only, Master Boot Record is the one that works with PC and Mac but does not work with Time Machine.

  2. FAT32 will let you use the drives with the 2 systems, but it does not do automatic backups and has an individual file size limit of 4GBs. This means that ig you have a folder with hundreds of files that add over 4GBs then the folder can be copied just fine, but if you have a single file that is ver 4GB then FAT32 won’t take it. It is also slow, unstable and unreliable compared to HFS+ (Mac only) and NTFS (Windows only).

Also, here are a few things to consider if you want any drive to work on the 2 systems:

*NTFS is the best format for Windows but it’s read-only on Macs;

*The best File System (format) for Macs is HFS+, but it will only work on Macs and nothing else;

*You can format a drive as FAT32, which would allow it to work on BOTH Windows and Mac, but it won’t do automatic backups, won’t take files larger than 4GB and will have a high risk of data corruption;

*You can format it as exFAT, but only works on Macs 10.6.5+ and PCs running Vista SP1 or later, but does not have any of the drawbacks as FAT32, so you can do automatic backups on both systems (Then again, it needs updated computers to use that configuration);

*You can have a drive as NTFS to allow to work on any PC and then install on your Mac a free app from the Apple website called NTFS-3G, which allows your Mac to fully use (read and write) to NTFS and also do automatic backups with no restrictions on both systems, but since it is done using the NTFS-3G software, this configuration will only work on YOUR Mac and the others will only read from the drive (But they won’t be able to add files).

*You can have the drive as HFS+ to allow you to use it on any Mac and then install on Windows a program called  HFSExplorer (Free), which allows you to read (see and copy out) drives formatted for Mac (But not write, so you can’t add files) or you can install MacDrive (NOT free), which is a software able to allow full HFS+ integration (Read and write) on a PC, meaning that it is the exact opposite to NTFS-3G. However the same rules apply, only PCs with this software will see drives formatted for Macs.

thank you for the info… FAT32 is not an option for me.

i made two partitions 1- which is 300gb Mac OS Extended just for time machine on my mac only.

and 2- exFAT which is for both - file sharing… 

tho i really wish there was a way i can also access my backed up stuff on a PC…and i wish i knew about this before i bought the disk… 

thanx for the help deeply appreciated .