when i first got my WD External Hard drive, it was formatted for PC. I then found the instructions to format it to Mac but now whenever i connect it to a pc, it wont work. My question is if i am able to set my hard drive to a format in which it can work on both windows and mac.
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;
Otherwise, 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).
Also, 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.
Note: Credits to Pizza!
Before I use my WD external drive (Passport Essential 250 GB) I saw that the file format on my PC is NTFS based. I will be loaning my drive to my niece who has a Mac computer, will she need to download this NTFS-3G application so that she can upload the pictures to my drive? Her file will range from 50 to 80 GB… and I will need to be able to retrieve and upload the files from drive to my PC.
I saw that the file format on my PC is NTFS based. I will be loaning my drive to my niece who has a Mac computer, will she need to download this NTFS-3G application so that she can upload the pictures to my drive?
Yes. She’d be able to read it without NTFS-3g, but wouldn’t be able to write to the drive without it.