Just don't reformat for pc?

Can someone confirm that I’m reading the right information from a bunch of previous posts?

We bought a My Book Studio for a student to complete a video project.  He used it with a mac, and gave it back to me with all the files on it.  However, our department is almost exclusively pc’s.  I would like to watch and use the videos, and would like to back up the files to our server.  It sounds like the only way I can do this is by finding someone in the department with a mac.  It also sounds like my safest bet is going to be to keep the drive formatted as it is, for mac, and not even consider using it with a pc (or back and forth).  We may have someone else use the files for another project in the future and it would most likely be using final cut on a mac, so we’re better off leaving things as is.

Does this sound right? 

I guess I’m vaguely annoyed that we spent a fair amount of money for something I can’t use with my own computer, and that has quite a bit of space left on it that I could have used for backing up other things.    Any suggestions for ways to work around this?  Or do I just need to strike up a friendship with someone who uses a mac and is out of the office now and then?

There are a couple of issues to consider in using an external drive between a PC and Mac.  One, in order to do so, you must reformat the drive in a FAT 32 file format - which you can do using the Mac under MS DOS partition scheme.  And it should format the entire drive.  However, you will have a 4 GB file size limitation with FAT 32. 

The second issue to consider, is that eventually you will corrupt the drive partition and/or files passing them between Mac’s and PC’s.  So, in order to pass the files back and forth between the two types of OS’s, you should always have a back up of those files for when they get corrupted.  Now, that corruption potential should diminish if you’re only going to be using those files on PC’s afterwards.  Nevertheless, always keep a backup of your data.

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