Both Mac & PC compatible portable hard drive

  CarrieGH 17:02 08 Apr 2013

Hi I'm looking for a portable hard drive that is fairly robust, stores at least 500GB or 1TB, and works for both Macs and PCs as I often have to transfer data between both Macs and PCs - ideally I'd also like it to be easy to back up. Thanks for your help CarrieGH

  bremner 17:20 08 Apr 2013

Any drive is Mac / PC compatable.

The format of the file system on the drive dictates which operating system can read and write to it.

  CarrieGH 17:53 08 Apr 2013

Thanks Bremner - but which portable hard drive doesn't need to be reformatted each time you connect to it a pc and then a mac? Some seem to state just MAC compatible, or PC compatible.

I've had problems in the past trying to connect my current Seagate external drive to Macs, which couldn't read it or see any data in it. Hence my need to make sure I get one that works at the same time for both Pcs and Macs.

Suggestions welcomed, please!

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:56 08 Apr 2013

Any drive is compatible for Mac or PC

its the format of the file system that is different

some drives come pre-formatted and therefore can only be read by the appropriate system hence Mac compatible or PC compatible.

You need to

  1. insert the USB drive into a USB port on the Mac. Double-click to open the "Applications" folder inside of the Mac's hard drive. Double-click to open the "Utilities" folder. Double-click to run the Disk Utility program that comes with the Mac.
  2. Click on the icon of the USB drive in the left column of the Disk Utility program. Select the "Erase" tab at the top of the Disk Utility program. Select "MS-DOS (FAT)" from the drop-down menu next to "Format." Name the USB drive in the open column below Format."
  3. Click on the "Erase" button at the lower right corner of the Disk Utility program. Click on the "Erase" button in the window that appears. Wait as Disk Utility formats the USB drive so that it can be used on both Macintosh computers and PCs.
  4. Quit the Disk Utility program when the USB drive has been formatted. Drag the icon of the USB drive from the desktop to the Trash icon. Remove the USB drive that has been formatted for use on Mac and PCs from the USB port of the Macintosh.
  bremner 21:47 08 Apr 2013

It is preferable to Format as Ex Fat rather than MS Dos Fat as it can be read by Macs and Windows from XP onwards. It allows larger file sizes essential if you are storing large video files.

  CarrieGH 19:18 09 Apr 2013

Thanks Fruit Bat and Bremner for both of your helps with this issue. I look forward to trying it out! Carrie

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