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Default Formatting an external hard drive?

January 21st, 2015, 02:46
Hi everyone.

I have a question before I go trading for a 1 TB external hard drive. This person tells me that the hard drive has been configured to use with a Mac computer, but that it is possible to reconfigure it to work with a Windows PC. So, how would one go about doing that? Is it a simple format and you're good to go? Or is there some crazy computer hackery that I have to get into to get this to work?

Any advice appreciated. Thank you.
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January 21st, 2015, 02:49
Its very easy to do Fluent and since I'm not one to write long replies here is a link to help you with how to format external hard drives. I hope it helps.

Link - http://www.wikihow.com/Format-an-External-Hard-Drive

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January 21st, 2015, 02:52
Hmm, so it seems that it makes no difference which type of computer it was configured for. Great! Thanks for the help, Couch.
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January 21st, 2015, 03:15
My understanding is that you just can't use it windows until you reformat, because it used NAT instead of FATS or something like this.
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January 21st, 2015, 04:00
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Hmm, so it seems that it makes no difference which type of computer it was configured for. Great! Thanks for the help, Couch.
Sometimes it does matter, and you might bump into difficulties. You can format the partitions on a hard disk, but different OSs can also use different types of partitioning. In the past, Windows often didn't like disks with partition maps from OSX or Linux. You may have to do another step, so if you have trouble, post again rather than thinking you're doing something wrong.

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January 21st, 2015, 14:50
Step 1 - buy the drive, doesn't matter what it was used for and where.

Step 2 - plug the drive into PC.

Step 3 - if windows can't "understand" what format is on the drive it'll automatically suggest you to format the drive so do it.


Doesn't matter what external type of rewritable media we're talking, it can be flash drive, HDD, SDD or whatever else.

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January 21st, 2015, 15:36
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Step 3 - if windows can't "understand" what format is on the drive it'll automatically suggest you to format the drive so do it.
If Windows doesn't understand the format on a partition, it will do as you say, and offer you the option to reformat it.

But, if the disk is partitioned using a non-Windows scheme, it won't even see the partitions to offer you that option. You have to use fdisk to create a new MBR, then create new partitions, and then format them.

This link shows the different partition schemes that Macs can create - only the MBR type will be recognised by windows. If Fluent is lucky, the disk will already be MBR, but it could easily be one of the others.

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January 21st, 2015, 16:18
Ripper, that's probably what the case is with this drive I'm considering. The owner told me it was configured for Macs, so I'm guessing I will have to take that extra step to create new partitions and format them. Not a problem, really.

Thanks for the help everyone!
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January 21st, 2015, 16:22
It won't be a problem, but if you do need to do so, it might have to be done from the command line using fdisk. I don't think the GUI disk manager can do that really low level stuff.

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January 21st, 2015, 16:24
I'll keep that in mind and post again when I have the drive in hand, if I decide to grab it.

It's $50 and a few years old but never used. It's a 1 TB external drive. I don't know anymore than that yet, have to ask for more details next time we speak.

I also have the option to pick up a Lacie Raid 0 1 TB drive, which is a bit nicer I guess, and it's priced $100. Also a few years old and never used. However, with the raid drives, I hear they are partitioned into 2 500GB partitions? If I record, say, a 750 GB file in one clean sweep, what will happen? It will stop recording at 500 GB , won't it?
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January 21st, 2015, 16:30
It depends on what they mean. If it is actually partitioned into 2 500gb drives, then yes, you'll be limited to maximum of 500gb on each.

More likely, what they mean is that it is comprised of two 500gb drives, but striped into one 1TB raid partition , in which case you will have the full 1TB to play with.

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January 21st, 2015, 16:31
Yeah, I just read that after searching a bit. I think I'll go with the raid 0 drive from Lacie.
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