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extrenal hard drive - Mac/PC?

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brian47extrenal hard drive - Mac/PC?
by on Nov 29, 2007 at 2:19:28 pm

Hello all,

I have a new Macbook Pro on the way. I'm a PC user that's just jumped ship because of the Vista fiasco. I will be editing on the new MacBook with Adobe Video Collection on Windows XP/BootCamp (for now, until I upgrade to CS3 for Mac). I use an external harddrive for storage of my media files, and it's formatted NTFS. Will I be able to access these files on my Mac, running Windows? I will be editing with the same software on my PC as well, sometimes the same projects.

I plan to ditch the PC eventually and exclusively use Macs. I read that Macs are only compatible with the FAT32 format with its filesize restrictions. What do Mac users typically use if they need an external drive for large (video) files?

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zrb123Re: extrenal hard drive - Mac/PC?
by on Nov 29, 2007 at 2:52:31 pm

When booted from the Mac OS you can copy off a NTFS drive but you cannot write to it. So no saving back to that drive.

Both Windows and Mac can fully reed and write to a Fat32 drive, but there are severe limitations to using that format (speed, file size, and file name limitations).

I have heard that there may be a 3rd party software out there that will allow the Mac OS to write to a NTFS drive but I do not know what is is called.

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brian47Re: extrenal hard drive - Mac/PC?
by on Nov 29, 2007 at 3:18:40 pm

Oh, i see. What do Mac users do if they wish to export a video file (say, a project from Premiere Pro to a single .avi file) that is larger than 4 GB to an external hard drive?

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Jeff CarpenterRe: extrenal hard drive - Mac/PC?
by on Nov 29, 2007 at 4:11:41 pm

Macs use a system known as HFS+, which is also often called "Mac OS Extended." This is what the system drive is and it's what you should format your external drives as once you're working with Mac software exclusively.

(When you get around to formatting Mac drives yourself, know that there's a feature called "Journaling" which you can allow or not when formatting. Use it for system drives but not for media drives.)

So, to be clear, your Macbook uses HFS+ and your Boot Camp partition uses either FAT32 or NTFS, depending on what you choose. While you are in Windows on the Mac, you will have no problems using the NTFS drive. Windows understands NTFS no matter what hardware its running on. I suggest just keeping the drive like that for now. Once you're ready to switch to OSX full time, copy the files from the NTFS drive into OSX on the system drive, re-format the external as HFS+, and then drag the files back to the external.

At that point, if you're giving up on Windows, you're fine. If, however, you might keep using Windows from time to time, I suggest getting this program:

It's Windows software that allows Windows to read HFS+ drives. So after you go fully OSX, you can still use that program to use Windows and grab things from your Mac-formatted drives.

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Jeff CarpenterAlso: CS3 Cross-grade
by on Nov 29, 2007 at 4:14:50 pm

Also, be aware that Adobe's video programs are not Leopard compatible yet. They expect to have a free update out in a few weeks, but be sure that the update exists before you switch to the Mac versions of your Adobe software.

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FlowmotionRe: Also: CS3 Cross-grade
by on Nov 30, 2007 at 9:00:33 am

Yes, also be aware that the Boot Camp Beta will expire on December 31st. If you want to continue using boot camp after that, you will need to upgrade to Leopard on your Mac.

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Alan OkeyRe: extrenal hard drive - Mac/PC?
by on Nov 29, 2007 at 8:18:08 pm

[brian47] "What do Mac users do if they wish to export a video file (say, a project from Premiere Pro to a single .avi file) that is larger than 4 GB to an external hard drive?"

You've just hit on the main sticky wicket in Mac/PC workflow. I'm not aware of a good solution at the moment for your situation.

If you have a Mac and a separate PC, you can transfer files via Ethernet by putting the 4+ GB file in the Public folder of your Mac user account's home directory and enabling Windows file sharing in System Preferences/Sharing. You could then connect to the Mac from the PC by using the network browser to navigate to the shared Public folder and copying the file to the PC.

You could also transfer the files via ftp: Open a DOS command prompt on the PC, ftp to the Mac's IP address, log in with your Mac user account's username and password, cd to //Public, and get the file.

Obviously you can't use the network transfer option if you're using OS X and Windows on the same computer. ;)

Aside from any third-party solutions that I might not be aware of, there's no way OS X can write a 4+ GB file to an external drive that can then be connected to a Windows PC and read. Windows doesn't recognize HFS or HFS+, OS X can't write to NTFS, and FAT-32 is limited to 4GB files.

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