General Question

28lorelei's avatar

WB formatted for mac, can I copy onto it from a PC?

Asked by 28lorelei (2529points) November 22nd, 2013

I’m meeting with an instructor of mine in a week and he has some materials he’d like to give me, and it’s a large quantity of files, so it won’t fit on my usb drive. It will fit on my WB My Passport, although that is formatted for mac and he has a PC. Will he be able to copy files onto it, or will it be read only? If it is read only, what should I do… should I just go out and buy a larger USB drive?

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10 Answers

Pachy's avatar

It should. Why not ask him for something formatted the same way and give it a trial run?

28lorelei's avatar

Well all he’s giving me is a bunch of mp3 and pdf files, which work on either Mac or PC. I was just hoping that his Windows computer would be able to read my removable hard drive is all.

XOIIO's avatar

The brand is WD, western digital not WB. And yes, it should work fine. The only issue would be if you tried to copy to an NTFS drive, because max os can’t.

28lorelei's avatar

…yeah that’s what I meant. WD. Sorry for the misreading on my part. Anyway, I’m glad to hear that it should work… I really hope it does. Thanks for all the quick responses!

johnpowell's avatar

No he won’t be able to see the drive. Windows has zero built in support for HFS+ formatted drives.

OS X can read from but not write to NTFS formatted drives. Writing can be done in OS X with additional software. I use Paragan NTFS for it it but it is expensive.

dabbler's avatar

I’m puzzled. Is one of those formatted for Mac or PC?
Connected by USB why isn’t it seen as a “Mass Storage Device” like a USB stick ?

johnpowell's avatar

From what I have gathered the external drive is formatted with HFS+ and will not even be seen by Windows unless you want to format it. I just went through this trying to move some stuff from my Mac to my Moms windows 7 machine. I just turned on file sharing on my Mac and it was able to see her computer and I was able to simply drag the files over.

jerv's avatar

I think @johnpowell did it the easiest way; networking.

Apple likes to get proprietary with their stuff, so it’s often easiest to avoid Apple touching non-Apple stuff as much as possible. By going over a network, you are forcing Apple to adhere to some form of non-proprietary standard that is commonly used in the rest of the computing world.

There is the freeware HFSExplorer which allows a Windows machine to read HFS/HFS+, but it’s a one-way street. If you both want read-write on a particular drive, you will need to use a PC formatted drive. And realistically, you should; it just isn’t right for people to jump through hoops to give you something. The price you pay for thinking different.

Still, just going the file sharing route really would be the simplest way.

johnpowell's avatar

@jerv OS X can read NTFS and read and write FAT drives. If anything Apple has better support for windows drives. Microsoft doesn’t even care.

And whoa…... I think disk utility now allows NTFS formatting. This must be new to 10.9. Before it was only exFAT.

I have a spare external and will try to format it as NT.. Odd that I haven’t seen this mentioned before.

jerv's avatar

@johnpowell Microsoft is less concerned with even reading a format used by <5% of the computing world than Apple should be about having full read/write access on what >95% of the world uses. Besides, file format is what really matters, and it’s not like computers these days are isolated stand-alone systems like they were 10+ years ago.

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