General Question

tWrex's avatar

Mounting Fat32 on Leopard 10.5.5?

Asked by tWrex (1655points) October 4th, 2008

Alright, so I’ve been searching through apple’s kb and haven’t found a thing except references to 10.2. So basically here’s the deal. I have a 500GB WD external HD. It was originally hooked up to my linux server and I shared it out via samba. However, I am going to be doing a full backup of my macbook so I wanted to have the speed of a direct connection, so I attempted to plug it in directly. Problem is it won’t mount. Does Leopard have a 120GB restraint as has been noted throughout their kb? If so, why? Is there a way around it?

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7 Answers

chromaBYTE's avatar

Mac OS X doesn’t manage FAT32 volumes of more than 137GB. Please note that a 250GB disk, for instance, can be partitionned in two volumes of 125GB (with Partition Magic or the like) and will then be managed correctly, at least under Mac OS X (you can’t rename the volumes, but this is a minor problem).

maccmann's avatar

Why FAT32? NTFS is healthier and can be handles by many platforms.

tWrex's avatar

@chromaBYTE That’s what I thought. Alrighty then. Guess I load up gparted and throw an hfs partition on it. So idiotic.

@maccmann Because NTFS is a proprietary format that is harder to get write access to. Linux has support for writing (after installing certain packages), but I do not believe that OS X does. (I lied I found out it does using the same implementation Linux does, which is still spotty and can have issues.)

chromaBYTE's avatar

NTFS isn’t officially supported by Mac OSX. There are some workarounds so that you can write, but they’re incredibly blotchy. There isn’t any write error checking, so if copying is interrupted or something goes wrong, you won’t know it until you try to open the file later on.

jasonjackson's avatar

I know of two ways to mount NTFS partitions read/write under OS X:

1. Google’s MacFUSE project, which lets you run file system drivers in user space (i.e. without them being loaded directly into the OS kernel), plus the open-source NTFS-3G NTFS driver, which was ported from Linux to OS X. Free & open source, but you need to be adventurous and a bit of a power user to get through the installation process.

2. Paragon NTFS for Mac OS X. It’ll cost you $40, but installation is easy.

Although I personally still use a FAT32 partition for sharing files between OS X and Windows, I’ve seen both of those in action, and both worked fine, from what I saw.

But since FAT32 performs so poorly with large partition sizes, and to avoid hassles with very large files, I recently set my new 1 TB external drive up as almost all HFS+, and got myself a copy of MacDrive to access it from Windows. So that might be another alternative to consider, too.

maccmann's avatar

I’ll second the Macdrive option. Better to make your Windows machine cooperate with Apple instead of the other way around. I have never had a problem with Macdrive on a Windows box. Makes life simpler.

tWrex's avatar

@chromaBYTE Right. Yeah unfortunately because NTFS is a proprietary format it’s gonna stay like that for a while.

@jasonjackson Thanks for the links. I am aware of the first set of instructions you offered up. I’ve been using Linux for about 5 years now so the ntfs-3g package is definitely one I’m familiar with. I didn’t know about paragon though so thanks for that.

What I actually decided on is two 110gb fat32 partitions, one 120gb hfs partition (which I’ll convert to hfs+ on my macbook, but gparted wouldn’t format it hfs+ only hfs) and one 120gb ext3 partition. I figure that’ll give me the ability to be cross platform and mirror data from the hfs and ext3 partitions to the fat32 using rdiff if I really find it necessary. I think my nerd is showing.

Oh and my master partition table was corrupted because of some tinkering I’d done with it. User error. Ah well. Thanks to everyone for the answers!

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