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Thread started 11 Aug 2017 (Friday) 11:16
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Help with hard drives in exFat

 
Davidoff
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Aug 11, 2017 11:16 |  #1

I have done some research but can't seem to get to an accurate answer, not even from apple's support.

At the moment I work with Windows only and my external hard drives are all in NTFS.

I might get a Mac soon though and I would like to access my drives on both. Should I format new hard drives in exFat so I can use them both in Windows and Mac?

Am I losing anything in Windows vs NTFS? And in Mac vs HFS?


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Post edited 11 months ago by bpalermini.
     
Aug 11, 2017 11:27 |  #2

Let me share my experience with using a 2TB portable drive formatted in exFat. I did this so I could use my Lightroom catalog and current year photo storage on both a Mac and PC a couple of years ago. It was sketchy at best. I often had problems reading the drive on my Mac, which was my primary editing machine, and needed to use Apple's disk recovery utility to fix the drive. I learned (external link) that exFat was designed to be used on small thumb drives that typically have smaller and simpler directory structures.

I do not recommend using exFat on a large drive. It created many uncomfortable moments for me.


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davesrose
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Post edited 11 months ago by davesrose. (3 edits in all)
     
Aug 11, 2017 20:34 |  #3

Yeah, exFat isn't meant for hard drive applications. FAT32 is the most universal, but it's inefficient and is limited to 4GB file sizes. NTFS is a more secure and efficient file system, but is not native to the Mac for writing (Macs will read NTFS). However, there are plugins for the Mac to be able to write NTFS. Since you're coming from Windows, I'd try this approach. Conversely, there are also plugins for Windows to read and write Mac HFS+ file systems.

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Aug 11, 2017 22:42 |  #4

I have a 1 TB LaCie Rugged drive formatted with exFAT and have never had problems with it being read/written to.

(I'm using Windows 7 and OS X Lion, though. Haven't tried it on newer Macs).


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John ­ from ­ PA
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Post edited 11 months ago by John from PA.
     
Aug 12, 2017 06:44 |  #5

Davidoff wrote in post #18424878 (external link)
At the moment I work with Windows only and my external hard drives are all in NTFS.


Please let us know what version of Windows you are using? It may make a difference since Vista and later support exFat. But in general, should you be using Windows Vista or later, most experts recommend formatting to exFat on large external drives, especially if you work with large files.

I assume the Mac you are considering has their latest and greatest OS?




  
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Post edited 11 months ago by KeBul. (2 edits in all)
     
Aug 12, 2017 08:49 |  #6

I'd recommend sticking with NTFS and using Paragon NTFS for Mac

Not had any issues in the 5 or so years I've been using it, some of my portable hard drives came with their own version of it (for Samsung drives only type of thing) but I've since purchased a full license for my MacBook Pro - reasonably priced at £16 ($20).

I use NTFS and Paragon for any shared drives

For exclusive use on MacOS I use MacOS Extended Journaled (HFS+ Journaled).

Also use SMB from both to read/write from/to NAS

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Davidoff
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Aug 17, 2017 09:10 |  #7

Thanks everyone, it looks like keeping it in ntfs and using paragon is the best way to do it.


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John ­ from ­ PA
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Aug 18, 2017 07:57 |  #8

Davidoff wrote in post #18429948 (external link)
Thanks everyone, it looks like keeping it in ntfs and using paragon is the best way to do it.

I gather that your question is with regard to the external hard drives. If you are primarily storing large files or wish read-write capability then exFat is the way to go. I believe that Mac OS X natively can only read files from an NTFS partition; perhaps that is what the Paragon software is for. But OS X is fully compatible with exFat, as in any Windows version after Vista.




  
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Davidoff
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Aug 18, 2017 08:39 as a reply to  @ John from PA's post |  #9

Yes, it is with regards to external drives. As other people said exfat works but it's not reliable and using ntfs and paragon is recommended.


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John ­ from ­ PA
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Post edited 11 months ago by John from PA.
     
Aug 18, 2017 08:55 |  #10

Davidoff wrote in post #18430811 (external link)
Yes, it is with regards to external drives. As other people said exfat works but it's not reliable and using ntfs and paragon is recommended.

It is commonly accepted in the IT community that the reliability issue of exFat was caused by the Mac OS, often version OS X 10.8.4 which dates from about 2012 to 2013. Mac as you likely know licensed the exFat system from Microsoft and the initial implementation was poor at best. But I think now it is difficult to find too many issues, especially if the Mac is using the latest OS. Just MHO however.




  
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davesrose
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Aug 18, 2017 21:21 as a reply to  @ John from PA's post |  #11

NTFS is more commonly used in the IT community for platter drives since it has file permissions, change journal, shadow copies, encryption, disk quota limits, and hard links. Likewise, on the Mac, the best file structure support is HFS+. Since the OP has external HDs that are already NTFS, it makes more sense to install a program like Paragon (which enables writing to NTFS on a Mac). Likewise, if a user is primarily a Mac user, they can still use an external drive formatted in HFS+ with a Windows machine that has appropriate software for allowing HFS+ read/write.


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Help with hard drives in exFat
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