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Joe Gaylor

Hi Doug, congratulations on the new MB Pro, great machine.. As far as getting the PC to talk to the external MAC drives.. We have had several clients that are on PC platform that have purchased MAC DRIVE 7 from www.mediafour.com ... This has done the trick for opening our files made on a Mac for use on a PC.. Hope this helps


Jeff Carlson

Apple made the Mac able to read Windows disks (back when floppies were the thing) because they knew they had to show that the tiny Mac could work with big PC. But Microsoft never returned the favor, so you still can't read a Mac-formatted disk under Windows (unless Vista added the capability, but I doubt it).

Jeff Carlson

Sorry, didn't mean to post without offering a solution. Getting Mac Drive is certainly one option. Since you're dealing with an external hard disk, you can also format it as PC compatible. That way both the Windows PC and the Mac can read the files.

Launch Disk Utility (which is in your Utilities folder; in the Finder, go to the Go menu and choose Utilities). Select the external drive that you want to format (since you have scads of them, it's probably worth trying this out on one). Click the Erase tab. And from the Volume Format pop-up menu, choose MS-DOS File System.

I don't know if/how this impacts performance, however. I would suspect it doesn't matter if you're running a bunch of Photoshop Actions on the files on that drive, or it might at a millisecond level.

But it's one solution.

Colin Jago

I've never needed to do this, so I can't be sure, but I think what you are looking for is in the 'partition' section of the Disk Utility.

Go to Applications - Utilities - Disk Utility


I think you have to format the drive as a Fat32 format, then you'll be able to read it on both systems


You don't need to buy anything new. Win XP can't natively make FAT32 partitions larger than 32 GB. I'm guessing the drive is larger than that, so it isn't going to format as FAT32 in WinXP unless you delete the partition first and create a 32GB or smaller partition. Don't bother with that though. Just plug it into your mac book, open Disk Utility (Applications\Utilities). Erase the disk and choose MS-DOS Format. This is what OS X calls Fat 32.

You shouldn't have any appreciable performance problems due to Fat 32, but Fat 32 probably won't be able to use the nifty restore feature coming up in OS 10.5.

Feel free to email if you have questions about this.

Doug Plummer

I've gone and ordered Mac Drive. I'd just as soon not have to do any convoluted native utility functions. When I'm in the field, it has to be as idiotproof as possible.

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