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Author Topic: FAT 32?  (Read 3221 times)
uaiomex
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« on: November 17, 2008, 02:12:14 PM »
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I'm in the middle of migrating to Mac. I'm about to reformat my external storage, a WD MyBook 2 TB-Raid1. I was planning on reformatting to HFS+ but a friend told me he was told by a Mac vendor to format his external disc to Fat 32 in order to keep compatbility among operating systems like Mac and Windows.

Now, this sounds great, but I know FAT 32 has limitations of 4gb file size and 32gb volume size.

I would not be concerned about this limitations because my picture files are far from this limit. On volume size I don't know. What exactly is a "volume"?

Chances are, I'll start producing small videos for events now that the VSLR is a reality.

I will purchase a 5D2 whenever is available.
Also, I think I'll keep Windows under Bootcamp for those files coming from else like tiff and coreldraw (for instance).

Please comments, thoughts, warnings, anything . Thanks a lot.
Eduardo
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2008, 04:58:26 PM »
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Quote from: uaiomex
I'm in the middle of migrating to Mac. I'm about to reformat my external storage, a WD MyBook 2 TB-Raid1. I was planning on reformatting to HFS+ but a friend told me he was told by a Mac vendor to format his external disc to Fat 32 in order to keep compatbility among operating systems like Mac and Windows.

Now, this sounds great, but I know FAT 32 has limitations of 4gb file size and 32gb volume size.

I would not be concerned about this limitations because my picture files are far from this limit. On volume size I don't know. What exactly is a "volume"?

Chances are, I'll start producing small videos for events now that the VSLR is a reality.

I will purchase a 5D2 whenever is available.
Also, I think I'll keep Windows under Bootcamp for those files coming from else like tiff and coreldraw (for instance).

Please comments, thoughts, warnings, anything . Thanks a lot.
Eduardo

It is possible to go above 32GB for FAT32 drives (the limit is actually 2TB), but it isn't straighforward or even recommended. Performance for random access is likely to be suboptimal anway.

A "Volume" is a storage location using a specific file system that is accessible through a single descriptor (for example a drive letter,  a volume name, a share name). It may be totally virtual, and an abstraction to integrate storage areas from different sources.

In practice
FAT32: you'll have to hack a bit to create the file system. It can be done, probably a bad idea.
exFAT: easy but Windows world only
HFS+: easy but OSX world only
NTFS: best under Windows, limited native support under OS X. However, this is the one I'd use, through NTSF-3G (http://www.ntfs-3g.org/.)

NTFS-3G is free, well supported, used in hundreds of Linux versions and even somewhat endorsed by Microsoft
(http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dd228988.aspx)

Install MacFuse first

http://code.google.com/p/macfuse/

Then

http://www.ntfs-3g.org/index.html#download

Reboot your Mac and you are all set, ready to use 931GB (after formatting) of storage

The only thing to remember will be to use "safely remove" when the drive will be disconnected from the Windows machine. (it is normally not mandatory on Windows). You may have some issues with file names if they make full use of the unicode character set, but accented file names are never an excellent idea anyway.

If you are of the anxious type, rest assured that there is absolutely nothing experimental about MacFuse: it is, for example, used internally by Parallels. I've been using it extensively for a few months on the single drive version of the 1TB MyBook.

Pierre
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uaiomex
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2008, 05:56:14 PM »
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Pierre:
Outstanding information. However, one of the reasons coming to Mac was to spend less time in front of the computer. Nevertheless, I will think your advice overnight.
Thanks a lot.
Eduardo

Quote from: PierreVandevenne
It is possible to go above 32GB for FAT32 drives (the limit is actually 2TB), but it isn't straighforward or even recommended. Performance for random access is likely to be suboptimal anway.

A "Volume" is a storage location using a specific file system that is accessible through a single descriptor (for example a drive letter,  a volume name, a share name). It may be totally virtual, and an abstraction to integrate storage areas from different sources.

In practice
FAT32: you'll have to hack a bit to create the file system. It can be done, probably a bad idea.
exFAT: easy but Windows world only
HFS+: easy but OSX world only
NTFS: best under Windows, limited native support under OS X. However, this is the one I'd use, through NTSF-3G (http://www.ntfs-3g.org/.)

NTFS-3G is free, well supported, used in hundreds of Linux versions and even somewhat endorsed by Microsoft
(http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dd228988.aspx)

Install MacFuse first

http://code.google.com/p/macfuse/

Then

http://www.ntfs-3g.org/index.html#download

Reboot your Mac and you are all set, ready to use 931GB (after formatting) of storage

The only thing to remember will be to use "safely remove" when the drive will be disconnected from the Windows machine. (it is normally not mandatory on Windows). You may have some issues with file names if they make full use of the unicode character set, but accented file names are never an excellent idea anyway.

If you are of the anxious type, rest assured that there is absolutely nothing experimental about MacFuse: it is, for example, used internally by Parallels. I've been using it extensively for a few months on the single drive version of the 1TB MyBook.

Pierre
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vjbelle
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2008, 08:01:06 AM »
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Quote from: uaiomex
Pierre:
Outstanding information. However, one of the reasons coming to Mac was to spend less time in front of the computer. Nevertheless, I will think your advice overnight.
Thanks a lot.
Eduardo

There is one major disadvantage to using NTFS-3G and that is speed.  It is at quarter speed - which means that it takes four times longer to read or write.  I have found formatting a hard drive in Mac Disk Utilities using MS dos as the formatting choice to work just fine.  I have an outboard FW800 drive that is 200GB that formatted perfectly and I use it to transfer files back and forth between Windows and Mac.  

Victor
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2008, 03:46:36 PM »
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Quote from: vjbelle
There is one major disadvantage to using NTFS-3G and that is speed.  It is at quarter speed - which means that it takes four times longer to read or write.  I have found formatting a hard drive in Mac Disk Utilities using MS dos as the formatting choice to work just fine.  I have an outboard FW800 drive that is 200GB that formatted perfectly and I use it to transfer files back and forth between Windows and Mac.  

Victor

Agreed and it will work on a 1TB drive as well (with some caveats, but let's say that someone using a recent Microsoft OS will be OK). As I said below, this is expected to work up to 2TB, eventhough Microsoft's own format utilities will die at the end of the format. There are many factors to consider
- officially, that type of drive isn't supported by Windows, which could lead to nasty surprises if chkdsk kicks in troublesome situations.
- the performance hit incurred by using NTFS-3G will not be as noticeable on a slower interface such as USB 2.O or Firewire 400
- the peformance of the FAT 32 file system will degrade more noticeably as it is filled because the whole directory structure must be parsed.
- for a 1TB drive, the FAT32 cluster size will be 32K, which on typical scenarios is a space waster (might not be an issue if the drive stores only large files though)
- fundamentally, the FAT32 data structure is far less resilient than the NTFS one, should anything bad happen.
and possibly some more.

But if there's a god backup anyway, why not give it a shot.
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photostop
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2008, 12:29:08 PM »
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For compatibily sake, and for future devices I would always suggest NTFS.
I can't see the speed being that much of a difference. Never had an issue
with NTFS. And if it works better. Might as well use it.

Cheers,
http://roadrunnersupport.blogspot.com
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 12:30:26 PM by photostop » Logged
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