FAT32 & NTFS partitions on same external HDD?

December 8, 2009 at 02:08:18
Specs: Windows XP SP2 +Mac 10.4.11, Inet Core 2 Duo

Hi all,

I have an external HDD (WD My passport 250GB) that I use with Mac and Windows. Is it possible to divide this HDD into three partitions: 2 formatted as Fat32 and one with NTFS?. Τhanks


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December 8, 2009 at 05:35:55

Yes you can divide the drive into as many partitions as you like and format them in the way you want. I'm not sure how that relates to wanting to use the drive in both Windows PC and Mac environments. I've never used a Mac and know nothing about whatever file formats it uses.

Goin' Fishin' (Some day)

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December 8, 2009 at 06:10:48

In addition to the above answer I would point out that you DON'T need to use NTFS on the external just because that is what you are using on the internal drive.

If you intend to ever boot to that external drive, keep in mind you may not be able to boot from an extended partition.

I am like Richard59 in that I know next to nothing about Macs. I do believe, however that Macs can read FAT32.

At any rate it is a good idea to utilize folders to store any data placed on the external drive.

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December 8, 2009 at 07:34:55

Thanks Richard59 & OtheHill

In fact I'm using the Windows OS on my MacBook (dual boot).. The Windows partition is Fat32, so Mac can see it!
I bought the external HDD to download the Linuxs' but I can download them on Mac only because Widows Fat32 doesn't accept files larger than 4GB.

For that, I ll keep 2 partitions Fat32 to store Mac files, and NTFS partitions for files larger than 4GB.

Another question plz, what is the best way to re-format one partition of my external HDD from Fat32 to NTFS?.

Thanks a lot


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Related Solutions

December 8, 2009 at 08:48:27

use convert to go from fat32 to ntfs
type convert /? for more info

Just to clarify you can never boot FROM an extended partition but you can boot TO an extended partition.

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December 8, 2009 at 14:27:19

Correct me if I'm wrong but I was under the impression that a drive converted from Fat32 to NTFS using the method described by wanderer would result in the NTFS cluster sizes limited to the previous FAT32 size so such a drive would still not handle large files over 4gb.

When performing a fresh NTFS format there is an option given about cluster size.

Goin' Fishin' (Some day)

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December 8, 2009 at 14:36:40

To Richard59: I don't think that. I converted one Fat32 partition into NTFS and I could, fortunately, download many files with 4.3 GB with no problems.. :)


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December 8, 2009 at 15:15:51

Good consideration Richard59 though cluster size doesn't define the size of file you can park on it. It's the file system [ntfs vs fat32 file allocation tables] that does.

A third of 250gig is around 80gig which if fat32 would be around 32kb for cluster size if I recall correctly. This is excellent if storing large files [especially if ntfs], not so great if storing smaller then 32 kb ones. Also good for less fragmentation concerning larger files.

Hope this helps

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