View Full Version : Copying to external disk with FAT32, how

08-20-2006, 07:37 PM

My situation is this: I need to backup my system partition (on a Powerbook), approx. 20 gb, onto my external firewire disk (Maxtor Onetouch). If I have understood the User Guide and forum answers correctly, the best way to do this is to use SD! to create an image file on the external disk.

My problem is that the external disk also holds a lot of other files, and is formatted as FAT32. I understand that FAT32 doesn't allow file sizes above 4 gb (or something like that).

So now I would like to hear suggestions on how to move along... Is it possible to reformat the external disk to another file system (preferably NTFS, because I would like the disk to be readable by my Linux and Windows machines too), without losing the data on the disk? Or is there a way to get around the filesize restriction when copying with SD!?

Regards, Par

08-20-2006, 07:58 PM
There are two solutions here, Par.

If you want the drive to be directly writable by OSX, you must format as HFS+. You can share it, using Samba, with Windows and Linux (or you can use a Windows driver that reads HFS+).

Alternatively, you can format as NTFS, but you'd have to share it through the network with Linux and the Mac.

Either way, you can't leave it as FAT32 if you want it to work with SuperDuper.

08-20-2006, 08:06 PM
Hi again,

thanks a lot; that's a really quick answer! Although I shouldn't be surprised after reading the other posts at the forum; "quick" is your middle name, right? :) ("Helpful" ought to be your nick name, then.)

Enough flattering. :) So you're telling me there is no single filesystem (except FAT32) that can be read, natively, by both Linux, Windows and OS X?

Do you know if there is a way to format the external disk into NTFS, ext3 or hfs+ without losing the data already on it? (Yes, I understand that I should be asking this question somewhere else, but I thought I could give it a shot here too)

08-20-2006, 08:53 PM
You can read NTFS natively, but you can't write to it except under Windows. So, no -- there is none.

You can't format into something else without losing the data -- you'd really need to copy off and then back on.

08-20-2006, 09:01 PM

OK, thank you very much for clearing this up for me.

The FAT32 filesize limit has been a problem for me now and then so I'd better borrow a spare disk from a friend and take the opportunity to fix it once and for all. All I have to do then is to decide what file system to use. :)

Once again, thanks for the quick answers. Now it's night over here so I'm going to bed.

08-20-2006, 09:29 PM
Have a good night, Par.