View Full Version : Reformatting a Drive to be Bootable on Mac OS

Paint Guy
06-03-2010, 08:02 PM
I want to buy a 1TB Desk External Hard Drive to store all of my images and video etc. I could buy a LaCie formatted for the mac but they are 1/3 more in price so I 'd prefer to buy any drive and reformat it.

So I phoned the store an they said all drives they sell are PC and they need to be "Reformated" for the mac to make them bootable.

He said I can buy "Any" External HD and reformat it so it can be "Bootable" from the Mac.

So my Questions are:

1) Is this true? Can buy any 1 TB External Drive and reformat it so it can be "Bootable" by the mac OS?

2) How would I reformat the drive for OSX? Is this something Super Duper can do?

Appreciate any help on this.

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06-03-2010, 09:02 PM
No, that's not true. There's a stuck thread in this forum that lists various drive recommendations.

Paint Guy
06-04-2010, 02:32 AM
OK, you said that's not true, but I'm not sure what part wasn't true. Just so were both clear. I want to but a 1TB External Hard Drive to store my files on. Now after thinking about this some more do I really need my External to be "Bootable"?

I am confused.

Are we talking about 2 different things here? An external Drive for Storage and an external Drive that you can boot from. Here's how I understand the differences. Please answer all 4 questions so I understand this correctly.

1) An External Drive that is "Bootable"
- A drive you can boot from or use just like having another mac if your mac crashes. You can select this as your "Startup Drive" in the event that your mac crashes. This type of drive does need OSX installed.

2) An External Drive for "Storage"
- A drive you can store files and applications on but you can't start from it. You can only access it from another mac. This type of Drive does not need OSX installed.

Please tell me if 1 and 2 above are correct.

3) If they are then is the "ONLY" advantage to making the External drive "Bootable" to use as a "Startup" Disc in the case that my Mac crashes. If I use the external as "Only" as a Storage space then all I need to do is hook it up to any mac in order to retrieve files. Is this correct?

4) if 1, 2, and 3 are basically correct, then if I but a 1 TB External Drive but it is formatted for the PC, then do I still need to reformat it and what steps do I follow to do this?

Thanks, I find all of this a little confusing so I appreciate your advice.

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06-04-2010, 10:12 AM
"Any" drive is not bootable. For example, WD externals do not support boot on Power PC Macs. Non-oxford bridges have traditionally been less compatible. Some don't work well with FW800.

While any drive that can be partitioned and formatted properly is compatible with your Mac for storage, startup is different/pickier.

Steps for properly partitioning and formatting a drive (which should definitely be done, regardless of intended use) are in the Frequently Asked Questions section of this forum, right at the top.

Paint Guy
06-04-2010, 01:20 PM
Thanks dnanian, I did a search inder the FAQ's for "Reformatting" and the search came up with nothing. Can you please tell me what terms to search for or better yet provide a Link to the reformatting instructions.

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06-04-2010, 01:26 PM
It's the top FAQ, as I said:


Paint Guy
06-04-2010, 02:17 PM
Dave, sorry I found the link and was trying to change my post but my internet went down periodically.

Last question, if I format my external drive for the mac, can I still access my files with a PC if I need to or will this not work?

I appreciate your help! :)

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06-04-2010, 02:18 PM
Won't work, except over a network, unless you install 3rd party software (specifically PC/Mac Drive from Mediafour).