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Old 11-24-2006, 09:05 PM
Mary Grimsley Mary Grimsley is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3
Formatting an external hard drive for both Mac and PC

Hello SuperDupers,

I'm a happy SuperDuper user, and have just recommended it to a couple of family members for use with an external hard drive, which I plan to give them for Christmas as a gift to share. Actually, one of the family members would be using it for a PC (Windows), not a Mac, so I guess SuperDuper wouldn't be what he'd need, but she has an aluminum PowerBook running Tiger 10.4.8 and SuperDuper would be great for her.

I was thinking that the sharing thing with the external drive would be a trivial setup, based on my memory of the formats Disk Utility can do. Now I suspect that conclusion was incorrect, based on actually looking now at my copy of Disk Utility and its options with my own external drive and its two partitions. It appears that if I were to redo my own external drive I could indeed format it to MS Dos, but only by doing the entire hard drive that way--that it's not possible to reformat to MS DOS one of its partitions currently formatted to Mac OS Extended Journaled. So I'm not at all sure that they could share a drive by formatting half of it with Mac OS Extended Journaled and the other half with MS Dos format; I'm thinking now that I might need to buy two different drives, which would cost more money. I don't have a way to test how Disk Utility would work on a new drive that hasn't been formatted yet, so I don't know for sure that the partitioning options for different Mac vs. PC formats wouldn't be there, but that's the way it's looking right now. (Does anyone know the answer to this for sure?)

But assuming he'd be stuck with MS DOS for sure and the partitioning options I'd hoped for weren't available even for the first format, would she be able to work with her backups just as conveniently and seamlessly onto the MS DOS format on the external drive? And if that would work, would SuperDuper still work for her in using MS DOS on the backup external drive too? Without a bunch of extra DOS resource files to have to navigate through in looking for data to drag back onto the Mac when a retrieval was necessary? That is, would it work on the practical level if I tell them to format a single new drive to MS DOS, since I'm assuming now it's impossible to format only _some_ of the partitions to Mac OS Extended?

I'd like to go with a single backup drive, if possible, but would opt for two smaller external drives if nothing else is practical or convenient. If I go with a gift of two drives, then she'd format with Disk Utility and he'd probably use the drive formatter built into Windows XP. (I'm assuming he could find out how to use that formatter to create multiple partitions. Or perhaps he'd want to buy and use Partition Magic.) A solution that requires using different formatting software than Disk Utility for the Mac isn't a solution I'm looking for.

They are both likely to upgrade systems son after Leopard and Vista come out, but I'm assuming that this probably doesn't matter unless, perhaps, Partition Magic won't be ready for the new Vista system for awhile.

Is there something I'm missing here in figuring out the options?

Thanks for any help,
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