Formatting External Hard Drives for Mac and PC

I teach at schools where PC and Mac computers cohabitate. I use them both and don’t have a problem or should I say didn’t have a problem. I bought an external hard drive and backed up everything on it on my PC. I then went to school and tried to save a student’s work on it. It didn’t work because the student was using a Mac and I found out that Macs and PCs don’t play nice with data. There are some ways to make them play nice.

The easiest way is to use FAT32. This short video shows you how:

But I want to warn you beforehand there are some caveats with Fat 32.

  • no way to secure it so if it falls into the wrong hands, they can access all your data… so if you work for MI5, don’t use Fat 32
  • If you are storing videos larger than 9 gigs, don’t use Fat 32
  • More data errors happen with Fat 32 then the other options

The other options are outlined nicely here.

FYI, My last hard drive was stolen and I needed a new hard drive with lots of space. After researching, I ordered the first 2TB disk and it’s so small you can fit it in your pocket. Here is a video reviewing it.

I want that hard drive to store all my data from my mac and pc so I am going to use Fat 32.

I guess in a year or so everything will be stored on the cloud and we won’t need external hard drives. There will have to be some crazy encryption so that no one can access our data and the speed will have to be super fast. If both of that happens, the cloud will be where we all are.

Until then, I’ll be using my external hard drives with Fat 32. I wonder why they call it Fat 32?  It sounds so derogatory. Maybe they should have called it Hefty 32…

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