T Nation

External Harddrives?


Wondering if any of you techies can how me out. I've just bought a new macbook pro, and my old laptop was vista pc. I want to transfer all of my files from the pc onto a hdd, and then transfer them onto my mac.
Issue is, will there be any problems with compatibility? and what sort of external hdd would be best?

Cheers in advance...


I think you have to format the drive to a Mac format first, then copy the data over otherwise the Mac won't recognize a drive formatted in Windows (if I remember correctly).


Oh, as for external drives - Western Digital FTW.

Depends on how much you want to spend, too.


New Macs are perfectly capable of reading drives in FAT/32 and NTFS formats (The formats external drives formatted for a PC come in). Get any PC formatted external drive with sufficient capacity to hold all your documents, videos, photos, etc and just copy them on to the external drive. I'm partial to Seagate's Expansion Drive series (nice blank drive with none of the extra junk software they include for "free"). Then just plug the drive into the Mac. The Mac should detect it and automatically add and icon for it to the desktop. Copy the files off of the drive to wherever you want them to go and you're done. Now you can re-purpose the ext drive for Time Machine or for whatever other purpose you want.


Get one that doesn't require and additional power card. The smaller models which use the laptop sized hard drives get the power from the USB cable of the computer when you connect it. It ends up making it much more convenient in the future and they're very portable.

There shouldn't be any problems with compatibility. In the worst case, you can format it as FAT32 which is what most USB thumb drives come formatted in.

I have the Toshiba below and haven't had any issues:

4 stars in over 500 reviews.

The WD passport is a more common option and also has mostly good reviews:


Here are all the Amazon reviews that have the word "Mac" in them. Looks like it's good to go:



I would avoid the FAT32 file system if you have any large files as there is a file size limit. 4GB I believe.


Thanks guys, some great info, got enough to go with now. Think I might go for the western digital


I have a 500gb western digital, have had it for five years, 0 problems.


Get a WD passport. they rule and you do'nt have to plug them into the wall. Assuming all the files you want to transfer to the mac are compatible, there will be no problems getting them to and from the ext. hard drive