: USB Drive Follies

Jan 28th, 2004, 11:36 AM
I bought a FW/USB2 drive thinking I could use it to transfer files between my PC at work and my Mac at home. However, when I brought it to work my computer recognized it as an unallocated volume but didn't assign it a drive letter. I assigned it a drive letter and it worked fine. However when I brought it back home my mac didn't recognize it! Luckily I had nothing super-important on it; I had to reformat it to get the mac to recognize it again. What did I do wrong? I'm running Windows 2000 at work and OSX.2 at home.

Jan 28th, 2004, 11:47 AM
you need to format it as a FAT32 voume
the native (default) file system format for win2k is NTFS

plug the empty drive into your pc
use "run" to execute "format n:" where n is the drive letter
make the drive letter something that the PC will never use in case you add a hard drive or cd-rom or other such device

i would suggest drive letter "X"

the mac can read FAT32 volumes, but the PC cannot read mac volumes unless you buy something like "macdrive5" for the pc to let it see mac volumes

this would be an elegant way to solve your problem
we use "macdrive5" here and it works very well

you can buy the sfw. from www.mediafour.com (http://www.mediafour.com)

hope this helps

Jan 28th, 2004, 12:22 PM
Thanks - that sounds like a great solution. Wish I had checked here first before losing my data! Can you recommend any recovery software I might try?

Jan 28th, 2004, 01:28 PM
There is no recovery from a reformat. On any platform. Data is gone, gone, gone.

Forensic recovery might work; but usually you have to be a cop or bona-fide investigator to get the hardware and software. Costs at least $500, usually more.

Or, you could send it to a drive recovery service; they will get a certain amount of the data back (no guarantees, and you pay no matter what). That option destroys the drive and costs thousands of dollars. Still interested?

Jan 28th, 2004, 01:40 PM
Wow, the data wasn't THAT important. I thought there might be a way to recover it because I didn't perform a low-level format (not sure if that's the right expression) wherein I wrote 0s to the drive.

Jan 28th, 2004, 03:08 PM
There is no recovery from a reformat. On any platform. Data is gone, gone, gone.Actually, some of the data is recoverable after a format - the only time it isn't is when the format is a low-level format in which you zero the data (write zero's to all the data randomly, making recovering the data next to impossible).

You could recover the data with Norton or Tech Tools; or Data Recovery (or other file recovery software).

Jan 28th, 2004, 03:17 PM
I recommend Data Rescue (http://www.prosoftengineering.com/products/data_rescue.php). Free Trial! :cool:

Jan 28th, 2004, 04:37 PM
You could recover the data with Norton or Tech Tools; or Data Recovery

Moat of these programs only work reliably when they are installed before the drive is erased though, at leas in my experience.

And regardless, the amount of data you could probably fully recover is probably not worth the time it would take to recover it.

Miko Fulla
Jan 29th, 2004, 12:02 AM
Hey I have an external drive too and I wonder how easily I can partition it so that OS X and Windoze both recognize it. Is there any advantage to having an HFS+ partition with a FAT32 partition, rather than just purely FAT32?
How do I partition the drive with HFS+ and FAT32?

Jan 29th, 2004, 10:27 AM
Just wanted to report back from my experience using Disk Rescue. I ran the software (which took about 3 hours to scan the entire drive) and it recovered at least 95% of what I had lost. Great advice, Lars! Thanks!

Jan 29th, 2004, 10:47 AM
Is there any advantage to having an HFS+ partition with a FAT32 partitionyou can't do that
the file systems are incompatible and cannot exist on the same physical volume
either format with HFS+ and buy macdrive5 for your Windows box
format as FAT32 and let your Mac mount it as a PC volume

Jan 29th, 2004, 10:53 AM
most people misunderstand what formatting a drive means.

most times you will only "initialize the drive" which means the Desktop file (Mac speak) will be erased or the FAT file (Windows 95/98 speak) will be erased

this has the effect of telling your computer/OS that the drive is empty and it can allocate data as it sees fit

when you "delete" data,
the sectors are only "flagged" as empty, but they are not devoid of data
the location of empty (deleted) sectors is kept in a list so that recently deleted sectors are used before contiguous space
if data were actually erased when deleted, it would take much longer to do so

Data Resuce peruses each sector and hunts for data and directory info. to rebulid that data

the data resuce routines like Tech Tool Pro and others, create a 2nd-ary directory file to make data recovery much easier
this data is written to a very far off sector on the drive away from any data (and any potential data corruption) and is usually at the "end" of the drive

low level fomats actually map out bad sectors so the drive treats them as if they don't even exist

Miko Fulla
Jan 29th, 2004, 09:32 PM
If I just format the whole thing to FAT32 and mount it as a PC volume, will I notice any sort of sluggishness or crashiness or general Windows-like behaviour?

Jan 29th, 2004, 11:06 PM
since i don't use a FAT32 volume on any full time basis, that is a hard question to answer
i use my internal network to move data around and that allows me to mount volumes in a more native environment
i prefer the MacDrive5 method of making the PC mount a HFS+ volume, since my Mac is my main computer and my 3 Win2k machines are not
does that give you a hint?

one thing to note though is that you CANNOT use any mac utilities to maintain your hard drive
you'll have to do all that on you Windows box and that may require you to buy/learn new software

the solution that has the least problems for you would be to strictly use the external HD as a x-fer device
do not work on the device
x-fer data to whichever computer you are currently using and when you are done, x-fer to the external
this is a glorified "sneaker-net", but it works

good luck