The Newbie Mistake – Hard drives.

25 04 2009

I’ve recently got enlightened by the fact that designers whom I go to school with do not know how to format their hard drives to be both PC and Mac compatible. Then again I also figured I didn’t know how to do that either for awhile – so I guess I’ll shed some light on how to.

Mind you I’ve probably gone through about 3 hard drives and a couple thumb drives. You can do the same for both. I am a Mac user , go ahead and snicker. So I will show you how to do this on a Mac.

If your design school is like mine (or you have clientele that work with PCs/Macs and you are either or) where you work in both labs it’s quite useful and it saves you the stress of wondering ‘Where the hell did my files go?!’

First open Disk Utilities. You can do that by going to Applications – Utilities – Disk Utilities. Thus it will bring you to this screen.

From this screen locate the hard drive/thumb drive you wish to format. For me I’m going to erase (hopefully if you have a new hard drive/thumb drive you don’t have to erase anything) what’s on it. So thus go to the left hand side and select the name of your hard drive/thumb drive.

As you can see there are 4 different tabs labeled First Aid, Erase, Raid, Restore for me, I’ve only personally used Erase so I can’t get into detail about the others since I’ve never used them. So, click on the Erase tab and it will bring you into this interface.

You will thus then see the Volume Format tab as well as the Name: field for your hard drive / thumb drive. For me, my thumb drive is already set for PC/Mac compatibility. Though if yours isn’t go to the drop down menu and set it for MS-DOS File System. I know for a fact that on a PC the format is FAT-32 and I am sure with leopard (though I could be wrong) that it does say FAT-32, but none the less we’re gonna go with MS-DOS File System.

Now you can rename your hard drive/ thumb drive anything you want. Thus making it easier to locate when uploading to different computers. NOTE: Remember to back up your files before proceeding. It not only saves your butt, it’s a sure fire way to know you have it on your hard drive if you seemed to have lost a copy.

I don’t usually mess with the Erase Free Space or the Security Options button. I usually go straight for the Erase button. Mind you this is why backing up those files on your actual hard drive is important. Anyways we’ll proceed to hit the erase button. Don’t worry if this interface shows up:

You want to only proceed after you’ve copied the files to the desktop you’ve been working on so you have a hard copy. So then click Erase and wait for it to mount your hard drive again. This could take some time depending on how much you’re storing on it. I usually like to empty my thumb drives when they get pretty much to full.

After the time is spent erasing you will now see the available usage of your hard drive/ thumb drive at the bottom of the interface.

It will tell you the name of your hard drive/thumb drive, the format (oh hey look there you got FAT-32) and everything else you needed to know such as Capactity, Available, Used, and Number of Files.

Now if you’re like me and you want to know this without the pictures etc this is what you do:
1. Open Disk Utilities.
2. Click on the hard drive/ thumb drive you want to wipe.
3. Click on the Erase tab up top.
4. NOTE: Make sure to back up your files before proceeding with erasing. (If there are any to begin with)
5. For PC/Mac compatibility go to Volume Format and use MS-DOS File System.
6. Click Erase at the bottom.
7. Confirm that you want to erase what is on your hard drive/ thumb drive.
8. Wait for the hard drive/ thumb drive to mount back to your computer.

Now you’ve got a hard drive/thumb drive ready to switch over from macs to pcs without the headache of going ‘Where the hell did all my stuff go?’ and ‘Why doesn’t this work on this computer?!’ Hoped I saved you from a headache. Until next time guys.

– DEF

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