Thursday, May 16, 2013

How to use external HDD or a Pen drive across the major OS' like Windows, OS X and Ubuntu without formatting ?

mac os  screen shot
This post arises from my initial struggles of using a MAC ( At the time of writing I have managed to blow up my macbook pro and back to  linux system and an occasional Windows user). I always had a ntfs partition on my HDD's and also my pen drive because one fine day I realized that the FAT32 file system which is so popular can't handle files of sizes greater than 4 GB. Yes i know that's atrocious in this age of blue ray and HD videos. So I converted all my disks to NTFS. All was hunky dory till I met my nemesis.

I got my MAC and transferred loads of file from windows and linux to my new sweetheart. After I decided I needed to create backups of some photos and other mundane stuff and to my utter shock I couldn't write anything on my HDD. I panicked thinking my HDD's are dead and with that my data gone. But I again plugged in my HDD to the old faithful Linux system lying in the corner. and to my surprise it was working just fine. I went back to my mac (yes I am ungrateful but you got to admit mac looks cool and the hardware is the best optimized for the software) and fired up my browser and looked at the issue. NTFS being a windows proprietary file formatting system was despised by Apple and Apple used something called HFS file system . And we all know that Linux also uses ext4 file journalling system. And HFS file systems were not supported on windows . I was sad at the turn of events and then saw complicated solutions to enable ntfs mounting on MAC and they were highly unstable.

Amongst all the gloom I found out that Microsoft had another file journalling system in place better than FAT432 but as versatile and OS independent as possible. I converted all my disks to ExFAT and bingo No issues anymore between windows and mac. I was happy and then one day my MAC decided to get wet in the rain and die. So I didn't like coding on Windows so again turned back to the good ol' Ubuntu. Now again to my surprise Ubuntu didn't recognize ExFAT file system? Again a roadblock but the linux wizards all around the world had already swung into action and had a solution in hand. It will be sometime till Linux natively supports ExFAT but then it took me a just a few commands to enable ExFAT mounting on linux. Easy ,stable and safe solution and the smile is back on my face.

So here it goes 3 lines in ubuntu TERMINAL(For me works on Ubuntu 12.04 and 12.10)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:relan/exfat
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install fuse fuse-exfat exfat-utils

Once you have run these 3 commands in the terminal all ExFAT file systems are ready to go.

1 comment:

  1. hope one day, I will use this tutorial on my HD for mac if somebody gift it to me ..