Ever wondering why your portable hard disk drive is not working with your Mac (unable to write file but able to read) or unable to transfer file larger than 4GB? It’s because that the hard disk drive format systems are not so friendly with different system. The Mac actually uses HFS+ format, but FAT32 the most common format works well with it as most of our thumb drives do. Whereas in Windows, the main format is NTFS and most of our portable hard disk that we bought actually comes in NTFS format. So when you put your NTFS hard disk into Mac, you can read in Mac and you cannot transfer file (unless you install some app in Mac).
You must be thinking why not just format into FAT32 and use it for both OS? Yes, this is one of the solution, but at some point of time, you will want to copy a file that is larger than 4GB (mostly HD movies) into your portable hard drive and that’s where the limitation of FAT32 comes in because you can only transfer a max of 4GB file.
My way of solving this problem is that partition your portable hard drive into two partition, one which is NTFS (supports Windows and file larger than 4GB) and another one is FAT32 (supports Mac and Windows). Partitioning your hard drive with Windows (Windows 7, Windows 8) is never been easier and I recommend you do it right away when you first bought your hard drive.
1. Hit the Start button, and search for ‘Partition’ or ‘Disk Management’. You will either see ‘Create and format disk partitions’ or ‘Disk Management’.
2. The bottom part of the Disk Management window is what you will be focusing at. Look for the Disk of your portable hard drive. To separate and create a partition, right click on the drive, and click Shrink Partition. You will get a window of Shrink C: (or whatever drive).
3. Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB:, type in 200000, if you want 200GB of partition for your 500GB hard drive. Click Shrink.
3. You will see a approximately less than 200GB of un-allocated space (black bar). Right click on the unallocated space and press format. Follow the on screen instruction and choose FAT32 when prompted for format.
4. Done, now you will have two partition, one is NTFS, and another is FAT32.