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WD 320GB -- PC & Mac User -- Compatibility Challenges
on August 11, 2010
I recently purchased a Western Digital My Passport Studio 320GB. There are several reasons why I bought this particular model.
1) In 2006, I purchased a refurbished WD Passport 120GB. It's been a great hard drive and it's never had any problems. Therefore, I trust the Western Digital brand.
2) I own a 2009 MacBook Pro, an older Dell workstation, and an IBM server. The Dell doesn't have USB 2.0 and the connection is really slow. However, the Dell does have Firewire 400. Although this is an older technology, it actually outperforms modern USB ports. The WD My Passport Studio comes with three connector cables: Firewire 800, Firewire 400, and USB. When I'm using the Dell workstation, I use the Firewire 400 cable.
3) I need a hard drive that can utilize the ultra-fast Firewire 800 on my MacBook Pro. This is the hard drive! Compared to available USB portable hard drives, there are very few available with Firewire capability. Also, the price on this hard drive is very reasonable, only $77 through Amazon. A comparable LaCie 320 GB costs $119 through Amazon.
Despite my praises for this hard drive, I have faced some serious challenges. Out of the box, the hard drive comes formatted to work on a Mac, not a PC. As both a Mac and PC user, I needed to reformat the hard drive to work on both computers. Although there are several software programs available to facilitate cross-platform compatibility, I didn't want to pay for these programs.
Rather, I wanted to format the hard drive in FAT32, a format compatible with both Mac and PC. (Disclaimer: If you need a portable hard drive for video editing, DO NOT use FAT32 formating. It limits file size to 4GB.)
I attempted to reformat my hard drive four times. First, I used my Mac to reformat into FAT32. The HD functioned perfectly with the Mac, but my PC (Win XP Pro SP3) would not recognize it. Second, I tried to reformat the HD using my PC. However, Windows XP does not allow hard drives over 32GB to be formatted using FAT32, only NTSF. I reformatted the HD using NTFS, but now my Mac could no longer write to the drive. Third, I tried to reformat the hard drive using the command prompt (C:> format /FS:FAT32 X:). This took about two hours and then I got an error message.
Finally, here's how I was able to successfully reformat my HD as FAT32: Using Win XP Pro, I downloaded and installed a program called GUI Format. I reformatted my HD as FAT32 using the Quick Format tool within GUI Format. The reformatting process took about two minutes.
Here's the link to download the free software:[...]
Despite my reformatting challenges, I highly recommend this hard drive. If you follow these instructions, then you should be able to reformat the hard drive quite quickly. Good luck.