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New external hard drive - should I format it?


trivets12 17 1.3k
30 Nov 2010 5:45PM
Have just bought a new WD external hard drive on to which I'm going to copy all of my 2010 weddings.
Should external hard drives be formatted first or doesn't it make any difference?
Thanks
Trudy
JJGEE 16 7.9k 18 England
30 Nov 2010 5:52PM
I bought one recently and this is what the manual says


Quote:Format
Your My Book Elite drive is preformatted as a single NTFS partition for compatibility with all updated Windows operating systems. If you wish to use this drive with a Mac system, see “Using the Drive with a Mac” on page 49 and “Troubleshooting” on page 59.



I have a Mac and am almost certain when I installed it there were various steps it took me through, so I think the formatting was part of that process.
User_Removed 11 4.6k 1 Scotland
30 Nov 2010 7:14PM
If you format it, you will lose any software included with it. It should be OK "straight from the box".
lobsterboy Plus
17 14.9k 13 United Kingdom
30 Nov 2010 7:18PM
If it works and its already formatted in the way you want...why bother?
cameracat 17 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
30 Nov 2010 9:57PM
With NTFS format you can move and deal with single files that are over a certain limit, These days its easy to wind up with files bigger than 2Gb, I have worked on single images that have exceeded that size, Those who deal with video editing also encounter huge single files.

If your external drive is FAT32 single files over 2Gb are gonna potentialy be problematic.

Mac OS can't deal with NTFS without some kinda software intervention, Even then you may have to run virtual Windows to accomplish that end.

So bottom line, If your using a Windows OS and your new WD external drive is pr-formatted to NTFS, There is no need to format it......Grin

If your using Mac OS, You will have to read the relevant instuctions regarding the required format for that platform and your particular set-up......Smile

Here is a little read, Its old news but still relevant....!

Apparently this will cure the problem with Mac OS and NTFS format.....Smile
Wink
samfurlong 15 2.5k United Kingdom
1 Dec 2010 10:28AM
I always format a new drive (not a quick format, a full one). To be honest the free software that sometimes comes with them is usually pretty rubbish and when reformatting you can adjust the allocation unit size to improve performance depending on what type of files you intend to use the drive predominately for.
I also give the drive a full battery of tests to pick up bad sectors / read / write errors etc.. before trusting it with my data.
Just Jas 19 26.3k 1 England
1 Dec 2010 11:25AM
My Iomega 1TB LAN drive came BU software on CD that proved to be useless. The drive itself is formatted and is set up with various folders.

I found that BUs for my various computers sometime appeared in one folder and some times in another - the drive letters of the folders having changed over. Folder 'A' being Drive Y, Folder 'B' being Drive 'Z' one day and later in the week the drive letters being reversed i.e. Folder 'A' being Drive 'Z' and Folder 'B' becoming Drive 'Y'

The 3rd party BU program that I used (Syncback) followed the drive letters, backing up always in the 'Y' designated folder as instructed.

The situation was even more confusing in the set up I originally configured of one folder for each of the 4 computers on the LAN.

I have in mind to re-format the drive, wiping out the existing programs on it and setting up my own folders in NTFS.

Any thoughts?
rhousham 14 435 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2010 3:33PM

Quote:I also give the drive a full battery of tests to pick up bad sectors / read / write errors etc.. before trusting it with my data.

That sounds like a good idea.

I would say that it depends. Most external drives are built with windows in mind so if it's a staright plugin and go. U can format it just to make sure or have a look there might be some programs on the drive that you want to use, but even if you do delete them then they are probably free to download anyway.

If you have a mac/linux be very careful. We had a drive and it just wouldn't play ball with linux - it would turn itself off and all sorts so read up before you buy.

If it's a network drive then don't format it. Use the programs with it to do that. Otherwise you might remove for of the software that made it 'network'

That's my tips on the subject - hope it's helpful.
Just Jas 19 26.3k 1 England
4 Dec 2010 1:53PM

Quote:If it's a network drive then don't format it. Use the programs with it to do that. Otherwise you might remove for of the software that made it 'network'


That is what I had in mind when I typed:
Quote:I have in mind to re-format the drive, wiping out the existing programs on it and setting up my own folders in NTFS.


I have be come somewhat disillusioned with The LAN backup. I now backup to a USB hard drive, using 'GFI Backup 2009 Home', at 11pm every evening. The program runs automatically and shuts down the computer when finished.

The USB drive came formatted NTFS and I used it as it was, no problem.

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