Do I need to format portable disc drive?

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abennettphotography
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Joined: Fri 05 Jul 2019, 18:47

Do I need to format portable disc drive?

Postby abennettphotography » Sun 01 Dec 2019, 15:01

I'm about to buy an external portable USB disc drive. I use a Mac currently but have had PCs in the past. All I'm going to do is store Nikon RAW and Jpg photos on it. Do I need to format/buy the drive for Mac/PC? My thinking is that since the photos are in digital format and will be viewed either in Photoshop or Lightroom or via Nikon's own NX-i viewer, then the format of the disc doesn't matter. Or is this wrong?
Mike Farley
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Re: Do I need to format portable disc drive?

Postby Mike Farley » Sun 01 Dec 2019, 16:05

Hi Andy

Almost certainly, your external hard drive will come formatted as FAT32 to ensure maximum read and write compatibility with Windows, macOS and Linux operating systems. It has some limitations, such as maximum sizes of 4GB for file size and 8TB for partitions. Given your projected usage, the former is unlikely to be an issue. Most external hard drives have less than 8 TB capacity which means that the latter probably will not affect you, either. Worst case, you can either create multipkle partitions on the drive or format it for the file system natively supported by your operating system. That will be APFS (Apple File System) in your case or NTFS for Windows users.

The links below give further details.

https://www.howtogeek.com/235596/whats- ... -and-ntfs/

https://www.howtogeek.com/235596/whats- ... -and-ntfs/

I would caution against keeping just a single copy of your images. If the drive on which they are stored should fail, you could lose everything or be faced with a large bill from a disk recovery company, with no guarantee that your images could be retrieved. A single external drive to back up the data on your computer is the absolute minimum you should countenance. Multiple backup copies, with at least one kept at a location away from your home in case of fire, theft, malicious disk encryption etc. is better. You could also consider holding your favourite images in the Cloud and let someone else take care of the backup issues.
Regards

Mike Farley
(Visit my website and blog - www.mikefarley.net)
Mike Farley
Posts: 6572
Joined: Tue 11 Sep 2012, 16:38
Contact:

Re: Do I need to format portable disc drive?

Postby Mike Farley » Sun 01 Dec 2019, 16:13

As an addendum to my previous post, here is another I wrote a while back about the wisdom of using memory cards as a backup strategy, i.e. using a new card when one is full rather than reusing it. In summary, it is not a good idea as the cards could be unreadable within 3-5 years.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3262
Regards

Mike Farley
(Visit my website and blog - www.mikefarley.net)
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Peter Boughton
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Re: Do I need to format portable disc drive?

Postby Peter Boughton » Sun 01 Dec 2019, 17:38

If your needs for the disk exceeds the FAT32 limits (which can vary; 2GB/4GB/256GB file size and 2TB/8TB/16TB partition size), you can use exFAT (the successor to FAT32), which has far higher limits, and works on all current Windows, Linux, MacOS since v10.6.5, iOS since v13.

Another important thing to look out for is USB 3 support - and not just a USB 2 device that is labelled "USB 3 compatible", but check reviews to confirm it will perform at the faster speeds of USB 3.
abennettphotography
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri 05 Jul 2019, 18:47

Re: Do I need to format portable disc drive?

Postby abennettphotography » Mon 02 Dec 2019, 21:49

Many thanks all for helpful replies.

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