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moving files to PC from MAC


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Didn't know what section to add this to.  I have decided to switch over to PC from MAC at this point in my life.  My question now is how do I get all my photos off the MAC and onto the PC?  I'm thinking it may actually just be better to get them onto a external HD.  Is there a specific process that I would need to accomplish this since I'm going across platforms?   

These are the two EHDs I am trying to choose from if that makes any kind of difference. 



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I get the "What's a good EHD to buy?" question on a fairly normal basis and my answer is,

"It depends..."

The problem is not the hard drive, that's the easy part. The problem is the filesystem difference between the two worlds. By default a Mac OS will READ a windows drive but not WRITE to it. It's really a one-way proposition. A few things come to mind:

  1. Use a cloud based service that works with both Windows and Mac and you upload/download stuff.
  2. Use an external HD that is exFAT partitioned
  3. Use a program that is designed to write from a Mac to a Windows EHD.

Out of the three methods, 2 & 3 make the most sense.

The two hard drives you linked to must be using a exFAT partition method. Please note, that exFAT while an option, is not 100% fool-proof. There could be issues and data loss; as for a long-term method of storage, it is much better for a traditional (spinning) Windows Drive to be formatted to NTFS and a Mac Drive to be Journaled HFS+. There is a newer filesystem type for the Macs that is better for SSD Drives, but lets keep things simple for now.

While doing your data transfer, you want to COPY AND PASTE, NEVER-EVER CUT & PASTE. You do not want to "Move" your files, but just simply copy them. This is just in-case that writing to the exFAT partition screws up and the files get corrupted. When you just copy and leave the source files intact, you simply start over. If you move the files and things go wrong, you could have data loss. In addition, it's much better to create the partition on a Windows Computer; I've tried setting up a Windows Partition (FAT32) EHD using a Mac in the past and it never seems to work correctly. I almost always have problems and error messages. If I create the FAT32 Partition or exFAT Partition on a Windows Computer, it works just fine. The Mac OS is just really good at creating Macintosh Partitions and not Windows.

I do not recommend the WD "Green" Drive or "Eco Friendly" drives as they tend to fail. A LOT. Unfortunately, it's hard to figure out which Western Digital EHD Models have Green Drives. Personally, I like the WD "Black" Line as they are very reliable and run fast and cool. From the reviews that I've read, it seems the 8TB version of the WD drive contains a WD Black 7200RPM drive inside it. I'm not 100% sure the smaller versions have a "Green" Drive or a "Blue" Drive in them. Why am I so concerned about the colors? It's how WD classifies their drives:

  • Green: Cheap. Poorly Made. Usually fail within a year. According to a Best Buy employee, it's the #1 most returned HD and the one that people always purchase due to them being in-expensive. When you hear of people having problems with dead WD drives, chances are, there was a "Green" Drive inside the EHD case. Think entry-level DLSR, like a Nikon 3000 or Canon Rebel.
  • Blue: Mid-Range. I've used these drives in a pinch and seem to work well. The downside is that they aren't as fast as the Black Drives but don't have the high-failure rates of the Green Drives. Think Mid-Range DSLR, like a Nikon D750 or Canon 80D.
  • Black: Professional. I have used this line for decades and have never had a problem. This is what I look for. They run fast (7200 RPM) and run cool. Very reliable. Cost more that the Green or Blue but totally worth the extra $50 or so. Think High-End DSLR, like a Nikon D850 or Canon 5D Mark IV.
  • Red: Professional / Server. These are meant for NAS units or Servers running 24/7. You would think that these drives would be even better than the Black Drives, but I have seen people complain about failures during some production years in the past, so my opinion is mixed. 
  • Purple: This line is meant to record video, meaning lots and lots of writing 24/7. You usually find these drives in Security Units recording video with multiple cameras.

Out of all the WD line, either the Black or the Blue is the type of drive that you want. The problem is, that it's really-really-really hard figuring out what HD is inside the External Case. The 4TB My Book could be a Green Drive and the 8TB model could be a Black and they both look the same on the outside. Also, they could be formatted differently and might require and extra step or two to get working.

LaCIE HDs are usually Mac Formatted and I have owned them in the past. They are decent. What concerns me is the interface port on the model you linked to. Using USB-C to USB 3.0 cable should work fine on a brand new computer that has USB 3.0 ports but I'm not sure how well on a older computer that has USB 2.0 ports. Of course I could be wrong in my suspicions and it works just fine. Anyway, since you are more than likely buying a new computer, if you do get the LaCIE, just make sure you use a USB 3.0 port. They are usually Blue or have a SS with a lighting bolt near them. The USB ports near the network jack are meant for your Mouse / Keyboard and are usually USB 2.0.

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For now, leave it as exFAT. This way you can get stuff off your Mac and copy it to a Windows Computer.

To answer your question, we will use the Windows Disk Management Tool and I can walk you through it. Should take about 5 min to accomplish.

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