You can customize the storage device by reformatting and/or partitioning it with separate file system formats. For optimal performance in Mac OS environments, format and partition the storage device as one large Mac OS Extended volume.
Mac OS Extended (HFS+): Mac OS Extended refers to the file system used by Mac OS X. HFS+ represents an optimization of the older HFS file system by using hard disk space more efficiently. With HFS+, you are no longer limited by block size.
FAT32: FAT32 is an older format with a maximum single file size limited to 4GB. Since performance is far from optimal, use FAT32 only if you are going to share your LaCie storage device between Mac and Windows computers.
See the table below for a comparison between HFS+ and FAT32.
|Mac File System Formats|
|Use HFS+ if:|
|…you will be using the storage device on Macs only. Performance is far superior when compared to FAT32. HFS+ is NOT compatible with Windows.|
|Use FAT32 if:|
|…you will be using your storage device with both Windows and Mac computers.|
FAT32: FAT is an acronym for File Allocation Table, which dates back to the beginnings of DOS programming. Originally, FAT was only 16 bits, but after the second release of Windows 95 it was upgraded to 32 bits, hence the name FAT32.
FAT32 is supported by Windows 7 and Windows 8 but the volume size is limited to 32GB and the individual file size is limited to 4GB.
NTFS: This acronym stands for New Technology File System, and it is the native file system for Windows 7 and Windows 8. NTFS offers several features that are not available with FAT32: file compression, encryption, permissions, auditing, and mirroring drives. The minimum supported volume size for NTFS is 10MB with a maximum of 2TB when initialized in the MBR format. For greater flexibility, use the GPT format with NTFS to remove limits on file and partition sizes. Volumes created in NTFS are native read and write for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Mac OS X 10.5 or higher can read and write to the NTFS partitions with the help of third-party drivers.
See the table below for a comparison of NTFS and FAT32.
|Windows File System Formats|
|Use NTFS if:|
|…you will be using the storage device only with Windows 7 and Windows 8. NTFS performance is significantly better than FAT32. This file system is also compatible in read-only mode with Mac OS 10.3 and higher.|
|Use FAT32 if:|
|…you will be using your storage device with both Windows and Mac computers. Maximum single file size is limited to 4GB and performance if far from optimal.|
The steps listed below will help you to format and partition a storage device. For more information on choosing the optimal file format, refer to About File System Formats.