If you doing major media editing, chances are you have an external hard drive from a variety of popular sources such as Western Digital, La Cie, and Other World Computing. Straight out of the box, most of these hard drives are formatted for use on both PCs and Macs in a format called FAT32. This also is the format for almost all flash-drives. For everyone who goes between the two operating systems, FAT32 is useful.
However, many multi-media users will run into quite a few problems with FAT32, especially if you are doing video editing and a working with large, un-broken files. FAT32 is particularly problematic for users working with video editing. FAT32 will only allow a Mac to write files that are less than 4-5GBs (roughly 10 minutes of standard definition footage). Practically, this means that if you are using your drive for Capture Scratch in Final Cut Pro, you will get the error: “Capture has been ended due to lack of disk space.” Or, outside of a video editor, if you try to put a file more than 4-5 GB on your drive you will get the error: “the operation can’t be completed because an unexpected error occurred (error code 0).”
If you are running into these problems you might want to reformat your hard drive. WARNING: reformatting WILL DELETE everything on your hard drive. In the following instructions, you will be given advice about how to go about saving your data and reformatting. Before you proceed, take a look at the following pros/cons to make your decision on your drive formatting.
If you decide that reformatting your drive is the way you want to go, here’s a step by step guide on reformatting a hard drive with a Mac.
How to Reformat:
Check: Is your drive there? In a Finder window, look under devices, as well on your desktop to make sure your drive is connected.
Check: Get Info
Right-click or Command-click to Get Info about your drive’s formatting.
Look at the information to see if your drive is already formatted correctly as Mac OS Extended Journaled. The image below shows a correctly formatted disk. Note that svg3 (Me) has both Read & Write permissions. This is necessary for you to be able to work with your disk. “Read Only” means you can only look at the information on the disk, not save anything to it. You do NOT want this.
Copy all your data to your AFS space:
VERY IMPORTANT! If you want to keep information that is currently on your drive, you will need to copy your data to a safe place like your AFS space or another drive. When you are finished formatting your drive, you can copy it back. Be patient, this will take time.
Go to Disk Utility:
1) Find your drive
2) Click “Erase”
3) Click on the “Format” drop-down Menu
4) Select the correct format, Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
5) Select “Erase”
Let the computer process everything and when it is finished, you can add your files back on to your drive and go on your merry way! Don’t forget to ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR FILES!