Frequently Asked Questions
What file system format should I use?
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 FAT 32. In theory, FAT 32 volume sizes can range from less than 1MB all the way to 2TB. It is the native file system of Windows 98 and Windows Me, and is supported by Windows 2000 and XP. When FAT 32 is used with Windows 2000 and XP, though, volume size is limited to 32GB (by the Windows partition utility, i.e. Disk Manager), and the individual file size is limited to 4GB.NTFS
This acronym stands for New Technology Filing System, and it is the native file system for Windows NT, Windows 2000 and XP. NTFS offers several features that are not available with FAT 32; i.e. file compression, encryption, permissions, and auditing, as well as the ability to mirror drives and RAID 5 capabilities. The minimum supported volume size for NTFS is 10MB, with a maximum of 2TB, with no limit to file size. Volumes created in NTFS can only be directly accessed (not through shares) by Windows NT, Windows 2000 and XP, without resorting to help from third-party products.Guidelines for Choosing FAT 32 Or NTFS
Use FAT 32 if:
Mac OS 9.x Users:
Mac OS 10.x Users:
You have the option of formatting the drive in one of four formats: Mac OS Standard (HFS), Mac OS Extended (HFS+), MS-DOS File System and UNIX File System (UFS).HFS - Mac OS Standard
Mac OS Standard refers to the file system used by Mac OS 8.0 and earlier. This is no longer a modern file system specification, and Mac OS Extended is more efficient. Only use this file system if you are creating a volume smaller than 32MB, using a Mac with a 680X0 processor, or you are creating a file structure that will be need to be used by Macs using Mac OS 8.0 or earlier.HFS+ - Mac OS Extended
Mac OS Extended refers to the file system used by Mac OS 8.1 and later. HFS+ represents an optimization of the older HFS file system by using hard disk space more efficiently. Building off of HFS, they increased the number of blocks from 65,536 to
4.29 billion. With HFS+, you are no longer limited by block size.MS-DOS File System
This is the Microsoft file system, more typically known as FAT 32. This is the file system to use if you are going to be using your LaCie hard drive between Macs and Windows operating systems.UNIX File System
This is the file system based on UNIX, and is preferable for users developing UNIX-based applications within Mac OS 10.x. Unless you have a specific reason to use the UNIX File System, you should instead format your drive using Mac OS Extended (HFS+), because it provides Mac users with a more familiar operating experience.