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Ask Max: Benefit if switch from FAT32 to Apple Journaled?

Asked on 11/14/2007:

I have a new backup drive. It came with FAT32.What are the pros and cons of switching it to Apple Journaled?


Most external hard drives will come formatted as a FAT32 drive. They do this because it is a drive format that will be readable by Macs, Windows PCs, and Linux PCs. If you share the drive between any two of those operating systems, I would suggest that you keep it formatted as a FAT32 drive. However, if you are only using that drive with a Mac OS computer, then reformatting it as a HFS+ Journaled (AKA Mac OS Extended Journaled) is the best thing to do. FAT32 is an old drive format with size limits and other issues that will make it less usable in OS X. HFS+ Journaled drives support large sizes and more efficient use of storage space. Also it has features that protect against data loss due to accidental drive removal, or any write failure. That feature alone makes it a useful format for a removable drive.

I think a reformat is a good idea, I hope that helps.

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