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FAT 32 vs NTFS decision for two hard drives

Last response: in Storage
April 17, 2012 1:42:06 AM

I am about to purchase my second external hard drive, with the intent of using both to create a (same) backup of my computer's data (i.e. I want redundancy, as my readings indicate HD failures are far from uncommon).

Two questions I'd welcome guidance on please:

1. My current HD (which holds much data) is formatted as FAT32 (I am using a PC with Windows 7); I understand that NTFS has some advantages, so considered converting it to NTFS (and setting the new one up as NTFS from the get-go). However if there is some possibility that, further down the line, I may want to use my files on a Mac, should I consider keeping the first drive as FAT32 and setting up the second as NTFS?
Also, follow-up question, are there any risks to the files involved in doing a FAT32 to NTFS conversion?

2. Can you suggest some reliable, user-friendly, well-performing and free programs to conduct and schedule occasional back-ups? (Ideally I am after a program that can handle incremental backups and can start on its own when the drive is plugged in, even if it was not plugged in at the exact time of the scheduled backup)

Thanks in advance!
April 17, 2012 2:01:49 AM

I can answer one question:

Stay with NTFS all the way. A mac can read NTFS drives but cannot write to them.
April 17, 2012 3:57:22 AM

I would have to agree with pezonator on going NTFS, but a mac will only read it. There is always a risk when doing something like that where you are messing with the formatting of the drive. I highly recommend backing up all the files on the drive before attempting the conversion.

I am not too familiar on backup software as I just manually make sure I have backups of my files, hopefully someone else can help you with that question.
April 17, 2012 4:48:20 AM

NTFS has Filesystem permissions and the file size limit passed 4GB. Take a look at Bacula for the backup software