I gave up on MS-DOS format

As I wrote about earlier, OS X does not work well with the MS-DOS (FAT 32) format. OS X will read it, it will even format a disk as MS-DOS, but the real kicker comes in searching and just navigating said volume.

Steve Gehrman (Path Finder developer) told me about OS X and searching non HFS volumes.

If you have a MS-DOS formatted hard drive, and a HFS formatted hard drive, you will see a HUGE difference when you perform a search, and an even bigger difference when you navigate through the drive.

Just take my advice, if you want your hard drive to be readable on both Mac and Windows, just install HFS reading software on your Windows box. You could also just share in it OS X, since you have Samba available to you.

At least OS X is compatible with FAT 32 and NTFS. You cannot say the opposite for Windows. Being compatible and working well are two very different things though.

I cannot tell you how amazed I was at how much faster searching a HFS firewire drive. You live and learn.

Speed is the price you get for compatibility, at least in this case.

Comments (3)


Last I checked, FAT32 was a Windows format, not really an MS-DOS format. When MS-DOS was still used quite a bit (Windows 95, maybe?), FAT16 was the format of choice. For removable media, you can't (generally) format things FAT32.

In OS X's Disk Utility, they call it MS-DOS Format. In is also called FAT32. So the confusion is from OS X, which doesn't sunrise me.

So I am not sure. The only thing I am sure about is it is slow as hell compared to using HFS or HFS+ as OS X can browse and search HFS and very fast speeds.

allan cordova:

I bought a second hand 15G Ipod, then connect it thru firewire on OS X, then a message promted that I should initialize the divice, then disk utility apairs, then I found that It was an MSDOS format, then I accedintally earse it using Disk Utility with new format HFS + but still never mount, then I try disconnecting then reboot the system, this time It never initialize or the system nerver detect and the Ipod cannot be turned off and the apple logo still on display. pls help me Sir on how to restore it. thanks a lot

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