FLAC music on external hard drive - readable by Windows AND Mac??


Novice Member
Not being 100% certain on precisely how external hard drives do their job I'm posting this just to ensure I am not going to try something that will just not work.

At home I have a Windows XP PC running Media Centre and am in the process of riping albums to FLAC. I have also bought a Seagate FreeAgent 320G external HDD and plan to copy all of the FLAC (or possibly even rip the remainedr direct) to it. I suspect for ease of handling the copies of the FLAC music should go into a folder of some sorts on the drive. The reason for this copying is for an impending period of working overseas. I want to take my music on a HDD with me, not the CDs.

Now, once I get overseas I need to be able to 'manage' the music/folders on that Seagate with a MacBook, primarily just to get the music onto a NAS, which I plan to buy out there, so it can be played with a Sonos which I can also likely buy out there.

The main concern I have is that the Mac will either not be able to 'read' the folders etc which have been created with a Windows PC or, even worse, will not be able to even see/access the drive. I know the drive is straight ''plug and play and requires no formatting or software, I'm just not so sure they are usable by a Mac as much as they are a Windows PC or, more importantly whether they are usable/readable by one when they have been uploaded by another.

Any thoughts on this appreciated. There's no major problem if it won't work, I'll just grab someone else's Windows laptop and manage the music to the NAS with that. I would though like to be able to use the Seagate as a hard disk back up for the Mac if that was possible.


Format the USB HD to FAT32, both computers can access FAT32.
The NAS will work on both no problems, as it communicates via IP.


Novice Member
FAT32 is ok, however, it imposes a file size limit of 4gb. So if you have some high def videos etc than it becomes a problem.

The best option is to download MacDrive which allows Windows to read the HFS+ file system that Macs use.

I have formatted my 500gb external hard drive this way and I copied over all my videos from my Windows pc without any trouble...:thumbsup:


Novice Member
Thanks. The drive is plug and play so i suspect it is pre-formatted to NTFS. I've never come across drive that didn't need formatting one way or another. I'll have a llok at Mac Drive

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Marantz SR7015 & NAD T 778 AVR + Mission LX2 MKII Speaker Reviews, AV & Film News and More
Top Bottom