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Make a dual-partitioned HFS+/FAT32 drive play nice with Windows Storage Devices
This may be evident to some people, but I was a little surprised that my first attempt at it failed.

If you ever want to divide a drive into two partitions, one formatted as Mac OS Extended (HFS+) and the other as FAT32, and to be able to access the FAT32 partition from Mac OS X and Windows, just make sure you set the FAT32 partition as the first one on the drive when you partition it with Disk Utility.

To be able to use it under Windows, you also have to make sure the partitioning scheme is set to Master Boot Record (MBR).

If you set the HFS+ partition as the first one, Windows won't be able to see the FAT32 partition and will tell you that the disk has to be formatted.

I tested this with a USB flash drive under Windows 7 Pro and under XP Pro, and both only recognized the FAT32 volume when it was the first one.

I did not test this with a hard drive, with a different bus than USB, or under Windows Vista, but I assume these cases follow the same behavior.

[crarko adds: We've run previous hints about setting up multi-filesystem external hard drives, but the procedure here is quite a bit simpler. Obviously if you want to use this to transfer files to either type of system you'll want to copy things to the FAT32 partition, unless you have HFS+ drivers for your PC or use HFSExplorer in Windows.]
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Make a dual-partitioned HFS+/FAT32 drive play nice with Windows | 7 comments | Create New Account
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Make a dual-partitioned HFS+/FAT32 drive play nice with Windows
Authored by: tempel on Apr 28, '11 08:22:36AM

There's an alternative if you have already formatted your disk and didn't follow that order:

One needs to understand that one can very well format a disk in GPT instead of MBR scheme and _later_ add a MBR. While Windows will then look at the MBR's content to learn of the partition layout, OSX will look at the GPT layout.

That fact makes it possible to have even a different partition set seen under Windows compared to that seen under OSX! I've done this myself to make disks other than the internal boot disk work with as BootCamp volume, for instance, or to install a BootCamp partition on a disk that has already more than one HFS partition.

The only problem is to get this set up. Anyone feeling at home with MBR and GPT layouts can use my tool "iBored" for that. But maybe someone will one day also write a tool for the average user. (I'd do it if there was money in it, but I doubt it.)



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Make a dual-partitioned HFS+/FAT32 drive play nice with Windows
Authored by: glusk on Apr 28, '11 09:09:36AM

Interesting info. I hadn't considered that you could have two partition tables for one disk.
I'll check out your app and do some research to learn more, but do you have any favorite resources for reading about partition tables?

Thanks.



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Make a dual-partitioned HFS+/FAT32 drive play nice with Windows
Authored by: tempel on Apr 28, '11 09:15:41AM

Wikipedia has it all.



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Make a dual-partitioned HFS+/FAT32 drive play nice with Windows
Authored by: ravedog on Apr 28, '11 09:17:37AM

Strange. Mine is formatted with the primary partition as the HFS+ and the FAT32 second; and I can boot onto either. (Not Parallels, but BootCamp). Here's a snapshot of the partitioning:

http://web.me.com/ravedog/personal/DiskUtility_20110428_085934.png

Sorry for the naked link above, but I couldn't figure out the HTML markup... I'm just stupid.



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Make a dual-partitioned HFS+/FAT32 drive play nice with Windows
Authored by: UCMacGuru on Apr 28, '11 10:22:25AM

I think what you may be seeing is specific to using a USB flash drive for your test. IIRC, Windows will only see one partition on USB drives. It considers them "removable" and the Windows Disk management tool wont even allow you to create multiple partition on such devices. There are ways to trick windows in to treating the drive as a hard disk (as MacOS seems to do) but they are either hacky, not trivial, or only work with some subset of flash models.



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Make a dual-partitioned HFS+/FAT32 drive play nice with Windows
Authored by: cmac6126 on Apr 28, '11 02:04:02PM

Mine is GPT and I have the first 3 as NTFS formatted. After that it is HFS+.
After much experimentation I found that XP install could only see the first 3 partitions. Well, actually 4, but if you use a low level tool to look at the partition table you'll see there's a 200MB GPT partition first.
XP is actually on the 3rd. I found that it liked it that way, I'm not sure why, but it blue screens if it's earlier.
I use this setup with both Boot Camp and VMWare.



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Make a mac bootable dual-partitioned HFS+/FAT32 drive play nice with Windows
Authored by: smed on Apr 29, '11 08:54:35AM

I wanted the multi-tool of USB drives. Two partitions; one bootable mac partition and one that can be read and written by both macs and windows machines. I finally got it done and I don't know why it works, but it does. Here's the deal.

Equipment: a USB drive of 16 GB larger (try to find one that is fast too), a drive or partition with a minimal OSX build or your liking (10.6.7 for me was 7.2 GB), a running mac, a windows (virtual) machine (I used parallels 5 with Windows 7)

The procedure:
1. Partition the USB drive with GUID partition table; first partition Fat32 (or exFat) and the second HFS+ (8GB minimum to fit OSX)
2. Plug the drive into the windows machine and agree to it formatting the drive (200 MB only for some reason) and label it something odd (I use xxx)
3. Plug the drive into a Mac, fire up Disk Utility, click on the USB drive, select partition tab, select the xxx partition and press the "delete" key. You are now back to having two partitions.
4. Restore (using Disk Utility) your prebuilt minimal OSX to the HFS+ partition.
5. I like to do a Disk Utility repair on the HFS+ partition following the restore.

You now have a mac bootable USB drive that has a windows partition that is readable and writable by both macs and windows.




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