Fun with Mac drives on my PC
June 26, 2012 6:07 PM   Subscribe

I have an external drive, formatted for Mac, that needs a scheduled back-up in a Windows 7 environment (or some other solution).

A few months ago I migrated from a Mac to Windows 7. On the Mac, I had an external drive that housed all of my graphics related files. I used SuperDuper to schedule an incremental back-up to another external drive, and it worked great.

So after switching to Win7, I realized that I could not transfer the files on this drive to an NTFS format, as this format apparently does not like the length of some of my file names, and/or the large size of some of the files.

So I opted to use MacDrive, which works great for accessing the disk, but for the life of me I cannot get any of the back-up schemes I've tried to work. I still want to mirror this drive onto another external drive with a schedule. Here's what I've tried so far:

Carbonite: does not support non-NTFS external drives

Norton Ghost: errors

Acronis: I can't even get this software to run properly

FreeFileSync: sketchy interface, no schedule that I can find

Straight copy/paste: scans the drive for a bit, then nadda

So I could use some help with:

Transferring the files to an NTFS (and then just use Carbonite)


Sticking with MacDrive, with a decent scheduled back-up (incremental a huge plus)

Thank you!
posted by Brocktoon to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
NTFS shouldn't have a problem with large files, though I suppose the naming problem could be legit. Could you show us the exact error messages you're seeing?
posted by vasi at 6:54 PM on June 26, 2012

Yeah, I'm not sure why NTFS is giving you problems either. Maybe try reformatting the backup drive as NTFS and manually copy the files over? Possibly your backup software is trying to "keep" your file permissions, which I presume you don't care about because this is just raw graphics data.

To manually copy, run cmd.exe as Administrator and try this, replacing source and dest as necessary:
robocopy /zb /e (source):\ (dest):\

Barring that, I would try the Crashplan client for backup (it's free for local disk-to-disk backups).
posted by neckro23 at 7:06 PM on June 26, 2012

It's possible that some files have characters in their names that are acceptable on HFS+ (Mac) but not NTFS (Windows): any of / ? < > \ * | " could cause an error in trying to copy files over. I don't know what to recommend in this case, other than manually renaming files with those characters.
posted by WasabiFlux at 7:22 PM on June 26, 2012

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