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Urgent warning to Mac owners

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Posted by Cassius
Feb 28, 2013 at 04:12 AM


My son has two Macs, one desktop and one laptop.  The hard drives have failed on both after about 1-1/2 years.  In the latest failure, half or more of his files were corrupted to the point of being non-retrievable.  The time it took to retrieve those files that were retrievable averaged 15 minutes each.  The drive in the Mac that most recently failed was a Toshiba.  He did this at a Mac store where he spent all day plus continuing after the store’s closing hours.

So…back up VERY OFTEN !  He backed up, but not often enough.  It was not clear to me whether some of the files on his backup drive may also have been corrupted.


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Feb 28, 2013 at 05:48 PM


I am not sure whether it is related, but I will pass on the information as I believe it is useful for Mac users.

A friend and collaborator in graphic design—like many other designers—uses Macs. Last year he bought two or three Toshiba external drives. The drives were preformatted for Windows (probably NTFS) and apparently did not even mention Mac OS in the box (unfortunately, this is not something that can be corroborated at this time).

Mac OS can apparently access Windows-formatted drives and I believe my friend went ahead and reformatted them to a Mac OS friendly format, and began to use them. The drives had a rather unreliable operation and eventually failed completely. Upon investigation, he concluded that the drives were simply not suitable for Mac OS, irrespective of reformatting.

I should note that neither my friend blames Toshiba nor am I implying that the company has in any way misinformed its customers. However, a Google search for “Toshiba external drive not working Mac” brings up enough hits, demonstrating that this is not an isolated incident. I have personally no real experience with Mac OS to justify any opinion, but my friend has been using the Mac platform for ages and has a fairly good understanding of the system; in the event of a system failure, I have seen him reformat the main drive, and install Mac OS and his main programs within a couple of hours. So the fact that he did not find a solution is probably indicative.


Posted by steveylang
Mar 18, 2013 at 05:35 PM


There shouldn’t be any reason a hard drive cannot be Mac partitioned or formatted. To the drive, it’s all just little magnetic bits of 1’s and 0’s. That being said, there might be some firmware that a drive enclosure might have that works only with a specific OS. I’ve never seen it myself, but never say never of course.

Whether Mac or Windows or Linux, most computers have very similar hard drives from the same makers- Toshiba, Western Digital, Samsung, etc.- and as physical devices all are prone to failure over time. Sometimes at a store you’ll see external hard drives being labelled for Mac or Windows, but it’s more marketing than anything else. It takes all of 30 seconds to re-partition and format a drive however you wish.

If you’re a Mac user, I highly recommend using Time Machine, the built-in backup system in Mac OSX. It basically gives you no excuse not to have regular backups! ;-)

Another great option is Dropbox. I actually use both.


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