5/25/12

MacMost Now 714: Sharing a Drive Between Mac and PC

Learn about the different hard drive formats like Mac OS, NTFS and FAT32. Find out how you can use NTFS drives with a Mac, and Mac OS drives using Windows. See how FAT32 formatted drives can be used to store files accessible to both systems.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary with MacMost now. On today's episode let's look how to implement notifications using Safari 6 and Java Script. So this is something for web developers. Using Java Script on your web pages you can use the Mountain Lion notifications feature along with Safari 6. It is just a matter of knowing the right Java Script to put in there. So I have made a simple example. So let's look at the code first. It is a very simple html example. I have a script here in the header. Of course this would be in a dot JS file normally. I have two functions that I define. The first is going to ask the user permission to send notification from this web page. The second is to send the notification. Then I've got here at the bottom some very simple links here to trigger either one of these. So the ask function basically it will send to the console here just the permission level so that I can see what the permission level is. Now there are three different permission levels that you need to be concerned about. The first one is the default which means the user has never done anything to enable to disable notification from this page. So it what you are going to get when the user clicks this. The second is denied which means they have said no. The third is granted which means they are going to allow notifications so notifications will work. So, I'm just going to output that there. That's not part of the regular code of course. This is testing windows dot notification tells you whether or not the browser has the ability. So if somebody is going to a browser other than Safari 6 right now then the code inside here won't work and the key thing here is that notification.request permission which will basically put up a dialog box that we will look at soon that will ask the user if the web page can send them notifications. It has to have a function in here as the parameter so in this case I am just going to create a simple function that sends again the log to the console so that you can see that they have changed it so the perfect thing would be that it starts off saying default and then it goes and says granted. The second function is to actually send a notification and this will also test for windows dot notification. It will log the permission level as well which should be granted. Now here I am testing the permission level so it should be granted in order to continue or otherwise this next command won't have any effect. You use new notification to create notification and the parameters are pretty straight forward. This is the title notification. Then you have this object here, and it has to be an object with different parameters in it. This is all optional. You could just send the one for testing. In this optional set of parameters you have going to have body which is the actual bit of text that will display under the title. So you have to have that of course. It is the whole point. You also want to have something called the tag. The tag is some sort of number or key word that you will use to identify that notification. Now this is good because it prevents multiple notifications being sent. So in this case it will be called test0 if the page for some reason sends test0 more than one time it is not going to list it multiple times. So basically it is an ID for the notification and then you can have various functions that react to events. So you have on click, on show, on close, and on error. Now "on click" is what happens when the user gets a little alert and it says close or show me the notification. On click is what will then happen when they select that. So it is the most logical one to use for something in Java Script. "On close" is when they dismiss it and "on show" is when it appears and there may be a delay if the system does not show it immediately and it is good to have that call back and of course "on error" is self explanatory. So I'm I am going to have that call back and let's go and take a look when we go this page in Safari 6. So here I am at this page in Safari and I've got my two links. So let's try the first one which is going to ask permission and you can see it comes up with the dialog box. I'm can hit allow or don't allow. I'm going to hit allow and one of the things I am going to look at now is under preferences in notifications. I can see it now lists MacMost and has it set to allow. I can set it to deny and I can remove it. So, that's the settings in there and shows the ask permission does work. Now I am going to hit send notification. And there it is; it appears on the right as a notification and if I click on it it will run that alert, that function and show what I want. So it kind of reacts. Its like if you put a notification out there that something is going on the user goes over there and clicks on it and your web page reacts to that. Of course, in system preferences under notifications they could change how Safari shows the alert. So they can also go to the alert here rather than the banner and if they do that then send notification will change and you see it will come up here with the close and show. Close will do nothing. Send notification show will then actually act as if they had clicked on the banner. So a few things. First, I still find this a little bit buggy. When developing this simple sample script I ran into times when Safari simply ignored it. And I just quit Safari and restarted it again and it worked. So, that should be ironed out soon. The other thing is when do you use this? Well it only works if the web page is actually active and open, it is not like you can have somebody accept a notification and then reach out and send them one when they are not at their web site. So for pages that have chat windows or pages that are video conferencing or perhaps a page that's multi player game it can be useful because you can have Java Script send notification and if the person is not looking at their Safari window or perhaps it is in another tab or it is hidden, they will get the notification whereas if you did an in-page notification using Java Script or something else they might not see it if the page is not open. So it is useful for that. It is also useful for developing Safari extensions and developing applications that have Java Script imbedded in them if you want to use notifications and it supports the whole web kit thing. So you have got a lot of different options there and I am sure in the future we will see some interesting uses for it. For instance I can see implementing it at MacMost perhaps having a link saying notify me when you vist MacMost and there is some new security information. And if I post a new article about some new security threat next time you visit MacMost even if you are looking at a tutorial on something different you will get a notification saying Hey, there is an article here that you might want to check out. So that is one possible use for it. We will probably see a lot more uses over the next months and years. I hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost now.

19 Responses to “MacMost Now 714: Sharing a Drive Between Mac and PC”

  1. Andrew says:

    I am disappointed that you did not spend a little more time on ExFAT. I understand that you need a slightly “newer” OS, but that is not entirely true as you will see.

    ExFAT requirements:

    Mac OS 10.6.5 or above.
    Windows XP/Server 2003 with the required KB 955704 patch (free from Microsoft)
    Windows Vista – built in
    Windows 7 – built in

    ExFAT removes all the limitations from all the older archaic formats. The files size limit is currently not fathomable. In essence there is no limit for what we have available today.

    Second is that it is FULLY READ/WRITE for both Mac and PCs. NTFS is read only on Mac OS and a pain to purchase or download the free NTFS patch. ExFAT is free.

    The issue you list in the video about Mac applications behaving erratically or not at all on certain formats other than HTFS are gone with ExFAT. They work as normal.

    You made a slight error, or not an error, but a statement that needs “enhancing”. ExFat is available from Mac OS X 10.6.5 and later. You said Lion. This opens up a lot of additional machines that can utilize this format.

    The only caveat for both Mac and Windows is that you can not create a bootable drive using ExFAT. I know you were not talking about boot drives at all and strictly dealing with data.

    For straight data storage and transfer ExFAT is THE best option to move people towards if their machines meet the requirements listed.

    I am a technician and use a 320GB external mini drive in ExFAT to store all of my installers that are just too large to wait for internet downloads.

    I do keep an old FAT32 formatted USB stick with the Windows XP drivers for ExFAT handy that also has the Mac OS 10.6.5 combo update (or later) for fast updates to use the drive.

    Thanks for the video.

    • Thanks for all the info Andrew! I was kinda hoping someone would step forward who had a lot of experience with ExFAT and give some details. :)

    • pcmac says:

      10.6.8 was great – format to exFAT, enable network sharing… drag & drop / arrange files via network, unplug that drive, bring it to a windows comp – worked perfect! but now….. the HUGE problem with exFAT (as well as fat32/ntfs) is that our fellow d-bags at Apple seem to have cut network support for these formats starting OSX 10.7; if you know of a work-around, please reply!

  2. Ed Duffy says:

    Great video Gary. As a matter of fact, I do use a flash drive between Windows 7 and Mac OS X machines. However, the majority of the time those files are word documents and Excel or PowerPoint presentations. I also, don’t have any issues watching movies I saved on a flash drive between systems. The portion you stated on how to format the flash drive was very helpful. Thanks again.

  3. MetalStorm says:

    Great info Gary. The info that Andrew provided is new for me and I’ll definitely try it the next time I format a drive. I have a 1.5 Tb portable drive and I’ve partitioned it into 3 drives – one partition for Mac OS, one for FAT 32, and another for Time machine. This lets me use the drive on client MS computers, my Macs, and keep my MacBook backed up. Partitioning a drive on a Mac is so easy, especially compared to MS operating systems.

  4. Ric says:

    I have a 500gb fujitsu external HD. It’s not accessible on my white macbook 2.4GHz intel core 2 duo with snow leopard 10.6.8 unless I reformat. I could not reformat without taking out the HD from the casing thus voiding warranty. I decided to experiment and try ubuntu 10.04.1LTS. Prepared a 30GB MS DOS format partition on the macbook and then booted ubuntu from a usb. Eventually, I am able to share files between formats. Even wrote an article on it.http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-boot-ubuntu-macbook-using-usb-part-2-0128746

    • What do you mean by “could not reformat without taking out the HD from the casing” — I’ve never heard of that. You can reformat using Disk Utility on a Mac or similar functionality in Windows. You can’t need to open up the hardware at all.

      • Ric says:

        I`ve tried reformatting my external HD on windows vista before. I think the hardware`s got some sort of restriction. It`s almost full now so a reformat is out of the question.

  5. Sharad says:

    I have a peculiar problem: I have a Mac with a failed internal HDD, so I bought an external (USB) HDD, and installed Lion on it. So my Mac boots and runs from this ext HDD. Now, to enable me to use that HDD with other machines (windows), I split the drive into another partition formatted in exFAT format. If I pull this drive out of the Mac and connect to a PC, both partitions (Mac Lion and exFAT) are readable. But I was hoping to share the exFAT partition over my home network. I have gone through all instructions for sharing Mac with PC. The funny thing is: files on the Mac Lion partition are visible in my Windows machine. The exFAT partition is also visible. But when I click on that partition, it says “… is not accessible. You might not have permission…” (even though I have explicitly given access to that partition via the Mac sharing settings). Any suggestions? (Sorry for the long and complicated story)

    • J-P says:

      In the end, you are going to told that this is not a supported setup. Of course there is NO reason to set up an ExFat partition in OSX other than to have a volume accessible to both OSX and Windows, but the moment you tell em that you can’t access the drive from Windows, the support ends, and cause of your problem is said to be Windows.

      Your problem is NOT Windows, but OSX. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy nut, Something within OSX deliberately prohibits the access of a local ExFat partition shared over the network ONLY when accessed by Windows PC’s. Use another Mac, and you’ll have no problems, but again, why would someone use ExFat on a Mac, if not to have the drive accessed by Windows? They wouldn’t. So it begs the question, why even have the option in OSX to set up ExFat, if you can’t use it as it was intended?

      • I would imagine that most people looking to use ExFAT on a Mac would be doing so to create a transport drive — one they connect to a Mac, then disconnect and reconnect to a Windows machine.
        It doesn’t make much sense to hook a drive up to a Mac formatted as ExFAT and then share that drive. If the drive will be hooked to a Mac, format it for Mac. You can still access it via network sharing. The Mac handles the file transfer, it doesn’t matter that it is formatted for Mac as far as the Windows machine is concerned.

  6. Simon David Allen says:

    I’m not sure I’d describe Windows XP as archaic!
    It works – which is more than can be said for Vista,
    and it is not prohibitively expensive, which is more than can be said for W8.

    Most of our PCs are still running XP – it works just fine and we can see no need to change. If I want a workhorse for business programs, XP is fine. If I want an elegant OS then I use my Mac!

  7. Kika Wai'Alae says:

    Ok here is my situation. I have 2 macs, one runs mountain lion the other is running on windows 7. Windows 7 is used to operate a Brothers GT-782 printer which only has a PC driver. I would prefer to use a Mac but donʻt thinks its possible yet. My Macbook Pro is where I create the designs to print using Adobe Photoshop. I just purchased a My Passport external 1TB drive to store and to transport the file to the iMac which also uses Adobe thats running the printer. So from what I read am I correct to format the Passport to ExFAT and that will solve my problem? I looked into the iCloud but I donʻt think windows will upload it there for my MacBook pro to access. Thanks in advance.

    • ExFAT should, yes. Both Mac and Windows can read it. If that doesn’t work, try FAT32 which definitely will. You should be able to put files on it from your Mac and then move the drive to your Windows machine and open the files there.
      Another solution would have simply been to run Parallels or VMWare with Windows 7 on your Mac. But if you already own the PC and the drive, then I guess it is too late for that.

  8. Kika says:

    Gary I just replaced my bad hd in my iMac and when i boot up using snow leopard I cannot see my airport to restore my files. I can see the new HD and my external but no Airport/Time machine. What am I not doing correctly? Thanks

    • Impossible for me to say without being there. Have you gone into your network settings and tried to connect to that network again? There are a lot of things to try.

  9. Helen says:

    I have a PC at home and at school we use Mac’s. I’m in a Typography class and need to bring projects home to work on them. We use Adobe applications such as Photoshop and are presently using Illustrator. I have a 500G external HD that is NTFS and would like to switch it to ExFat. If I do this, can I bring projects home from the Mac and edit them on my PC? Any help would be appreciated.

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