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Shared HDD between Mac & PC
  • Hi all, So I have just migrated to a macbook pro. I want to make my old PC laptop a render station where it can access all the project files edited on the MAC so I can keep on working on other projects while the PC renders. Is it possible to do this on a DAS setup of some sort? In essence have the two laptops connected directly to read and write from the once source (not at the same time obviously).

    Would something like this do the job?


  • 17 Replies sorted by
  • It is not possible in a DAS setup without buying specialized software. To share between PC and Mac, you'd need to use some variant of FAT or NTFS and neither was designed for direct shared access. It'd be more sensible to set one up as a fileserver and use gigabit ethernet (unless someone has made a port of GFS2 or similar available for Mac and Windows - it's a filesystem designed for multiple systems accessing at the same time as DAS).

    Ah, just re-read and saw that you said "not at the same time." Sure. That's easy and sane. Just use a filesystem that both can use. USB 3 is fast and reliable. Thunderbolt is unnecessary.

  • USB 3 switch

    There are other USB switches for peripherals that don't work with hard drives.

  • Thanks guys. I purchased some software to allow both pc and mac to read each others file sys. Was looking for a solution where I would not need unplug and move hdds from one comp to another.

    To be more specific, ideally i'd like to have multiple video projects on the one storage device, finalise edit on the mac then open up the project on the pc and render off and go back to opening up another project on the mac to edit again. This does sound like same time file access.

    That usb3 switch looks like a low cost alternative though. thanks

  • Just format your drive/s NTFS and use Tuxura on Mac to allow writing to the NTFS drive/s. NTFS is a lot more stable/reliable on Mac than HFS is on Windows. I have multiple raid drives that I use in Mac and Windows on same machine and have never had an issue. cheers.

  • thanks. Im currently using Paragon between the two. Would you suggest formatting NTFS on Windows as it lets you customise cluster size?

    Have you ever setup simultaneous access between PC and MAC on your Raid drives, similar to what I am looking at achieving? I think what I am after is a bit more complicated than first thought.

  • DONT SUFFER ANY MORE i use this from RAW to avchd directly to premiere and runs real good

    go to pirate bay if you dontwant to pay.

    good luck.

  • For Premiere editing, what steps would be between PC and macbook Pro?
    I assume you would have to save Raw AVCHD in external hard drive.Edit and save project, all previews files in that external hard drive. Get done from Macbook pro. Bring that external hard drive to PC have mac drive installed , let it export to final format? Am I missing something here or what else should be add to?

  • @ MrFanny- I have never had simultaneous access from both platforms, I have OSX on one SSD and Windows on another, so shut down and boot into other OS. I was told long ago by a tech guy that dual access was problematic at best, if you want this, maybe start looking at a server.

    @ Endotoxic. Why would you use Macdrive as a preference? There are many tales of woe where macdrive has corrupted whole drives and lost TB of work. NTFS plays fine with Mac.

  • Paragon has been working well for me so far, but thanks guys

    @tinbeo I figured it be that simple too. I just wanted to eliminate the physical need to unplug from one comp to another thats all. Keep workflow more streamline and have the desk less cluttered with portable hdds and cables.

  • You need to unplug any ordinary disk to move to another computer, only a NAS can handle that.

    But why is nobody suggesting ExFAT? Works on both sides.

  • @ endotoxic
    Been There Done That but not easy as I thought.
    I just finish a project on my macbook pro retina. Everything was set on external hard drive as I posted. Problem is PC with MacDrive installed would not accept that external as scratch disk and asked me to set my scratch disks to my documents folder in PC. In PC I open a new project, set shared permission to external hard drive, set scratch disk to that external hard drive...still no work. I had to accept my document in PC as scratch disk to open that project. Problem is now it created lots of new PEK files in that external hard drive.
    It seems to me that PC has to re do all preview files again with this kind of external project from MAC

  • Has anyone had a better way of sharing beetween mac and pc as first qquestion of this thread? I want to build a pc server with same purpose of rendering on it. Could some one point me to the right way. Nowaday, i am on the run with my Retina. I assume that I have to upload on that server and edit from my server?still no way for my old brain -;)

  • Put HDDs in your server and use remote desktop :-)

  • As I said before, with DAS, no standard filesystem exists that safely allows simultaneous access. There are some available for Linux (GFS2), but to the best of my knowledge there are no non-commercial (and expensive!) variants that would work on Mac and PC. Just set up one system to share over the network and mount its drives from the other. Gigabit ethernet is fast enough for most video editing use cases including 1080p raw (if you can write it out to a 95MB/s card (760 megabit), you're not even close to 1 gigabit).

  • ExFAT is the way way to go, it's also why many camera's record into this partition format nowadays.

  • In my experience when using exFat to share with Mac and PC it is best to format the drive on the PC.

    I have found that if formatted on the Mac, some PC's while able to read are unable to write to the disk.
    I have never experienced this when the drive has been formatted on the PC.
    I do not know why :)