How can I use my old computer hard drive as an external hard drive with my new Mac?

jason franklin July 25, 2012
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I just bought a new Mac. I took my old hard drive out of my old computer, and put it in an external hard drive case. I would like to use this hard drive, without having to reformat. I also have an empty 1TB hard drive with no case that has not been formatted with any operating system.

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  1. LaDonna Garner
    October 24, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    I agree with many of the above possible options i.e. NTFS or software. But in my case, I chose to keep the old hard drive (PC) unformatted and just copy over files as I need them to my MAC. Then the majority of files are readable and editable on my MAC. The few that are not, I just use a flashdrive and transfer them over directly and haven't had a problem...but it may depend on the software you have installed on the MAC vs the software the files were created on the old computer.

  2. jerry sawyer
    October 22, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I think you better use a new hard drive in order not to encounter delay in your work. You can really use the old one, but like Mortisha Brown said, you will have to wait fo tons of files to be read everytime you want to use it. Which is really not good at all.

  3. Theo Reisinger
    October 8, 2012 at 7:30 am

    If it's from a Windows PC, you will need something to read NTFS

  4. Mortisha Brown
    September 24, 2012 at 7:50 am

    It is possible to use your old hard drive without any reformating, only just like a flash drive, you can save in it. The only hassle is that everytime you want to use it and there are tons of files in it, you have to wait the system to read it first, then if you're done using, you just simply unplug it like unplugging a USB drive.

  5. 573d1210d64cc82ed1979188e3b9622a
    September 7, 2012 at 11:13 pm
  6. VictorGeis
    August 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    You definitely want NTFS on your Mac. Plus it'll be useful for using drives with Windows in the future.

  7. Victor Cesto
    August 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Plug your old HD in an external case and use Paragon NTFS to read and write NTFS files.

  8. UD98
    July 27, 2012 at 1:52 am

    buy an enclosure and use mounter

  9. Dylan Brendan
    July 26, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    download mounter, this is a great one!
    http://ntfs-mounter.en.softonic.com/mac
    Easily mount your old hd drive to your new OS.

  10. Mike
    July 25, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    If your old computer was running Windows you will have to get a NTFS file system driver for Mac.
    http://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/
    http://www.tuxera.com/products/tuxera-ntfs-for-mac/
    http://macntfs-3g.blogspot.co.at/

    If your old computer was a Mac too and you already have the old hard drive in an external case all you have to do is connect it to the new Mac.

    If you don't want to reformat it you will (obviously) have to deal with a lot of space being used up by old system files etc.
    Also you have to be careful when using Spotlight since the external hard drive will be indexed by default and when searching for an application Spotlight might show the old version from the external drive rather than the current one from the internal one.

    Not sure what to make out of your factory state 1TB hard drive.
    (a) get a second external case for it

    (b) If your older hard drive is way smaller than the 1TB create an image of it on your Mac, then put the 1TB in the external case, format it in HFS+ and copy the contents of the image too it.
    Now you have a large hard drive with a lot of free space and the contents of the old drive.

    (c) use one case with both drives by changing them (might be cumbersome)

    • jason franklin
      July 26, 2012 at 3:28 am

      Which of the paragon programs would you recommend? My old hard drive used windows xp If I can figure out how to make the image of the old drive, and put the new 1TB drive in, I will probably end up doing that.

      • Laga Mahesa
        July 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm

        Look into getting a drive dock, rather than using an enclosure. I use a single, but dual ones can be found with little hassle. This will allow rapid switching and allow you to use both drives with no problems.

  11. Alex
    July 25, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    BTW, You can get Paragon NTFS for Mac right here for free.
    http://www.makeuseof.com/rewards/

  12. Ravi Meena
    July 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    download this
    http://ntfs-mounter.en.softonic.com/mac

    it will mount your old drive in your ios

  13. ha14
    July 25, 2012 at 3:17 pm
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