How can I use external HD's over 2 TB?

Discussion in 'Apple/Mac' started by Ann_JS, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Ann_JS

    Ann_JS

    493
    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    If you use External HDs, just be sure that you can still write-to and read-from them.

    Another thing: Macs won't let you use more than 2 TBs on an HD so any drive which is bigger then 2 TB will only be partially filled. I had just bought a 4TB dirve and it will have to be sent back and replaced with two smaller ones.
     
  2. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    I'm no expert on Macs, but surely you could have created two 2TB partitions on the 4TB drive?
     
  3. Never heard of that, Ann. I have a 4 TB backup drive that works like a charm.

    Cheers

    Mike
     
  4. HUH? WHAT? This may be your experience but it certainly is not mine!

    For several months I have been using a couple of 5 TB external (spinner) drives without any problem (both previously in HFS+ and more recently converted to APFS) on my Macs, and I also am using a couple of 2 TB Samsung external (SSD) drives which are still on HFS+ even though my machines are now all (recently) converted to APFS. Reading-and-writing from any of them has never been an issue. Before I moved into the 5 TB external drives I was using 4 TB external drives without any problems, too. I'm on "High Sierra" now on my Macs, having made the jump a few days after the new version of macOS was released. The 4 TB external drives worked flawlessly for me in HFS+ and "Sierra," and the newer 5 TB drives have worked flawlessly for me in both HFS+ and APFS.

    Maybe this is a problem with your Mac(s) -- how old are they, what version of the OS are you on? -- or perhaps there is something else which is causing issues for you?

    Right now my external SSD drives are not able to be converted to APFS but I am not worried about that, as I figure this will be ironed out eventually. In the meantime, I can enthusiastically promote the use of external SSD drives -- they're real speed demons, especially when used with a machine which is fairly new and which is SSD-only. Right now, 2 TB seems to be the limit for external SSD (and they are still pretty expensive!) but I imagine that as time goes on and technology progresses further they will be available in larger capacities. I use my external spinner higher-capacity drives for backup and long-term storage and my SSD external drives for what I refer to as "supplemental" drives which give me quick access to files that I don't need to keep on my machines' internal drives but want to have readily handy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  5. Ask Ann -- she's the one who brought up the issue of limitations on external drive capacities..... I jumped in to comment on that aspect, which indeed does seem to attempt to take the thread in another direction altogether. The discussion of external drives would be best suited to a wholly different thread, I quite agree!

    I don't use NIK so cannot respond to your initial query one way or another except to say what I did in my earlier post, prior to Ann's, which is that I have seen comments on MacRumors from others who have experienced issues. There definitely seems to be a problem there.....
     
  6. Ann_JS

    Ann_JS

    493
    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    My Macs are reasonably new but are running on El Capitan because no-one has yet shown me any advantage in moving to Sierra (I have no need for any of Apple's own Apps.)

    My question is: "What Disk Utility (or equivalent) are you using to format your HDs? Apple's Disk Utility offers and recommends GUID and does not offer HFS+ for some reason.
    When I check the HD, after I have formatted it, a single partition is shown as being only 2 TB and two partitions are only 1TB each.

    There are reports all over the Internet about this so I am interested to hear how you have got around the issue.
    I have opened one of my 4TB HDs so can't send it back but the unopened one will be sent back to the store.
     
  7. I am now on "High Sierra," having moved from "Sierra" and of course prior to that a year or so ago from "El Capitan" to "Sierra." That may be part of your problem right there, using an older version of the OS? I can't recall now for sure but I think back in my "El Cap" days I was still using smaller-capacity external drives. I believe that it was in "Sierra" that APFS actually started to be implemented "under the hood," so to speak, but not fully; that full switchover waited until this year's release of "High Sierra."

    As I mentioned in my other post, this discussion of external drives, capacity and so on probably deserves its own thread rather than being injected into the midst of Howard's thread and questions he and others have about the specific issue of NIK plug-ins and their functionality or lack thereof with "High Sierra."
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  8. We all use external drives (or we should be, since they're the way to maintaining backups for our systems).....

    With the advent of "High Sierra," Apple is fully implementing its new file system, APFS. As has been mentioned earlier here and on Apple-related sites, at the moment anyone who upgrades to "High Sierra" on a machine which has a wholly SSD drive is automatically converted to the new system. Those who have a machine with Fusion Drive or who are using a machine which still uses a spinner drive are still remaining with Apple's earlier file system, as there is no automatic conversion (although it can be done manually).

    Interestingly enough, those who use SSD external drives are running into issues with NOT being able to convert to APFS, although one would think that would be a no-brainer since these are SSDs, while external drives on the previous HFS+ system can be readily converted through Disk Utility on "High Sierra." Weird....

    So that's one topic for discussion. A somewhat different one was brought up in another thread, and that has to do with capacity. It has been mentioned that with Macs there is a limit of 2 TB on an external HD so that any drive which is larger than that will only be partially filled. ?? This idea regarding capacities and limitations and such in and of itself deserves to have its own thread and discussion, which could be very helpful and interesting for everyone.

    Things to consider when discussing external drives and their functionality, of course, is what system (Mac hardware) they are being used on and most importantly, what version of the OS, as that can make a huge difference as time goes on. Something which may have been relevant to external drive capacity even just a few years ago may no longer be now at this point in time. What was or was not possible with an older version of the Mac's OS may be regarded totally differently in 2017.

    I mentioned in the other thread that I have found with "High Sierra" that while my internal SSD were automatically converted with no issues and that I could easily convert my external drives which are still using "spinner/platter" drives in Disk Utility that interestingly enough, my external SSD could not be converted to APFS. Fortunately they still work just fine and hand-in-hand with my now-converted APFS machines and I am sure that eventually it will be possible to convert them in Disk Utility but in the meantime there is no urgency and I am still able to use them in the ways I have been doing over the past several years.

    This thread gives us a good opportunity to talk about external drives in detail: how we use them, what capacities we use, how they do or do not work with specific version of the OS, what type of drive (spinner/platter or SSD) works best in which user scenarios, etc.

    Just want to add that it was here on NikonCafe many years ago that I really began to grasp the value of backing up one's hard drive and saving one's valuable files and such..... There are still people out there who don't realize this, even when friends or family have nagged at them about doing backups, and sometimes it takes the loss of data through a fatal hard drive crash to convince them. Even Apple's Time Machine, easy as it is to implement, still has not tempted some into using it.

    External Drives Matter. Backups Matter.... :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  9. Sorry, Ann, I really didn't completely answer your question! I use Apple's Disk Utility on all my Macs and always have. First thing I do when getting a new external drive (if it's not already formatted for the Mac) is to format it to Mac OS Extended Journaled (which is basically HFS+ with journaling added). I don't bother with case sensitivity, as from what I have always understood that can complicate things somewhat.

    I do not partition the external drives but keep them as one partition as I usually use them for backing up folders and files, so I merely copy the material I want to back up over from the internal drive to the external drive, rather than doing a complete cloning of the internal drive. OK, I've just plugged in one of the 5 TB drives and had a look -- "Get Info" brings up the information that it is formatted to APFS (it's a spinner, not a SSD and converted without a hitch) and so far I have available 2.9 TB (10.1 MB purgeable) and have used 2.1 TB on the disk.

    The thought just occurred to me: perhaps what you bought is in a RAID format? That might explain the situation you've mentioned? I know I've seen drives which specify on the box that they're, say, 4 TB RAID as opposed to just a regular hard drive with 4 TB.

    As for still being on El Capitan, which may or may not also have something to do with your situation, one problem with using older versions of any OS is that sometimes security issues crop up which are not then addressed for the older versions even as newer versions are receiving updates. I'm not sure if El Capitan is still being updated when security situations develop -- I don't know how far back Apple goes with those. I do know some people prefer to remain with older versions of the OS because of specific software that is no longer available in a newer version, etc., and there are undoubtedly other reasons as well. A friend of mine is still very happy with Snow Leopard and steadfastly refuses to move into anything more current. Whatever.....
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  10. tenplanescrashing

    tenplanescrashing

    Oct 15, 2008
    GA
    User error...take a look at this article by Apple:
    Mac OS X: Mac OS Extended format (HFS Plus) volume and file limits

    You must be formatting in Mac OS Extended. Anything else is not fully supported by OSX (though OSX can read/write to fat32 and exFat, they both have file size limits and volume limits).
     
  11. Walter

    Walter

    Jan 13, 2006
    Columbia, Maryland
    Walter Rowe
    What model / year is your Mac?
     
  12. Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 4.43.31 PM copy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  13. Ann_JS

    Ann_JS

    493
    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    Walter:
    Thank you for jumping in.

    I mostly use two Macs: a Mac Pro mid-2010 (tower) and an MBP Retina (Late 2013).
    Both are running El Capitan OXS 10.11.6 for reasons of compatability with my other programs.

    From many accounts, Sierra was plagued with problems until its final version and I haven't wanted to risk wrecking my current System which has proved to be entirely reliable and which runs all of my Applications flawlessly.

    I recall that, prior to El Capitan, Disk Utility was far more capable than it is now and allowed many more choices during disk formatting. Apple removed a lot of functionality from DiskUtility in El Capitan. HFS Plus is not offered in my version of DiskUtility: only GUID.

    I can easilly continue to use 2TB HDs for Back-up (as I have been doing) but I was not pleased to realise that a 4TB HD was only able to accept 2TB of data!
    I buy non-encased internal eSATA HDs for Back-up purposes and simply pop them into a Dock when I need to use them.
     
  14. tenplanescrashing

    tenplanescrashing

    Oct 15, 2008
    GA
    I'm running El Cap as well and all of the functions are still there.

    Name - whatever you want to name the drive
    Format - OS X Extended (journaled)
    Scheme - GUID Partition Map

    That's all you'd need to do to be up and running.
     
  15. Walter

    Walter

    Jan 13, 2006
    Columbia, Maryland
    Walter Rowe
    This is a good point. Make sure the drives a GUID partition tables. That could be where you are getting stuck at 2TB. Disks that use MBR (master boot record) partitioning are limited to 32 bits (which means 2TB). Change the partition type to GUID and you will be able to use the entire drive.

    What’s the Difference Between GPT and MBR When Partitioning a Drive?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Ann_JS

    Ann_JS

    493
    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    I am partitioning with GUID but cant put more than 2 TB on the drive.
    This HDD is a "SEAGATE NAS HDD 4TB SATA AF" if that provides any sort of a clue.
     
  17. Walter

    Walter

    Jan 13, 2006
    Columbia, Maryland
    Walter Rowe
    Can you post screen shots of Disk Utility, one with the Partition tab and one with Format tab selected?
     
  18. tenplanescrashing

    tenplanescrashing

    Oct 15, 2008
    GA
    Yeah, this. Because none of this is making any sense.
     
  19. Ann_JS

    Ann_JS

    493
    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    I am wondering if the problem is a result of using the HD as an External in a Firewire-connected Voyager Q Dock?
    The Voyager Q is listed as being able to support 4 TB HDs but perhaps not for formatting them.

    I do have a Toshiba 4TB running internally in the Mac Pro (with all 4TBs usable) but I formatted that HD when I was still using Yosemite.
    I have opened a case with Seagate about this problem and hopefully they will be able to sort it out.

    I did try reformatting the HD again a couple of days ago (in exactly the way in which that Seagate article recommends) but Disk Utility would still only give me access to 2TBs in total.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
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