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-   -   Why can we not record to FAT drives any more? (http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=245924)

NeveSSL 05-12-2009 12:32 PM

Why can we not record to FAT drives any more?
To be honest, this is ridiculous. I now have to have 3 separate harddrives to replace what should be just one.

I have to have one to record with on PCs, one to record with on Macs, and one to actually transfer files between the two.

I'm sorry, but this this is absolutely ridiculous and I cannot believe Digi did this.

Does anyone know why? Is there actually any logic behind this?

Personally, I think this needs to be changed. It is extremely inconvenient and seemingly unnecessary.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


NeveSSL 05-16-2009 07:34 PM

Re: Why can we not record to FAT drives any more?
I had a feeling I would not receive an answer to this question.


Avid 05-16-2009 09:28 PM

Re: Why can we not record to FAT drives any more?
As I recall, one of the reasons was because of FAT32 limitations in Vista, but there were other reasons that FAT32 for recording was dropped. There is some discussion about this in this thread from 2007:

Who is using FAT 32 for recording and why?

One option would be to do everything (record, playback, transfer) on a Mac HFS+ formatted drive. Newer versions of Pro Tools allow recording to HFS+ drives on both Mac and Windows...

Hard Drive Requirements — Pro Tools LE for Windows

Mac HFS+ Disk Support Option
Pro Tools 7.3 and higher only

The Mac HFS+ Disk Support option lets you interchange sessions between Mac-based and Windows-based Pro Tools systems using local HFS+ (Mac OS Extended) formatted hard drives.

With the Mac HFS+ Disk Support option installed on a Windows computer, you can mount an HFS+ drive on a Windows-based Pro Tools system, and record and play back Pro Tools sessions directly on that drive as if it were natively formatted (for example, NTFS or FAT32) for Windows.
  • A Digidesign-qualified Pro Tools|HD® system or Pro Tools LE™ system running Pro Tools 7.3 or higher on a Windows computer
  • A qualified hard drive formatted on a Mac computer as HFS+ (Mac OS X Extended)

For more information, including installation instructions and session compatbility, see the Mac HFS+ Disk Support Guide (available for download below).

For systems lower than Pro Tools 7.3, Mac HFS+ formatted drives are supported on Windows XP for transfer only by using MacDrive 6 software by Mediafour (purchased separately).

NeveSSL 05-16-2009 09:41 PM

Re: Why can we not record to FAT drives any more?
Thank you for the reply. I stand corrected. :)

I have heard the HFS+ in Windows only works on PT LE. Is this correct? I'm running MPowered and that would knock me out of the running, needless to say.

What FAT32 limitations are there in Vista? I've got a drive (that used to be my main PT drive) that is FAT32, 320gb, and does fine. FAT32 isn't supported as a bootable drive in Vista, but it will still read and write fine.

Regardless, I will give the HFS+ thing a shot. That will bring it down to two drives, I suppose. Still, transferring between two systems, one Mac and one PC presents a challenge.

Thanks again for the reply.


NeveSSL 05-16-2009 09:54 PM

Re: Why can we not record to FAT drives any more?
After reviewing more, to be honest, the list of issues and comparisons between FAT32 and NTFS only have to do with the operating system as far as I could tell. Anything having to do with using them with ProTools was not mentioned at all.

Just fwiw. :)


Avid 05-16-2009 09:56 PM

Re: Why can we not record to FAT drives any more?
Besides not being able to install Vista on FAT32, Microsoft removed the ability to format as FAT32 in Vista. There are workarounds that do allow you to do that if you do a search for FAT32 and Vista, but it is not in the normal formatting tool in Vista. And the information here:
Comparing NTFS and FAT file systems

You are correct that Mac HFS+ support is not included with M-Powered.
What I don't know is whether or not you can add MacDrive, and use it with M-Powered to record to an HFS+ drive in Windows:

You might want to ask on the M-Powered Windows forum to see if anyone is doing that.

Even if you were not able to record to an HFS+ drive in M-Powered, you would still be able to use an HFS+ drive for transfer if you had MacDrive installed on your Windows computer.

NeveSSL 05-16-2009 10:01 PM

Re: Why can we not record to FAT drives any more?
Right. There are also workarounds to the 32gb limitation.

I will look into MacDrive, but I don't like the thought of relying on a "wrapper" of sorts, to handle recording info. Seems potentially unstable. Especially when FAT32 is already readable and writable on both OS's. ;)

Thanks again for your replies.


D3lta 05-19-2009 05:50 PM

Re: Why can we not record to FAT drives any more?
You don't want to format to NTFS?

NeveSSL 05-19-2009 06:54 PM

Re: Why can we not record to FAT drives any more?
Nope... not for my recording/storage drives simply because I work a lot on PCs and MACs, and NTFS can't be written to by Macs and HFS+ can't be written to by PCs. At least not natively. ProTools LE allows for using HFS+ drives in Windows, but that still doesn't help me transfer between systems, not to mention I'm on M-Powered and HD systems primarily anyway. :)

But now that's all lost. So what it comes down to is that there's not a single drive that can be used to record to, play from, and transfer with because ProTools doesn't support FAT32 any more. I am now going to have to have 3 drives and do a lot of file transfers from one drive to another to switch between Macs and PCs. For a storage drive, FAT32 is more than fine. Take a guess what thumb drives are formatted to. ;)

The only advantages that I can see to NTFS are related to the operating system and not so much to storage. I would imagine there may be some storage advantages to NTFS, but other than that, there is nothing. Some may say the 32GB max of FAT32, but there are MANY programs that will format a drive larger than 32GB to FAT32, just google it.

For a lot of people, this is not an issue. But for those of us that work on both PCs and Macs, this adds a couple of steps and, quite honestly, I can't see a reason why.

Digidesign may have a reason other than "not many people use it", and they certainly are not obligated to share it with any of us, but I would definitely like to know. This is a pain in the rear and, to be honest when considering the other "ProTools Thorns", I may switch and keep ProTools and Translator for when I need to share with someone who has a ProTools rig. Then again, I may not. I'm not sure just yet.

This is just me, though, and I do believe I very well may be in the minority, which means nothing will change. :) Everyone else doesn't seem to be mixing systems quite as much as I need to.


Craig F 05-19-2009 07:43 PM

Re: Why can we not record to FAT drives any more?
I have seen an app for Mac that will let you write to a NTFS drive
it spoofs the drive as a network volume

I don't remember the name right now

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