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It seems like Lion supports NTFS (by plugging in a USB Flash drive which is NTFS). So for hard drives such as the WD Passport or Toshiba 1TB, which are made for the PC (running Windows XP/Vista/7), they can be used on the Mac running Mac OS X Lion as well?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

2 things:

1) They are not "made for" PCs, they may simply come pre-formatted. If they are USB, they will almost certainly work with any OS known to man that supports USB

2) NTFS support is read only, you cannot write (without 3rd party software) but you can format as Fat 32 or EXFAT etc and have the drive be read/write by almost any OS including Windows/Mac/Linux etc/

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so is it best to format all USB drives as exFAT? since FAT won't support files larger than 4GB. – 太極者無極而生 Apr 16 '12 at 21:22
I would say so, there are other differences, but I cannot recall them well enough to dare include them for fear of misinformation. – stuffe Apr 16 '12 at 21:27
Other problems with FAT32 - 32GB maximum partition size, inefficient storage (files occupy more space than they should) due to cluster allocation method, also they use ugly uppercase names in Finder. If you must have the widest compatibility it is best but has some disadvantages. – Adam Eberbach Apr 16 '12 at 23:49

If you want to share the drive across Windows and OSX (so that both can see the same files) then the suggestions about FAT apply.

As well as the FAT problems there is loss of precision of timestamps, DST problems. In addition OSX will write a lot of stuff to the drive which is confusing to Windows.

If you do not need to share files you are better to format the drive as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) using Disk Manager

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