How to partition 120 GB hard drive MacBook for OSX+Win (BC+Par.)? Fat/NFTS?

Discussion in 'Installation and Configuration of Parallels Desktop' started by towbe, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. towbe

    towbe Bit poster

    After many happy years with my PowerBook G4 12" (I will miss it definitely, as compact and cute as it is ;-() I'll now switch to a new MacBook 2.16 GHz with 2 GB RAM and a 120 GB hard drive.

    I will have to use Windows (not yet sure if XP or Vista), as I need special software not available for the Mac, so my choice will be Parallels, so that I can work in Os X and at the same time use those Windows Apps I need.

    However, I also want to be able to boot Windows-only with BootCamp, so I already learned I have to install Windows on its own partition.

    So my question is:
    How shall I partition the hard drive?

    * If I have one big partition for OSX + documents and the rest (maybe 30 or 40 GB) for Windows, I won't be able to access my documents from Windows, right?

    * So I would have to keep the data I want to access from within Windows on a PC formatted partition (if I don't want to pay for a software like MacDrive)?
    Or can Windows running in Parallels read from a HFS partition?

    * Does this mean: if I want to access (read and write) my documents in OSX and Windows, I have to keep them on a Fat32 partition? (Or can OSX with Parallels also read and write NTFS Volumes?)
    -> This could be the partition where Windows is installed (but I'm not sure if I feel comfortable with that solution) of I would need a 3rd partition (Fat32) for data which would cause quite a big "segmentation" of the hard drive.

    How did you resolve this problem?
    Unfortunately, I don't see that I could really "separate" data I only have to access from Windows and those I only want to access in OS X, so in my opinion for me they all have to be in one place.

    Looking forward to your comments,

  2. itsdapead

    itsdapead Hunter

    With Parallels 3, while the VM is running, the Windows (NTFS) drives also turn up, mounted read-write on your OSX desktop. This is a new feature (previously you could have used file sharing on the windows VM to access them, though).

    With the VM shut down, OSX mounts the NTFS partitions read only.

    There are also a pair of free products - MacFUSE and NTFS-3g - that let OSX read/write NTFS partitions. However, I found this didn't play nice with Parallels v2 - and Parallels v3 uses (an old version) of this for the Parallels Explorer, so I uninstalled it before upgrading to Parallels v3...

    FWIW I have a NTFS "C" partition a big NTFS data partition and a smaller, FAT32 partition that can be read/written by OSX. However - I'm not sure if the BootCamp tools will let you do this - since I had a Mac Pro I just did a bare-metal Windows install on a new HD (while the precious OSX hard drive sat safely on the desk).
  3. James Bond 007

    James Bond 007 Hunter

    A lot of questions.

    (1) The question of how to partition your hard drive depends on how much disk space you need for Windows and Mac OS X. There is no fixed way. If you are going to use Windows XP, and if you only need Windows for one or two programs then I think 10-15GB for the Windows partition should be enough, though you may consider a larger size say 20-30GB to cater for any additional need that may arise. Note that you can use the FAT32 partition type if your Windows partition is not larger than 32GB. This type allows you to read and write to the Windows partition while in Mac OS X.

    If you are going to use Vista, or your Windows partition is larger than 32GB, then you can only use the NTFS system, which means you won't be able to write to it from Mac OS X. Note also that Windows Vista requires much more disk space to install and run than XP and a 30GB partition is practically a minimum.

    (2) Yes, you won't be able to access the Mac OS X partition and any data on it when you are running Windows. However, this can be remedied with the help of a third party software called MacDrive. This software, when installed into Windows, allows you to read (and write if you want) Mac OS X partitions. But note that if you use it, you must be vigilant to prevent your Windows partition from being infected with viruses and spywares, since with MacDrive the viruses and spywares may also gain access to the Mac partition.

    (3) If you have setup a shared folder in the Parallels VM, then Windows running inside it can access the files in the shared folder. This shared folder can be anywhere on your Mac partition, which essentially means Windows will have access to specific files you want on the Mac partition.

    (4) Yes, essentially you are correct. Mac OS X can only read from NTFS, not write to it. But to use FAT32 as the Windows partition type means you have to use Windows XP, not Vista. With Vista you will not be able to select a FAT32 partition to install Vista to.


Share This Page