Storage setup

Now that we see how digital storage technology works, we can look at configurations for setting up a system. This lesson outlines some system configurations as well as techniques for setup.

Choosing hard drive enclosures
Formatting your disks

Choosing hard drive enclosures

The first step in storage system setup is to choose the basic form factor of the storage. Do you want internal drives, single drive externals or multi-bay externals? The movies in Figures 1 and 2 show you a number of different enclosure types, and shows you how to install drives in them.

Figure 1 This movie presents a number of different types of hard drive enclosures that work for 2.5 inch drives, as well as some single-drive enclosures for 3.5 inch drives

Figure 2 This movie the options for multi-drive enclosures

Formatting your disks

Whenever you put a new disk into service, you will want to format it. You have several choices, depending on the operating system you use.


For Intel Mac computers, drives should be formatted as GUID Partition Table in order to be bootable. An Intel Mac can read a drive formatted as Apple Partition Map, but cannot boot from a drive with this format. An Intel Mac can also read a FAT32 drive (a PC format that is also used on camera memory cards).
For Power PC Macs, (G5 and earlier), the drive must be partitioned as Apple Partition Map in order to boot from it. A PowerPC Mac with operating system later than 10.4 can read a GUID- formatted drive. PPC Macs can also read FAT32 drives.

Both Intel and PPC Macs can read from Windows NTFS-formatted drives, but cannot write to these drives.

Figure 3 How to format a hard drive for a Mac. Video courtesy



PC drives should be formatted as NTFS, unless you know you need to share the drive with someone on a Mac. You can use FAT32 for more compatibility, but keep in mind it is a very old file system. For instance, FAT32 does not support files any larger than 4 GB. Windows computers can also be made to read Macintosh formatted drives (Apple Partition Map or GUID) by using the program MacDrive.

Figure 4 How to format a hard drive for a PC.Video courtesy