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How can I transfer files from my old PC to my new Macbook using an external hard drive?

I’m taking my mac book to college with me and I want to take my music and pictures off of my PC and take them with me, but I don’t want them to slow down my computer so i want to put them on an external hard drive. But Im not sure how to do this, what type of external hard drive I should buy, or if files can be transferable between Macs and PCs. Anyone know anything? Thanks!

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5 Responses to “How can I transfer files from my old PC to my new Macbook using an external hard drive?”

  1. josephz2va said :

    Using a PC formatted External Hard Drive:
    * Open the directory where the folders are
    * Open the EHD main directory
    * Put the two folders side by side
    * Select the folder(s) of transfer, drag them to the EHD main directory

    They’ll copy/move over

    Reverse for the Mac as it’s universal. The Mac reads most PC drives and can reformat the drive if you want and turn it into a Time Machine backup.

  2. Big S said :

    Save yourself a few bucks. Find an online storage site where you can backup your files. Just push them up with your pc, then log onto the site with your mac and pull em down.

  3. m_d_craig said :

    you should probably have to think about making data dvd’s for the transfer, mac and pc have diffrent file systems. BTW putting files on the mac book is not going to ‘slow it down’, having to use the files from a external drive will be a little slower. you might want to think about uploading them to a web based server like flicker or piccasa, then you don’t have to have them on your laptop, and then you can access them from anywhere, plus it’s a safe backup.

  4. J said :

    Music and photos really shouldn’t slow your Mac down. From my experience it’s nice to have your music and photos on your machine to take them where ever and not need to have a hard drive plugged in keeping your Mac portable (assuming it is a laptop). Also assuming you are buying a external hard drive that is portable (no external power source) you won’t drain your batteries as fast.

    Transferring is simple, drag the music onto the hard drive from your current iTunes, eject the drive, plug into your Mac, open the drive and drag the music right back into an open iTunes window. Same thing with pictures except drag them into iPhoto.

  5. Chris said :

    While on-line storage and storing the files on the MacBook itself are options, you asked specifically about an external, so I’ll answer that 🙂

    Mac’s can read/write to drives that are Windows formatted (FAT) but Windows PC’s cannot read/write to drives formatted Mac (Journaled): you can buy any hard drive you want and then just format it FAT (you can do that through Disk Utilities on your MacBook very easily).

    Once you have it formatted, plug it to your PC and simply drag the folders/files you want to use on the Mac. Then eject the drive, plug it into your Mac, and you are done! You can go into both iTunes and iPhoto and under Settings you can tell those apps to find the media on the external. Easy as that!

    I’ve got a LOT of external hard drives (about 9 right now) and I’ve got almost all of them at – they have awesome prices, fast shipping, and a great return policy (if you end up needing it).

    I hope that helps! 🙂


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