FAT Arrogance

OK, so maybe it was silly of a student to think he could connect one of our HFS+ FireWire drives to a Windows machine w/1394 card. But the fact that Windows dealt with the incompatibility by overwriting the drive’s file allocation table, rendering the volume unusable on the Mac, is unconscionable.

8 Replies to “FAT Arrogance”

  1. I wasn’t there but the student said there was no warning. It just didn’t mount (of course) and then also failed on the mac. Update: it does mount on OS X, oddly, just not on OS 9. However the disk now crashes OS X’s Disk Utility!

  2. Typical Microsoft. In mac, it just works. In Microsoft, it must be your hardware (because Windows F**ks it up).

  3. OK, so maybe it was silly of a student to think he could connect one of our HFS+ FireWire drives to a Windows machine w/1394 card.

    Scot, just out of curiosity (since I’m in no way an expert on Mac filesystems):

    What version of Windows was this student’s machine running?

    Did this student honestly expect Windows to be able to read a Mac drive natively? (he asked, resisting right manfully the impulse to FDOTFL) If so, why?

    It looks to me as if the student should have been running a third-party program such as MacDrive 5:
    http://www.softwareboy.com/100082g.htm
    or TransMac:
    http://www.asy.com/scrtm_go.htm
    or MacOpener 2000:
    http://www.dataviz.com/products/macopener/
    or ConversionsPlus:
    http://www.dataviz.com/products/conversionsplus/
    …so that when the Mac NFS+ drive was connected to the 1394 port, instead of Windows polling the drive and overwriting the “bad” FAT, the third-party program would have automagically detected a Mac filesystem and known how to translate it for the host OS.

    That said, I entirely agree with you: it is unconscionable, and absolutely obnoxious, for an OS just to overwrite a disk-FAT format it doesn’t recognize.

    (My old Amiga system, in the absence of e.g. CrossDos or CrossMac, dealt with unknown disk formats by simply saying “DHx:NDOS” or “DHx:????”.)

    However the disk now crashes OS X’s Disk Utility!

    I hope you filed a bug report with Apple; that’s one I bet they’d like to know about.

  4. > Did this student honestly expect Windows to be able to read a Mac drive natively? (he asked, resisting right manfully the impulse to FDOTFL) If so, why?

    Why not? Computers are computers, right? Journalism students don’t know that different OSes have different filesystems. They only know their data is on a FireWire drive.

    Hopefully Jaguar’s rewritten Disk Utility is more robust than Jag’s was.

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