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Forums Storage & Archiving Question about Seagate external drives compatibility

  • Question about Seagate external drives compatibility

     Jenn Lindsay updated 1 month ago 5 Members · 6 Posts
  • Jenn Lindsay

    July 23, 2020 at 11:16 am

    Hi folks!

    I’m working on a documentary series that started filming in 2015. I’m using FCPX to cut 8 half-hour episodes on a late 2013 iMac with OS10.13.6. Here’s the rough cut of the series:

    Since there is so much footage and each episode has its own library, the series is spread over many external drives. Happily, as time goes on I can get bigger-capacity drives for less money, so I just acquired a Seagate Backup Plus 10TB drive to put ALL the episode libraries on in order to bring the whole dang series to final cut. To back that drive up, I got a second Seagate, but this one is a Seagate Expansion 10TB (I’m working in Rome and ordering off Amazon, but couldn’t find another Backup Plus so I ordered the Expansion version).

    I might have done something stupid and I’m looking for help. I might even be freaking out over something that is not a big deal, and all I need is someone to talk me down. I have no idea. I’ve managed to paralyze myself with my technological ignorance. Usually I learned what is necessary to know as I go, but sometimes not-knowing backs me into a corner.

    Okay, so here’s the situation.

    Usually, with Seagate MyPassport drives, they aren’t even recognized on the desktop when I first plug them in. I usually go into Disk Utility to erase the drive and reformat to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the Format, with GUID as the Scheme. The Seagate Backup Plus 10TB drive box said “use between Windows and Mac.” When I first plugged in the Seagate Backup Plus 10TB drive to copy the episode libraries from the several scattered 3TB and 4TB drives I’ve been toting around for the duration of the project, the Backup Plus drive was recognized on the desktop right away and so I didn’t reformat it. It accepted all the transferred files and I’ve been able to open every library, start working on the drive, save everything, and it all seems to be functioning perfectly.

    So this morning the new Seagate Expansion 10TB drive arrived, and I’m unboxing it and getting ready to clone the first Backup Plus 10TB drive. The box for the second Expansion drive says “formatted for Windows” so I assume I will need to erase and reformat it like I usually do (to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and GUID as the Scheme).

    It occurred to me that I didn’t reformat the Backup Plus drive when I first connected it. I thought to myself “maybe I should just confirm that it is the normal Mac OS Extended (Journaled)/GUID setup, so the two drives match. BUT when I went into Disk Utility to check the format of the Seagate Backup Plus 10TB drive I saw confusing information.

    Here are screenshots from Disk Utility.

    1) The info for the Seagate Backup Plus 10TB drive (top level):

    2) The info for the Seagate Backup Plus 10TB drive (second level):

    3) I don’t know how to understand what the reformatting options are other than to press “erase” and see the options. So here are the reformatting options for the for the Seagate Backup Plus 10TB drive (top level):

    4) And here are the reformatting options for the for the Seagate Backup Plus 10TB drive (second level):


    Okay, so here are my questions:

    1) Is the first drive, the Backup Plus, formatted to NTFS or Mac OS Extended (Journaled)/GUID? I can’t tell.

    2) If the first drive (the Backup Plus) is formatted to NTFS, once the second drive (the Expansion) is formatted to Mac OS Extended (Journaled)/GUID, will they be able to “speak” and be clones?

    I haven’t even unboxed the Expansion drive yet because I’m scared I’ve messed up by working on the Backup Plus as-is right out of the box without reformatting it, and I’m not sure how to proceed with reformatting the Extension drive. Will I need to erase the first Backup Plus drive and reformat it so the two drives can speak? If so, do I need to buy another NTFS-formatted drive to store what’s on the Backup Plus now? Have I really done something stupid, or might I be able to plug in the new Extension drive, reformat it to Mac OS Extended (Journaled)/GUID, and clone as intended?

    I am probably asking this question with all the wrong words and phrase, so please do forgive my clumsy way of phrasing this whole help message. Some day I’ll need to learn about storage options better. But right now I’m just concerned about not losing work and being able to back everything up with the two Seagate drives I have, and getting the Backup Plus and Extension to mirror each other.

    Thank you so much!!
    iMac 27-inch, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i7. 4GB GPU.
    FCPX, Motion
    MacBook Pro 15-inch, late 2016, OSX 10.12.5
    * Canon C100 Mk II
    * Canon T5i
    * Canon Vixia HFG20
    * iPhone 6S+

  • Rich Rubasch

    July 23, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    First….don’t format anything until you know you have the files you do have backed up somewhere!

    Looks like the first drive is a Mac Formatted drive….you should be fine using it for years without issue on the Mac.

    The second drive is NTFS which you would not be able to copy any files to anyway….Mac does not allow writing to NTFS.

    Make sure the first drive is unplugged when you start working with the new drive!

    I normally start with partitioning it first then do an erase or format to the one I want.

    You’re good….don’t lose any data! Be safe!

    Rich Rubasch
    Tilt Media Inc.
    Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

  • Robert Withers

    July 24, 2020 at 2:22 am

    Hi Jenn,
    That’s so interesting. I could buy two of those for the price of a single G-Tech 10TB drive. And then I’d have a backup. I can’t find specs for how fast the drive is — 5400 or 7200. The xfer speed is supposedly 160 MB/s . Is it fast enough for video editing?
    This from B&H: Seagate’s Backup Plus Hub is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems. It is pre-formatted for Windows and Mac compatibility requires the downloadable NTFS driver for Mac.

    Robert Withers

    Independent/personal/avant-garde cinema, New York City

    Currently experimenting with iMac 2019, Catalina
    3.6 MHz 8-Core Intel Core i9
    16 GB Memory
    GPU Radeon Pro 575X (4 GB)

  • Mike Rogerson

    July 27, 2020 at 10:35 am


    Your Backup Plus is pre-formatted GUID NTFS, which is primarily designed for a Windows OS setup.
    Apple being very aware of the need to fit in with the Windows market, decided some time ago to allow you to read NTFS formatted drives, then more recently to read & write to NTFS volumes.

    The problem as you’re seeing here is it’s not 100% Mac formatted and can lead to problems should you need to use the NTFS formatted drive with an older Mac.

    Firstly, do NOT reformat your drive as you’ll loose all your data. Instead, consider making an exact clone of your data onto your Mac OS Extended Seagate (Extension) drive, then when your’re 100% happy it’s an exact mirror of your original Seagate Backup Plus, reform the Backup Plus as Mac OS Extended (Journaled)/GUID and clone back to that.

    I’ve found Carbon Copy Cloner the best utility for cloning/duplicating although I’m sure their are plenty of other choices out there.

  • Rainer Wirth

    July 27, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Hi Jenn,

    you need to buy a NTFS driver for mac.
    This let you read and write NTFS formated drives and of course the Mac formatted drives.
    We use NTFS formated drives all the way even on older macs – of course with a NTFS software package. For example Paragon, around 20 bucks.


    Rainer Wirth
    Mac pro 8core
    several raid systems

  • Jenn Lindsay

    August 24, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    I just want to thank everyone for the replies! I ended up formatting the second drive and used Carbon Copy Cloner, as suggested, and as far as I can tell everything is working just fine. Thank you so much to everyone who pitched in here!!!
    iMac 27-inch, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i7. 4GB GPU.
    FCPX, Motion
    MacBook Pro 15-inch, late 2016, OSX 10.12.5
    * Canon C100 Mk II
    * Canon T5i
    * Canon Vixia HFG20
    * iPhone 6S+

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