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When you begin to work with multimedia, it doesn’t take very long until you realize the importance of purchasing a portable hard drive. Without a hard drive you can move, your work is stuck on one computer with no quick method to transport it.

At first, choosing which hard drive to purchase is confusing because of the number of options you have available. When I typed in “external hard drive” on Amazon there were over 31,000 results. I recommend just looking at the best selling or most popular hard drives on sites like Amazon or New Egg to find which one suits your needs. I bought a one terabyte Western Digital Passport for around $100 and have zero complaints, but there are thousands you can choose from.

The reason I bring up hard drives is to talk about the problems I faced when I first began using Final Cut Pro. My hard drive was formatted for Windows computers by default. The hard drive still showed up on the Mac operating system, so I assumed everything would work fine. I put some Microsoft Word files on the drive and opened them on a Mac with no problems.

When I captured video with Final Cut Pro onto the hard drive, I noticed the video was regularly dropping frames. The video played fine on the camera and all of my settings were correct so I couldn’t figure out the problem. I asked Professor Matt Gregory, the Final Cut class instructor, what was happening and he advised me that I needed to reformat my hard drive for Macs. Final Cut will often experience problems if you attempt to use a Windows-formatted hard drive to store your work.

As someone who uses both Microsoft and Apple operating systems equally, I was disappointed that I needed to format the hard drive solely for one type of computer. The program used to format hard drives on Mac operating systems is called “disk utility.” When, I went into the disk utility program, I noticed the option to partition the hard drive.

Being able to partition the hard drive means that disk utility allows the user to divide a hard drive into smaller, individual pieces. These pieces can be formatted anyway you’d like. If you want your hard drive to be formatted 90 percent Windows and 10 percent Mac, you can do it. If you would like to have your hard drive divided into eight smaller pieces, you can do that too.

I chose to format 750 gigabytes of my hard drive for Mac computers and the remaining 250 gigabytes for Windows. Multimedia work uses a lot of space, so I formatted the majority of my hard drive for that purpose. Still having the remaining quarter for Windows is perfect for me to back up anything I need on my personal computer such as music and all of my Word files.

Dividing my hard drive up into partitions was really convenient and helpful. It’s nice to not have to worry about carrying around different hard drives for different types of computers everywhere I go. I’m able to simply carry around one hard drive and know that I can use it for any computer I work on. Keep it in mind if you plan on working with both computer operating systems.

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