first I don't use a mac ,just wondering if you can use a usb 2.0 device for file storage ,new 40 gig toshiba harddrive ,not formated yet , with Mack laptop,is it possible or does the harddrive need to be for a mac or can it just be formated mac file system ?????????? thanks
I find that Apple laptops (PowerBooks, mainly.. don't have a lot of experience with iBooks and external HDs.) don't really do the whole USB hard drive thing very well. Particularly USB hard drives that don't have their own power supply. There just doesn't seem to be enough power to the USB bus to function very well.
You also need to make sure that the laptop support USB 2.0. If it's a new (or newish) laptop it will.. if it's old.. (before 9/2003) then it won't support USB 2.0.
I think a BETTER option would be an external enclosure that has BOTH USB 2.0 and Firewire. This helps you hedge your bets and ensures that you can plug it into just about everything.
Now about the formatting.. If it's going to be used on both a Mac and a PC, it must be formatted as FAT32. With it's inherent file size limitations and whatnot. If it's formatted HFS+ (Apple's proprietary disk format), then the PC won't read/write to it unless you buy 3rd party software (MacDrive). And if it's formatted NTFS (which most PC hard drives are, now-a-days), your Mac can READ it, but cannot WRITE to it. So you're pretty much limited to FAT32.