Home » Computing » Resource Forks, large files, and FAT32 – and still no cross-platofrm standard

Resource Forks, large files, and FAT32 – and still no cross-platofrm standard

Here are a few things I learned in a recent experiment in backing up, erasing, and restoring a Mac.

  1. Use HFS to back up from Mac to Mac (to preserve idiosyncratic Mac structures like the ResourceFork)
  2. If you want to allow access to the backup in other operating systems use FAT32 (the only file system which Mac/Win/Linux can all read AND write to)
  3. But you will lose the following:
    1. any file larger than 4 GB (hard limit on FAT32 filesystem)
    2. you will lose anything that relied on the presence of a ResourceFork in the file.

How I learned:

  • I found that I hosed my VMs. Whilst some had virtual drives that were under 4GB, others were significantly large — of which my Sheepshaver virtual drive. I knew this would happen, but I had forgoten about some esoteric features of Mac that I hadn’t given thought to since 2004…
  • I also hosed my textClipping documents – which store their data in a resource fork. I would have thought that by now Apple would have stopped using the resource fork.
  • It also means that with the disappearance of the Sheepshaver disk, my other store of Classic Mac applications has been hosed.

You’d think that by now, there would be a file system supported by all major operating systems (can we aim for this for BTRFS please?)

Also I need to find a way to determine whether a file has a resource fork, so as to HQX it first — or whatever is the norm these days. I thought Resource Forks were a thing of the past in Mac universe, but alas.

So…. we’re still looking for an ideal multi-platform data share solution. Files greater than 4GB and files with ResourceForks are lost currently. What else I wonder?

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