Nevertheless, it is possible to configure a Windows virtual machine so that it can store and retrieve data from a firewire hard drive that is mounted on the Mac desktop. Here’s how.
1. Use Apple’s Disk Utility to format the firewire drive as MS-DOS (FAT).
While Windows will also be able to access the drive if it is formatted as Mac OS X Extended, there are strong reasons to avoid the native drive format for OS X when sharing a firewire storage device on a computer that is used to run both Mac and Windows.
Mac OS X maintains a central desktop database about the applications and documents that are located on a drive volume. The desktop database is stored in two invisible files called Desktop DB and Desktop DF that are located in a volume’s root directory. Additional information about the drive structure is maintained in an invisible folder called HFS+ Private Data. Each of these items become visible when you elect to format a drive as Mac OS X Extended and provide the Windows virtual machine with shared folder access to the root directory of the external drive. Tampering with the HFS+ Private Data folder is discouraged, as it could cause the drive to become unreadable.
2. Configure the Windows virtual machine to use a folder on the firewire drive for sharing purposes.
Using VMWare as our example (Parallels works in a similar manner), open the Settings menu and select Add Shared Folder from the drop-down menu that is revealed when you click the plus (+) button. Click on the Path option on the follow-up menu and then select Choose from the list. Navigate to the selected folder on your external hard drive, then click the Open button to select.
Enter a name for the shared folder and place a check mark next to the Enabled button. To finalize creation of the shared folder, click OK.
Before closing the Settings window, review the Shared Folders setting to ensure that both Enable and Enable at power on are checked.
3. Open your virtual machine application to access the shared folder on the firewire drive.
Again, using Fusion as our example, double-click a folder on the Windows desktop called VMware Shared Folders. You should be able to see and navigate to the shared folder that’s located on the firewire hard drive.