Moving files from PC to MAC - what goes wrong?

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And how can i get access to these files? Had to return my laptop at work (PC) and backed everything up to my external HD...brought it home, plug it in to my MAC, and all the important documents will not open. Some word documents that were in zip files seem ok...can these files that won't open be repaired? I tried the NEO program, same thing, they ask what to convert them to.
PLEASE GUYS, throw me some clues!
Could it be because the drive is in a win format? But, some other type files do work!
Does the drive mount when plugged into another PC?
How is the drive formatted? FAT32 or NTFS?
FAT32 is the most compatible PC format (it can be read and written to). However, it is an older format for devices. NTFS is the newer preferred format for big hard drives on Windows. The caveat is that other systems (OS X or Linux) can generally only read from these drives. In my experience, devices formatted with NTFS are also more troublesome if there is any sort of error in the filesystem that has not been corrected.
Your best bet is to format the drive as FAT32 in Windows and recopy the files again to the hard drive. It should mount with no problems when plugged into your Mac.
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