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View Full Version : How do you format USB mass storage for cross platform?


PHARAOHk
Jul 23, 2004, 12:01 PM
I just got my first USB jump drive (diskonkey pro 128) It didn't come with any software and their website has no mac drivers or anything. I tried using disk utility to format but I want to be able to write and read from both PCs and macs. What do I do? :confused:

sorryiwasdreami
Jul 23, 2004, 12:16 PM
Sorry, I don't have an answer, but it would be hugely appreciated if someone could lend thier knowledge on how to do this.

I recently bought a Macally USB 2.0/FireWire external drive enclosure for an unused 40GB Seagate drive I had laying around. I too, would like to use it (if possible) for both Mac and windows.

It is formated windows right now. The mac can read it no problem, but can't make any modifications to it whatsoever.

wPod
Jul 23, 2004, 12:27 PM
ive never done this with a flash drive but it has worked on an external firewire drive (and even an iPod mini) find a windows machine and format it on the windows machine i have done FAT32 and im pretty sure NTFS will work as well. if you format it on a mac you have to pay for a program on windows to read it. mac is smarter and can read windows format for free. as for the problem with changing files from a mac, make sure the premisions are set properly on the file you are looking at (group and other should have read and write access)

live4ever
Jul 23, 2004, 12:32 PM
Just use Disk Utility and choose MS-DOS.

question fear
Jul 23, 2004, 12:37 PM
i could be wrong, but i thought usb flash devices are automatically readable from pcs and macs?

realityisterror
Jul 23, 2004, 12:44 PM
what about with an ipod that also carries music? if it's primarily used with my mac, but if i occasionally need to use it with windows in disk mode?
do i need to use macdrive?

reality

rueyeet
Jul 23, 2004, 01:51 PM
i could be wrong, but i thought usb flash devices are automatically readable from pcs and macs?The drive itself is, but the file system might not be.

The best choice is to format initially for Windows. The Mac will read the Windows filesystem just fine, but Windows does not return the favor and will not see any file that isn't placed at the root of the drive.

This is also true of data CDs burned from the Finder. I found both of these out the hard way. :mad:

ThomasW
Jul 23, 2004, 02:09 PM
what about with an ipod that also carries music? if it's primarily used with my mac, but if i occasionally need to use it with windows in disk mode?
do i need to use macdrive?

reality

No, just convert it to a Windows iPod using the iPod software for Windows. Windows iPods work just fine on a Mac, and of course, they also work with Windows :)

ThomasW
Jul 23, 2004, 02:16 PM
ive never done this with a flash drive but it has worked on an external firewire drive (and even an iPod mini) find a windows machine and format it on the windows machine i have done FAT32 and im pretty sure NTFS will work as well. if you format it on a mac you have to pay for a program on windows to read it. mac is smarter and can read windows format for free. as for the problem with changing files from a mac, make sure the premisions are set properly on the file you are looking at (group and other should have read and write access)

Macs can only read NTFS - that's because Microsoft does not disclose the exact specifications of NTFS. Linux, Zeta and other operating systems aren't able to write NTFS, either - only Linux for x86 PCs can do it by using the Windows NTFS driver - and that's obviously only possible if you also have a copy of Windows.
The 40 GB hard drive is probably formatted with NTFS, so the Mac cannot write to it. Reformat it with FAT32 (on the Mac with Disk Utility - FAT32 is called MS-DOS here - or on Windows using Windows Explorer) and it will work on Mac and PC.
The memory stick will also work on Mac and PC if formatted as FAT32. Almost all memory sticks are preformatted as FAT32, so they work out of the box with both systems.