Flash Drives and Macs

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by onthecouchagain, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #1
    I've been learning and researching about Time Machine (do I have it right? It's still a bit confusing: HFS+ is dedicated to work only with Macs / NTFS dedicated to only work with PCs / and FAT works with both but cannot keep folders larger than 4 gigs... right?), and it's led me to a question about Flash Drives.

    Do Flash Drives operate the same as external HDs? Do they have to be a certain version (HFS+, NTFS, FAT) to be able to drag and drop in/out files? And is it okay to interchange between PCs? If I work on my MBP, but need to bring it to a PC at school or transfer it to a friend who is only on a PC, can I put it onto a Flash Drive and do it that way? Does it work vice versa too (transfering files from a PC to flash drive, and flash drive to my MBP)?

    Thanks.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    If you use FAT32 as file system for the USB flash memory thumb drive, then yes, you can exchange files and folders between Windows and Mac OS X. Btw, PC is short for Personal Computer, and a Mac is a PC too.

     
  3. Jolly Giant macrumors 6502a

    Jolly Giant

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    Sep 15, 2010
    Location:
    Hamburg, Germany
    #3
    more or less. Macs can read NTFS drives out of the box, but can't write to them. but you can install the NTFS 3G driver to enable your Mac to do so.


    yes to all - as long as you properly equip your Mac (see above), you can use a winsloth formatted flash drive to exchange files.
     
  4. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #4
    Thanks for the response, Sim.

    How do I check whether my flash drive is FAT32 or not (I mean, beyond just trying to move a file from PC to flash, then flash to Mac, and vice versa)? And if it's not set to FAT32, how do I make it so?

    Unfortunately I don't have my flash drive with me at the moment, FYI.
     
  5. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #5
    Connect the USB flash memory thumb drive, then right click on its icon (Desktop or Sidebar), select GET INFO and look for Format.
    [​IMG]

     
  6. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #6
    Thank you Sim and Jolly. I will check my USB Flash Drive when I get home.

    As for Time Machine... I'm waiting for external HDs that connect via Thunderbolt, and I'm also waiting for the new iMacs to come out (yes, I'm fully converting to Macs), before I purchase a large enough external HD to use Time Machine to back up both my MBP and iMac (which also means I'm currently not backing up my MBP via Time Machine).

    I do own an external HD now, but it's a measly 160 gig capacity, of which 110 is already in use to back up files on my desktop PC. Is it worth partitioning the remaining 50 gigs to use Time Machine for my MBP until iMacs and Thunderbolt ext. HDs come out?

    And if so... how do I partition my current ext HD so that 50 gigs is devoted to my MBP (meaning, HFS+), and leave the 110 gigs in use untouched (I'm assuming it's in NTFS state)?

    Also... what is "GUID" which I read/hear I should switch to if I plan to partition it to HFS+?

    Sorry. I sort of hi-jacked my own thread.
     
  7. marc11 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NY USA
    #7
    I do not think 50 gigs is going to give you enough back up space for an imac let alone an imac and MBP. OS on each with apps alone will take about 25 to 30 gigs each and the initial back up is a full image, then hourly/daily/weekly/monthly incremental back ups. With 50 gigs, even just the imac would eat that up pretty fast and leave little room for a long back up history. As an example, my MBP has a 500 gig HD and a 60 gig ssd for the OS. I am using about 125 gig on my HD, my back up since February is taking about 250 gigs on my Time Capsule.

    External drives are dirt cheap, you can get a 1 or 2 TB USB unit for less than $100 almost everyday.
     
  8. Derango macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #8
    Unless you formatted your flash drive yourself at some point, it's going to be FAT32. 99.9% (and that .1% is only because I don't profess to know every flash drive in existence) of flash drives are FAT32 formatted from the factory since it's a highly compatible file system.
     
  9. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #9

    Right. That makes sense. I'll look into a new/larger external HD in the near future. I want to wait just a little bit longer to see how ext. HDs with Thunderbolt connectivity look in terms of price and value. I don't believe my MBP will crash and burn on me in the next few months.

    Ah, thanks for clarifying.

    Thanks to all for the explanations and advice.
     
  10. mulo macrumors 68020

    mulo

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    Aug 22, 2010
    Location:
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    #10
    whats wrong with exFAT?
    both windows and os x supports read/write to it, and it doesn't have the 4gb file size limit of fat32, just to mention one.
     
  11. lavrishevo macrumors 68000

    lavrishevo

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    Jan 9, 2007
    Location:
    NJ
    #11
    Anyone know why Mac's seem slower writing to fat32 USB drives compared to windows based systems?
     
  12. Derango macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #12
    exFAT's spec is not openly available and requires a license from Microsoft to use currently. Which means paying microsoft a right to use fee.

    I guess the benefits of exFAT don't outweigh that cost.

    EDIT: Also, exFAT was added in Snow Leopard. There's still a sizable portion of folks using older OS X versions that would get left out. FAT32 runs everywhere, and makes being able to stick a USB drive in any machine and have it just work possible.
     

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