How do you format USB mass storage for cross platform?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by PHARAOHk, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. PHARAOHk macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2003
    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:
  2. sorryiwasdreami macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2004
    way out in the sticks
    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.
  3. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    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)
  4. live4ever macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2003
  5. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Apr 10, 2003
    The "Garden" state
    i could be wrong, but i thought usb flash devices are automatically readable from pcs and macs?
  6. realityisterror macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2003
    Snellville, GA
    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?

  7. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    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:
  8. ThomasW macrumors member

    Nov 27, 2003
    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 :)
  9. ThomasW macrumors member

    Nov 27, 2003
    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.

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