How to format a drive so a Windows machine can read it?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by serr, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. serr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    #1
    I thought this was simply a matter of choosing Master Boot Record for the format in Disc Utility.

    I just did that with a USB flash drive and a Windows user was unable to read it. (A tax service business. With 'working' Windows machines. I didn't dare ask him to try downloading anything to try as I know those machines are easy to brick.)

    So...

    How do you format a drive volume so a Windows user (with an out of the box setup and no computer skills) can read it?
     
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
  3. serr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    #3
    Yep, did Fat32.

    So... Just Windows shenanigans on their end? One of those mystery hardware incompatibilities they're always talking about?
     
  4. chabig macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    #4
    Did your file have an extension? Sometimes Windows users are too naive to realize that all the need to do is add a file extension for the document to open.
     
  5. serr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    #5
    Yep. Simple PDF file. Their system couldn't even read the format of the drive. Asked "Do you want to format?"

    Double checked when I got back home. Fat32. Master Boot Record. Continues to 'just work' here. No errors or corruption.
     
  6. chabig macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    #6
    It sounds like you did everything right, then. Maybe try a different flash drive, burn a CD, or send it encrypted via network.
     
  7. serr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    #7
    So just sigh, shake my head, mutter "Windows...", and move on. OK. Thanks for the sanity check! :)
     
  8. charlyham macrumors regular

    charlyham

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    #8
    You should have them format the drive on their Windows PC as fat32 and then give it back to you to transfer the file to it. If they format it on their PC and can then read it, you should be good to go.
     

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