Sharing a USB drive between Windows and Mac?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by El Capitano, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. El Capitano macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2004
    Hi all,

    Finally managed to persuade my workplace that I need to use a Mac... :D

    Unfortunately the corporate IT Nazis (one of the big multinational contractors... you know the score) won't let me connect it to the network, so I'm gonna have to keep my Wintel machine, too, and swap data between them on a USB memory stick or similar.

    As a long shot - are there any USB drives I can connect to PC and Mac at once, to save the hassle of swapping? Or any other ideas? I don't reckon the aforementioned Nazis will let me install drivers or anything on the Wintel machine... happily the Mac is mine, all mine (evil cackle).

    The reason they give for not connecting the Mac to the network is "security concerns". You can't reason with these people.

    thanks for any help
  2. 5300cs macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    I have a 64mb usb memory keychain-stick-thing. It came formatted as MS-DOS, which I use with my Mac all the time with no problems so far. The schools all use XP ( :mad: ) and for "security reasons" we cannot connect personal computers to the school network. Since I use it with a Mac, the pc side shows 2 copies of things like word files (because of the data fork) but other than that, it's ok.

    Since it's MS-DOS format, you cannot do things like locking folders or permissions, I believe. If you format it as HFS+ the windows box won't be able to read it. Have to leave it as MS-DOS :mad:
  3. davegoody macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2003
    Reading, Berkshire, England
    No Real problems here . . .

    Nothing that should bother you here, the Flash drives are formatted using FAT32 as standard (The Mac can read and write to this no problem) and all should be fine - I do much the same with my 17" PB at work. As to having it connected to both your Wintel and Apple machine at the same time, this will NOT work ! - just swap between the two when you need to (don't forget to "eject" the Memory card before unplugging on the Mac) !
  4. asif786 macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2004
    London, UK.
    Ahh, how I miss going to an all-mac school. I used to be able to take my mac into school, use the 10meg connection, store stuff on the XServes. Was cool. Now they're replacing them with Dells. Thank god I dont go there any more. :rolleyes:

  5. Studawg7 macrumors regular

    May 15, 2004
    Cville, VA
    no problems

    I have used the flash drives many times with both mac and pc. one time none of the pcs could read the drive but I was able to reformat it on my mac and then they could. its always nice to have the mac around. :D
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    How about booting the Mac in Firewire Target mode (hold 'T' while booting), then transferring files to it as a mounted drive? You wouldn't be able to use the Mac at the time, but file transfers would be wicked fast.
  7. cpjakes macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2003
    Buffalo, NY
    That wouldn't work on a PC because of the HFS+ format. It wouldn't see the drive and probably attempt to format/initialize it.

    To the poster - get a router, clone your PC's MAC address to it, and put both of your computers behind it. Now they're both on the network and you'll probably get in trouble... :D

  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    A long time ago, I remember seeing something like an A to A USB connecting cable that touted itself as being able to connect PC to Mac.

    It had a small round sealed unit in the middle of the lead from what I could tell from the photos.

    Whether they still exist or only work with OS9 machines etc., god only knows.

    I've never used one myself but if it works as advertised, then that may be a solution.

    We are in exactly the same position as you and currently use 128mb flash drives which is OK but annoying if you have to swap them more than a dozen times per day...
  9. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    man, you guys are playing too nice. .. .
    if i were you, id open the network prefs on the wintel machine, grab the IP or other network settings, drop that on the mac and use it on the network anyway!!! unless the net-natzis wont even let you open your network pane, in wich case you should use a firewire bridge b/w the computers, wait no, you cant do that if you dont have control of your net settings. :-/ hmmm thats an interesting perdiciment. id just plug the mac into the network and see what happens. if they have DHCP you should be able to get on, at least to the internet, maybe not network resources.

    ah ha! get VPC load it as full screen, bring the IT people over to set you up on the network, tell them you got the mac to run windows so it should be safe(er ironic windows is less safe than a mac on a network. . . oh well) ! then just watch or pull the settings off of the VPC!

    or if all else fails, write a letter to the head of the dept. tell them the IT staff is preventing you from acomplishing something big and extravagent and you NEED the mac to work.

    or to be really evil, find a virus, burn it to CD (on your mac) drop the CD into a windows machine and watch the evil spread. . . when your mac is the only computer still functioning you can laugh at everyone else!! and then maybe the IT dept will let the mac on.

    slightly less evil. download weather bug and start clicking on every pop up. they pop ups should escilate until the computer is no longer functional. if you cant install weather bug just click on the next pop up you get. . . then keep clicking.

    or just swap info on a USB thumb drive like everyone else said :-/ but that doesnt sound as fun.
  10. El Capitano thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2004
    Thanks for all the suggestions.... really tempted by some of wPod's ideas ;)

    Blue Velvet's idea got me looking - found this and this which look like they might do the job. The latter seems to require a driver and there's no way the Nazis would let me put that on there. But the first one says it doesn't need a driver under XP... so if it shows up as a Mass Storage device, I guess it would work fine.

  11. 5300cs macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Why not use Bluetooth? Would that be possible? Get 2 of those small USB Bluetooth adapters from D-Link and then you can fire-off files back and forth with (relative) ease. :D

    USB Bluetooth adapter
  12. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    El Capitano -- If you do buy & try one of these cables, do let us know how you got on with it. There's probably loads of us in a similar situation...

    Unfortunately, in the UK, they seem to be a bit hard to get hold of but I'd consider importing half a dozen from the U.S. if they worked OK.


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