USB flash drives on Windows: they'll "just work"? any worries?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by nagromme, May 14, 2009.

  1. nagromme macrumors G5

    nagromme

    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    #1
    I want to snail mail some stuff on a flash drive, formatted as MS-DOS FAT (using Disk Utility) so both Macs and PCs can read it.

    Will any old flash drive "just work" on XP/Vista, or do I need to worry about drivers and be careful what brand I choose?

    I want things to be easy for my client--I don't want "new device" installation and security dialogs all over the place if I can help it!

    The drive will contain a REALbasic app (a Mac version plus a Windows version) that will run off the drive.

    Thanks for any advice/warnings!
     
  2. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #2
    Just about any one will work, only a few really cheap ones require drivers of any kind on any systems.

    Just make sure you don't get one of the Sandisk drives with U3 on it. U3 is an annoying PS but can be uninstalled with the right knowhow.
     
  3. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5

    nagromme

    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    #3
    Thanks. I just read up on U3 a little.

    But without U3, can my REALbasic executable still be launched on the flash drive? I don't want people to have to drag it off the drive--I want it to be portable. (Along with the data it writes--which stays on a folder on the flash drive.)

    On a Mac, a flash drive is just another volume. You launch apps or whatever. But I get the impression things can be trickier with Windows. (Why?) Should I be worried?
     
  4. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #4
    Windows treats flash drives the same way a Mac does. When it is in, it shows up as a disk just like the hard disks already in the system. People can then just double click any executable or script and it will run.

    The only time you would have any problem is if your program needs to be installed (files in registry/windows folder ect) or requires supporting software to be installed. In that case U3 might help you, but if your program is stand alone, U3 just gets in the way and pisses off customers.
     
  5. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5

    nagromme

    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    #5
    Great!

    Many thanks.

    (Another client of mine just had a horrible experience getting flash drives to work on Windows. Made me nervous! It must have been some specific situation, though. I won't worry. But I will avoid U3!)
     
  6. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #6
    To be fair, some people like U3. But some people like having 20 programs all launch automatically when they start their computer.

    I loath autorun or things that start up without user impute as I much prefer the fast startup time and only want things to launch when I tell them to launch.
     
  7. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5

    nagromme

    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    #7
    I agree. And luckily my app has no need to install anything or auto-launch.

    It's my own CMS software so that my Web design clients can just plug the flash drive into any computer (Mac or Windows) and then quickly update their Web sites. I don't mind them having to double-click the app.

    Thanks again.

    (P.S. On Windows, what happens when you insert a new volume? I forget. Will a window pop up with the volume contents, or do you have to go to My Computer and find it yourself?)
     
  8. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #8
    Depends on the Windows version, and the AutoPlay settings on said Windows version. Assuming defaults, though, Windows will pop up a little dialog asking what you want to do with the drive you just inserted. Your user(s) should click open folder to view contents.
     
  9. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5

    nagromme

    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    #9
    Cool--that's good enough. Thanks.

    (I use Windows in VMWare and never add additional volumes so I forget these things!)
     

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