USB? "The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer"

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by DHawkes01, May 11, 2017.

  1. DHawkes01 macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2017

    I'm in need of a little assistance regarding a USB that has decided to go ape!

    Basically it was working fine yesterday (on both Mac and PC), but when I inserted it into my MBA this morning the message "The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer." popped up along with buttons reading Initialize, Ignore & Eject.

    I've tried to 'Run First Aid' to no avail. I am concerned why this could've happened and would really appreciate some advice about what I should do.

    Kind regards!
  2. Shirasaki macrumors G3


    May 16, 2015
    So it works on your PC right?
    What is the file system format?
  3. DHawkes01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2017
    Hi, good day and thanks for your comment :)

    I only own and use the USB with a Macbook Air. I also use a Linux computer which I don't really use and never really use with the troublesome USB. I have also tried the USB with the Linux machine but there's no recognition.

    I mentioned the PC because a month ago I used the USB with a friends PC to print a document but I don't know why that would effect anything because the USB was working okay up until today.

    The thumbnail/screenshot below shows what I see when I go in Disk Utility... This is really strange behaviour and I don't understand why this has happened!

    Hopefully it helps!

    Kind regards

    Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 13.10.16.png
  4. Shirasaki macrumors G3


    May 16, 2015
    FAT32? This is a pretty old and fragile format being used in like 1990s era of PC operating system.
    Also I don't know what was done by your friend PC on your USB drive. If possible, you should connect that drive to a PC and see if you can backup data elsewhere.
    Even if both Mac and PC could read and write FAT32, I have heard that their ways to do so is still somehow different. Plus FAT32 is pretty fragile.
  5. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    What does it mean for a file system to be "fragile"?

    If you want your thumbdrives to be easily readable and writeable by Macs and PC's, you're limited to using FAT32. You've really no other choice.

    EDIT - I guess you could use exFAT as well. I forgot about that.
  6. Shirasaki macrumors G3


    May 16, 2015
    "Fragile" means prone to error and files stored on drive could be easily corrupted or damaged even in normal operations. At least, FAT32 is worse than NTFS and HFS+, which both provides features to store data more efficiently and more stable.

    I admit I know little about the underlying architecture of those file systems. What I say is based on long time experience regarding both NTFS and HFS+.
  7. Kcetech1 macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2016
    Alberta Canada
    fat32 is pretty much standard for all USB drives under 32GB for cross platform use. otherwise everything else is EXFat since almost any OS can read both those formats and all OS's read/write them the same to my knowledge, even the Xbox and PS4.
  8. dwfaust, May 11, 2017
    Last edited: May 11, 2017

    dwfaust macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2011
    macOS cannot write NTFS natively and Windows cannot read/write HFS+ (or the new AFS) natively... so if I am moving data back and forth between platforms, I ususally format my flash drives with ExFAT.
  9. Shirasaki macrumors G3


    May 16, 2015
    I pay third party drives to enable NTFS and HFS support. They work well and I can save a lot of hassle dealing with converting things etc.
  10. posguy99 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 3, 2004
    Flash drivers work until they don't, at which time you might try to reformat them once and then throw them away. What they cost makes them not worth dancing with.

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