Using external flash drives.. mac + pc = ok?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by viperguy, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. viperguy macrumors 6502


    Nov 3, 2005
    I have a question..
    I just inserted a brand new flash drive into my macbook, a 16 gig sandisk cruzer.
    I thought the system would ask me to reformat it, but it didn`t.
    It looks like i can add and delete files without any problem, though.
    Is it ok to use this same drive to share files between my windows and mac? will there be any kind of format issues or problems?
    Just asking to be sure I won`t do anything wrong before I pop it in my pc lol :p
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Virtually every new USB Flash drive comes formatted as FAT16 or FAT32 so that Windows users can be ready to go when the drive comes out of the bubble. Your Mac can read and write these formats. Neither computer cares who wrote the files with what OS so long as you have applications that understand their formats.
  3. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    Basically...leave it in the current format to be able to read and write in both OS X and Windows. There will be a 4GB file size limitation.
  4. viperguy thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 3, 2005
  5. maclover001 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 25, 2008
    Vancouver, Canada
    On the PC, you will see some files that Mac OS X hides, I think they are called ".Spotlight.v100" and a few more.
  6. micsaund macrumors 6502


    May 31, 2004
    Colorado, USA
    I didn't like the 2GB filesize limitations of FAT/32 so I formatted my 16GB in NTFS and used MacFuse. I need to be able to read and write on both Winbloze and OSX, so this was a reasonable compromise.

    However, I found the write speed of NTFS to the flash drive via MacFuse/NTFS-3g to be *horrid*.

    So, I conducted an experiment and formatted the drive HFS+ and it's way faster to write to.

    Thus, since I need a minimal amount of Winbloze accessibility, I made a 2GB FAT32 partition, and a 14GB HFS+ partition. Since it's my personal drive, and I use my Macs mostly, I wanted the bulk of the drive in HFS. On Winbloze, I can drop files in the 2GB FAT partition if they are small enough. If not, then I can just use HFS Explorer to mount the HFS side for free (I have not really had this need yet).

    The moral of the story is that you may decide that you don't like the 2GB size limit of FAT32, and if you need to store larger files, you may need to find a more complicated solution as I did.

  7. waw74 macrumors 68040

    May 27, 2008
    FAT32 has a 4GB file size limit (2TB partion size limit)
    FAT16 has a 2GB file size limit (2GB partition size limit).
  8. n8mac macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2006
    I just got a 4GB flash drive and I also need to go Mac <--> Win with it. I am finding that FAT32 is really annoying as it will only let me rename it up to 11 characters! Stupid Windows. I found that I can have a HFS+ and FAT32 partitions and can name it whatever I want under HFS+, but that would be pointless as virtually all the PC's I would transfer to are Windows and I need the full 4GB available. Oh well.

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