What to format a USB flash drive to?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ashjamben, May 27, 2008.

  1. ashjamben macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Location:
    Shanghai, China
    #1
    I have a USB flash drive i use regularly between my mac and PC's at college. I bought this flash drive well before i got my mac, anyway.

    i find it kinda annoying that when i delete something off it from my mac it dissappears, but doesn't seem to free up any space on the drive. when i then put it into my pc at home, with the 'view hidden files and folders' turned on i can see a folder named 'trashes' that seems to have all the stuff i've deleted. so its not actually getting rid of anything.

    when i delete things with a PC it gets rid of it completely.

    i'm guessing it's something to do with the format of the drive. its currently FAT16 (MS-DOS). i know how to re format the drive with disk utility, but don't know what format to use. any help? i wanna be able to delete things using both a PC and my mac.

    thanks for reading
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #2
    It's nothing to do with the format. It's just a difference between the way Mac OS and Windows trash systems work. Windows doesn't support trash/recycling files on flash sticks, OSX does.
     
  3. merl1n macrumors 65816

    merl1n

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #3
    On the mac, when you delete files from the flash drive, how are you doing it?

    If you are dragging items to the trash and not emptying the trash, you are not deleting the files thus you are not freeing up space on it.
     
  4. catachip macrumors regular

    catachip

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    #4

    This issue here is that you may not be aware of the functionality of the "Trash" and "Recycle Bin" on OS X and Windows, respectively. They are temporary folders that you can put things into when you think you might want to delete them. It doesn't remove the file from the hard drive, just moves it to (essentially) a folder that happens to be called "Trash" or "Recycle Bin". On Windows, however, this functionality is not supported for flash drives. Moving a file to the Recycle Bin actually deletes it from the flash drive, while on OS X, moving a file to the Trash doesn't actually remove the file from the flash drive. When you need to do is either empty the Trash or delete the file permanently by pressing the Apple key (i.e., Command key) and "delete".

    As for formating, you want to format the flash drive as MS-DOS (FAT). That is the cross-platform standard for flash drives.
     
  5. dops7107 macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Oztrailya
    #5
    Annoying isn't it? If you want to clear off space on your flash drive in Mac OSX, you also have to delete everything else in your trash. I say it's a design flaw, but I suppose the counter-argument goes if you put a file in the trash you don't want it anyway. And the counter-counter-argument is that the whole purpose of a trash can is to store stuff in case you accidentally delete something... :rolleyes:

    In summary... clear the flash drive space on the PC, not the Mac.
     
  6. ashjamben thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Location:
    Shanghai, China
    #6
    thanks for the replies.

    i understand it now, but its still slightly annoying. i'll try the command+delete thing, but i normally delete stuff like that anyway. plus, if it wasn't for the fact i turn on 'view hidden files and folders' on on my pc then those files would never get deleted.... unless when i plug it back into my mac and it sees the trash is empty, it deletes them from the flash drive?
     
  7. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #7
    No... this would only happen if you deleted the .Trashes folder from within Windows. Are you doing this?
     
  8. misterredman macrumors 6502a

    misterredman

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #8
  9. ashjamben thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Location:
    Shanghai, China
    #9
    thanks for that link, that looks like what i'm after.
     
  10. dops7107 macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Oztrailya
    #10
    hey good find! Solves the problem nicely. Well done to the software developer.
     

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