whats best to format my USB drive for sharing to PC's

zoran

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Original poster
Jun 30, 2005
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What kind of file system should i prefer to format my usb drive if i wanted to make use of it to pc's and mac's? I know that there is exFAT available, but what happened to Fat32, i dont see it there anymore.
Can the use of exFAT be limiting me to share files on certain PC's?
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
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What kind of file system should i prefer to format my usb drive if i wanted to make use of it to pc's and mac's? I know that there is exFAT available, but what happened to Fat32, i dont see it there anymore.
Can the use of exFAT be limiting me to share files on certain PC's?
How many windows system vs Mac?

I would format the drive on a windows pc to ntfs personally as I’m able to read and write to ntfs with my Mac. If it was one windows machine and multiple macs I’d do it the other way round
 

zoran

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Jun 30, 2005
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Does formatting to ntfs have any limitation in read/write on a Mac, an older Mac perhaps?
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
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Does formatting to ntfs have any limitation in read/write on a Mac, an older Mac perhaps?
Yes. You either have to install software or use a home brew solution to enable writing to ntfs.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
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You said that you don't see a choice for Fat32. That choice is named "MS-DOS (FAT)", so that is also an option for you.
I looked at my older Mac, running Mavericks, and the MS-DOS choice only appears when erasing the device (with all partitions), and not on one single partition, so maybe that's why you don't see it, until you choose the device line to erase the drive.
 

SteveJobzniak

macrumors 6502
Dec 24, 2015
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The 1970s/80s file format FAT/FAT32 is great if you don't care about losing your data. :D

I suggest NTFS with a proper driver for your Mac.
 

zoran

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Jun 30, 2005
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Guys, are there any reasons that exFAT is better than FAT32 (or vice versa?)
 

DeltaMac

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Jul 30, 2003
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Quite a few reasons that exFAT is better than FAT32.
(It's easy to find that info :D )
Quickest is that FAT32 cannot hold files larger than 4GB. exFAT file size limit is 16EB - hundreds of thousands times larger.
One disadvantage with exFAT, is that it is less likely to be supported on other systems than FAT32. (You can't always just plug it in, and expect it to work on every device, like FAT32 will.

This article appears to show everything you ever would want to know to compare FAT32 to exFAT (and NTFS, too!)
 

zoran

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Jun 30, 2005
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Can you give an example where exFAT might not be supported compared to FAT32?
 

Nermal

Moderator
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Dec 7, 2002
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New Zealand
Can you give an example where exFAT might not be supported compared to FAT32?
It's supported back to Windows XP and Mac OS 10.6, so it's really not much of a problem. The only device that I've had trouble with is a Toshiba Blu-ray player.
 

zoran

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Jun 30, 2005
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Oh so i guess problems would occur mostly when plugging it in devices and not operating systems!
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
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My advice (take it for what it cost you):

DO NOT use a "cross-formatted" drive (i.e., usable on both Mac and PC) on which to store Mac files that are important to you.

Use ONLY a "Mac-formatted" drive (HFS+ with journaling enabled).

I've read reports of where someone was using a cross-formatted drive, took the drive to a PC (and then did something), and took it back to the Mac and.... POOF! The Mac files were gone.

If you have important files from the Mac, store them on an HFS+ drive.

If you need to exchange files between a Mac and a PC, use a SECOND drive for this purpose, cross-formatted. It could even be a USB flash drive of sufficient capacity.
 

SteveJobzniak

macrumors 6502
Dec 24, 2015
489
769
@Fishrrman The Tuxera NTFS driver for Mac stores all Mac-specific data in NTFS "resource forks" (extended attributes). Nothing is lost by using a NTFS drive on both Windows and Mac when you have Tuxera.
 

zoran

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 30, 2005
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Fishrrman thanks for the advice.
Just so you all know, im not gonna be storing important files on the usb flash disk, i only want to be able to make file transfers from Mac to PC and vice versa.
 

Crash0veride

macrumors regular
Oct 10, 2016
179
89
Cincinnati
Guys i formated my USB drive with exFat, copied the ElCapitan installation file but when i double clicked it in order to install it, i got the msg i attach. What went wrong?
MacOS install programs are different from most and won't run off of a drive formatted to anything besides hfs+ or, maybe, apfs in future versions. Might want to try with another application, but other executables (apps/programs) should be okay.

I'd go ExFAT for cross-compatability. There is no perfect solution. I've used "paragon ntfs" before, it works pretty well most of the time, but I've had issues where I had to uninstall it to get disk utility to work right and reinstall it. Worth some cash if you have the cash to spare — if only for the reason that a friend/co-worker might be trying to get you to use their ntfs drive — and an easy cross-compatibility setup.
 
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DeltaMac

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Jul 30, 2003
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Guys i formated my USB drive with exFat, copied the ElCapitan installation file but when i double clicked it in order to install it, i got the msg i attach. What went wrong?
The message that you see tells you how to fix it - you need to run the El Capitan installer app from a Mac OS Extended-format disk.

Or, even better, use the El Capitan installer app to make a bootable USB flash drive. You can do that from the terminal, or if you have access to another Mac (or you don't care to use the terminal for this), use one of the good apps that make that task quick and easy. There's DiskMakerX, or Install Disk Creator.
 
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zoran

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 30, 2005
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Guys im back with the issue... i was just wondering if theres a new format that might work seamlessly cross platform, or should i just stick to the exFat formatting?
 
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DeltaMac

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Jul 30, 2003
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exFat is good for cross-platform.

You said that you have an issue... What kind of issue do you have using exFat?
 

zoran

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 30, 2005
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Oh no alternate issue, im ok with exFat, im just calling an issue, my question on whats the best formatting file type ;-) all well no worries
 
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