Instead of reformatting it all the time, just use the much more platform-independent exFAT and never format it again.
You can always install drivers for those other OSes , but that doesn't help when you're sharing files with your friends' computers. Besides, it's kind of a hassle. The exFAT file system is a much simpler option.
Essentially, it's a file system that's both readable and writable on any modern Mac or Windows machine sorry, Leopard users. All you need to do is format the drive on a Windows machine and you're good to go.
Note that you can't format it on OS X, you have to format it on Windows for it to be compatible with both platforms Update : A lot of you are noting that OS X formats these just fine, so your mileage may vary. To do so, just:.
From then on, that drive should work fantastically between Mac and Windows machines. Your new drive should appear in the left-hand column, and clicking the "Partition" tab will bring up info on the drive which includes its current format. There are several possible file system formats you can use for a USB flash drive, and changing them in Disk Utility is as easy as selecting the number of partitions you want on the drive usually just one , picking the format you want for the drive, and clicking "Apply.
I'll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the other three formats below. You can even set up an OS X startup drive if you have the right files, the know-how, and a big enough flash drive, which will allow you to boot your Mac off an external disk if something goes wrong with your built-in drive.
The "Mac OS Extended Journaled " option will have the highest degree of support for Mac OS X features, and there's no limit to the size of files you can put on the drive. Disadvantages: Windows-running PCs can read files from drives formatted this way, but they can't write to them at least not without the same amount of work it takes to get OS X to write to NTFS-formatted drives. Otherwise, you may need to consider one of the file formats discussed below.
Not again. How-To Geek is where you turn when you want experts to explain technology. Reply Helpful Thread reply - more options Link to this Post. Mine can only be formatted in NTFS. I have a Mac NTFS is the modern file system Windows likes to use by default.
Advantages: FAT32 offers near-universal interoperability with virtually every computing system on the planet. A drive formatted this way can easily transfer files between Macs and PCs. You can also move files to video game systems like the PlayStation 3, Xbox , and Wii.
Virtually all cameras and videocameras support FAT32, too. It's the closest thing we have to a universal file system format, which is why most flash drives are formatted this way right out of the box. You also can't create a startup drive for your Mac using this format.
Furthermore, FAT32 doesn't support OS X Lion's Versions feature -- something users have discovered the hard way when working directly off of files stored on a USB flash drive something we recommend against doing. However, those downsides may be more than outweighed by FAT32's near-universal support, and if you don't think you're going to be dealing with files bigger than 4 GB, this may be the optimal choice.
It has one big advantage over FAT exFAT supports file sizes larger than 4 GB, so if you have a need to move huge files between Macs and PCs, this is likely the format you'll want for your flash drive. If you won't be dealing with older Macs or PCs, this may not be a problem.
Of greater issue is that most consumer electronics cameras, camcorders, video game systems don't support exFAT, either. If you need to transfer files between your Mac and one of these non-PC devices, you're almost certainly going to have to format your flash drive in FAT32 instead.