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  1. #1

    Chris H.'s Avatar
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    Reformatting a USB drive
    Okay, so I went into Disk Utility, clicked on the USB drive I had plugged in, and then selected the Erase tab. I'm confused on formats.

    What's the difference between:

    Mac OS X Extended (Journaled)
    Mac OS X Extended
    Mac OS X Extended (Case Sensitive, Journaled)
    Mac OS X Extended (Case Sensitive)


    Which one is appropriate for a thumb drive? And if I ever plug the USB drive into a Windows computer, will Windows be able to read a Mac OS X Extended format? A little confused here.
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  2. #2

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Use "MS-DOS" for a thumb drive. For a hard disk, you'll want Mac OS X Extended (Journaled). Honestly not even sure why they'd offer the options of the other formats.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

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  3. #3

    TattooedMac's Avatar
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    And is it true that to format the USB drive in Fat32 and to work on both OSX and Windows, it needs to be formatted on a WINDOWS machine ??
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  4. #4

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TattooedMac View Post
    And is it true that to format the USB drive in Fat32 and to work on both OSX and Windows, it needs to be formatted on a WINDOWS machine ??
    Nope, not a bit. The "MS-DOS" option in Disk Utility formats it as FAT32. I've been doing it for ages, never had a compatibility issue.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  5. #5

    TattooedMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
    Nope, not a bit. The "MS-DOS" option in Disk Utility formats it as FAT32. I've been doing it for ages, never had a compatibility issue.
    Mmmmmm interesting as i have had issues. Might look at a pricier USB drive instead of the cheapie's then, for better compatibility ....
    Dont forget to use the Reputation System if someone has helped you out !!!
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  6. #6

    Chris H.'s Avatar
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    So what about Security? There are options to choose from.

    Don't Erase Data
    Write Zeros
    7-Pass Zero (US DOD compliant)
    35 Pass Zero (35x overwrite)

    Would it affect anything?
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  7. #7

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris H. View Post
    So what about Security? There are options to choose from.

    Don't Erase Data
    Write Zeros
    7-Pass Zero (US DOD compliant)
    35 Pass Zero (35x overwrite)

    Would it affect anything?
    Depends on how sensitive the data was that had been stored on it and how you use your drive.

    If you're selling it on eBay, do the 7-pass. If you're traipsing across the world with it, but will be using it routinely, a regular "write zeros". And if it's not going to leave your house, just do a plain old format.

    I can't imagine why anyone would want to do a 35 pass zero. It's more likely that the drive would mechanically fail long before someone could possibly recover data from something overwritten in 7 passes.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  8. #8

    chscag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TattooedMac View Post
    Mmmmmm interesting as i have had issues. Might look at a pricier USB drive instead of the cheapie's then, for better compatibility ....
    The only issue you'll run into using Disk Utility to format a USB or any external drive to FAT-32 is if you do not use the correct formatting procedure. Disk Utility will default to formatting FAT-32 (MS DOS) as GUID. That's not good because it creates a small 200 MB EFI partition on the drive in the process. That will usually cause a Windows machine to only "see" that first small EFI partition and not the rest of the drive. I have had this happen to me several times.

    When formatting any drive to FAT-32 using Disk Utility, always select the MBR choice. No 200 MB EFI partition will be created then.

    Regards.

  9. #9

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    The only issue you'll run into using Disk Utility to format a USB or any external drive to FAT-32 is if you do not use the correct formatting procedure. Disk Utility will default to formatting FAT-32 (MS DOS) as GUID. That's not good because it creates a small 200 MB EFI partition on the drive in the process. That will usually cause a Windows machine to only "see" that first small EFI partition and not the rest of the drive. I have had this happen to me several times.

    When formatting any drive to FAT-32 using Disk Utility, always select the MBR choice. No 200 MB EFI partition will be created then.

    Regards.
    Interesting. That has not been my experience to-date with dozens of different drives.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  10. #10

    TattooedMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    The only issue you'll run into using Disk Utility to format a USB or any external drive to FAT-32 is if you do not use the correct formatting procedure. Disk Utility will default to formatting FAT-32 (MS DOS) as GUID. That's not good because it creates a small 200 MB EFI partition on the drive in the process. That will usually cause a Windows machine to only "see" that first small EFI partition and not the rest of the drive. I have had this happen to me several times.

    When formatting any drive to FAT-32 using Disk Utility, always select the MBR choice. No 200 MB EFI partition will be created then.

    Regards.
    Nice one chscag i think you hit the nail on the head for me. This has been my minor problem with the formatting process Thanks
    Dont forget to use the Reputation System if someone has helped you out !!!
    Arguing with a zealot is only slightly easier than tunneling through a mountain with your forehead!!!!!
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  11. #11

    chscag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
    Interesting. That has not been my experience to-date with dozens of different drives.
    I erased and formatted an external USB FireLite (SmartDisk) drive that I was using for my Win 7 backups. Without thinking, I used Disk Utility which resulted in creating that 200 MB EFI partition in addition to the remainder of the free space. I tried everything including Partition Magic to remove the partition and nothing worked. Even Disk Manager from Win 7 refused to remove it.

    I finally wound up doing some digging on Google and found a way to remove all partitions from the drive using a command line routine from Win 7. I have it bookmarked if you ever need it.

    Regards.

  12. #12


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    Question Could you share the link please
    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    I erased and formatted an external USB FireLite (SmartDisk) drive that I was using for my Win 7 backups. Without thinking, I used Disk Utility which resulted in creating that 200 MB EFI partition in addition to the remainder of the free space. I tried everything including Partition Magic to remove the partition and nothing worked. Even Disk Manager from Win 7 refused to remove it.

    I finally wound up doing some digging on Google and found a way to remove all partitions from the drive using a command line routine from Win 7. I have it bookmarked if you ever need it.

    Regards.

    Hi there I have exactly the same trouble as you have and now my USB drive does not work with Windowns.
    Would you share the link please and give some more details how you managed to get rid of the problem?

    Thanks.

  13. #13

    chscag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ardanx View Post
    Hi there I have exactly the same trouble as you have and now my USB drive does not work with Windowns.
    Would you share the link please and give some more details how you managed to get rid of the problem? Thanks.
    Here it is: LINK

    NOTE: You must use a CMD prompt from within Windows in order for the procedure to work. Make sure you first attach the drive and it can be seen by the Windows Disk Manager.

    When issuing the command make sure you address the correct drive! Remove any other drive attached to the machine first! You can not do any harm to your internal drive since it has no effect on a working drive.

    Also, important! Make sure the drive does not contain data you wish to keep, since everything will be wiped out in the process.

    Regards.

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