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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Dec 27, 2009
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    Unhappy Problem reformatting flash drive
    I recently made the switch to mac. I currently have a new macbook running snow leopard. Today I tried to clear up some space on my 4gb flash drive by reformatting it on my mac.

    I erased it and set the formatting to MS-Dos (FAT). However, after it erased the drive I went to put it into my PC and it reads it as having 0kb of space and is listed under a "RAW" format. I try to reformat it in windows but it only reformats it to 200mb.

    Does anyone know what's happening and if so can someone please help me out?

  2. #2


    Member Since
    Dec 24, 2009
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    when you put it back into mac does it show all 4gb? i'm assuming from your post you want to format it to work with both Operating systems correct? Also you said you formatted to FAT format. did you mean FAT32 ?

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    It shows all 4 gb when I put it on my mac. As for the format, there's only one option for formatting it which isn't Mac OSX and that's the MS-Dos format, it only says MS-Dos (FAT) but I'm guessing that would be FAT 32. Is there any other way to format it for PC?

  4. #4

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by directeuphorium View Post
    when you put it back into mac does it show all 4gb? i'm assuming from your post you want to format it to work with both Operating systems correct? Also you said you formatted to FAT format. did you mean FAT32 ?
    If he used Disk Utility it gives the option of FAT which is FAT32. Not sure why they left off 32, but that is what it is.

    What OS is on your PC? XP? Vista? 98?

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Dec 24, 2009
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    in windows right click on the drive itself... then go to properties>tools tab> check for errors.

    (this might be different with different version of windows) but still what you want to do is check the disk for errors.

  6. #6

    baggss's Avatar
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    I've noticed that with some Flash Drives as of late that you can't format them as anything BUT FAT-32..


  7. #7


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
    If he used Disk Utility it gives the option of FAT which is FAT32. Not sure why they left off 32, but that is what it is.

    What OS is on your PC? XP? Vista? 98?
    I have XP on my PC and windows 7 on my parallels virtual machine.

  8. #8

    chscag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sick_J0k3 View Post
    I recently made the switch to mac. I currently have a new macbook running snow leopard. Today I tried to clear up some space on my 4gb flash drive by reformatting it on my mac.

    I erased it and set the formatting to MS-Dos (FAT). However, after it erased the drive I went to put it into my PC and it reads it as having 0kb of space and is listed under a "RAW" format. I try to reformat it in windows but it only reformats it to 200mb.

    Does anyone know what's happening and if so can someone please help me out?
    Yep. What happened is that when you re-formatted the flash drive using your Mac, it left a 200 MB protective partition on the drive ahead of the main partition. That's the way Disk Utility works.

    Windows - (all versions) will not recognize any more than one partition on removable media. Windows does not "see" the large partition of your flash drive, it can only "see" the first 200 MB and that's what it re-formats.

    There is a work around where you can make Windows "think" your flash drive is a hard drive rather than removable media. Do some Googling to find it. That will enable you to re-format the entire flash drive to 4 GB.

    For future reference: Do not use Disk Utility to reformat a flash drive. There are other utilities such as GParted (free) which work well. Or just reformat it with Windows.

    Regards.

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Dec 27, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    Yep. What happened is that when you re-formatted the flash drive using your Mac, it left a 200 MB protective partition on the drive ahead of the main partition. That's the way Disk Utility works.

    Windows - (all versions) will not recognize any more than one partition on removable media. Windows does not "see" the large partition of your flash drive, it can only "see" the first 200 MB and that's what it re-formats.

    There is a work around where you can make Windows "think" your flash drive is a hard drive rather than removable media. Do some Googling to find it. That will enable you to re-format the entire flash drive to 4 GB.

    For future reference: Do not use Disk Utility to reformat a flash drive. There are other utilities such as GParted (free) which work well. Or just reformat it with Windows.

    Regards.
    Thanks! I'll try that and see how it goes.

  10. #10


    Member Since
    Oct 16, 2010
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    Hi,
    I realise that this thread is a little old but I thought I'd just say that it *is* possible to format a flash drive in Disk Utility for use on a Windows machine.
    Instructions here: Apple - Support - Discussions - USB FLASH DRIVE WORKS ON MAC BUT NOT ON ....
    Hope that helps.
    Cheers,
    Ed.

  11. #11

    chscag's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting, however, this information has already been noted in other threads. The key to formatting any removable drive to FAT-32 using Disk Utility is to be aware that DU defaults to using the GUID scheme. You must change it to Master Boot Record or the problem noted in this thread will occur.

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