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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

USB Flash Drives No Longer Showing Up?


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drgrafix

 
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I've been using a couple of USB flash drives between my iMac and PC for over a year. About 99% of the time I remove them by ejecting, but occasionally the iMac won't acknowledge that I have inserted the USB although the USB sees the power and flashes. These drives need to work on both PCs and OSX and they started life on the PCs so I guess they are formatted that way.

I can extract the data stored onto the PC and reformat, but what format is 100% compatible with both MS OS's and Apple's OS's?

I also use these drives to bring artwork to the printer and I think he has PC based stuff. The opposite of normal, but its been working for me for some time.

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JeremyZ

 
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This is a good question, and I hope someone has the answer for it. I'm curious about it too.

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chscag

 
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To the OP:

The only format that is compatible (without special drivers) to both the PC (Windows) and your Mac is FAT-32. Keep in mind though that FAT-32 has a ~4 Gb file limit (if your flash drive is a large one).

And a warning Do not format a flash drive using your Mac if you wish the drive to be able to be read both on a PC and Mac.

Here's why: Disk Utility will leave a small 200 Mb protective partition on the flash drive in addition to formatting the remainder of the drive. You'll wind up with two partitions on the drive. That's OK if you're only going to use the drive with a Mac. However, Windows can only "see" the first partition on a flash drive. So if you have a flash drive that's 8 Gb which you just formatted with Disk Utility, Windows will only "see" it as 200 Mb.

Regards.
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drgrafix

 
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One of my drives is an 8 Gig, but I'm not using that one anyway. Its the 2 Gig and 4 Gig ones that I'm having problems with. What I did try was plugging one directly into the back of my iMac and I was able to use it. It seems that neither of my powered Belkin USB expansion port units are liking the USB drives, but everything else that is hooked up is working fine. I've googled this and it's an old problem... but I haven't found an easy solution that works with Snow Leopard.

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toMACsh

 
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Of course, when you buy a new flash drive, you can get one that is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Macintosh right out of the bubble package.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toMACsh View Post
Of course, when you buy a new flash drive, you can get one that is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Macintosh right out of the bubble package.
That's just about every flash drive which is sold nowadays. I haven't gotten one yet that wasn't formatted to FAT-32. And since FAT-32 is R\W for Windows, OS X, and Linux, that makes them compatible.

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