Mac 101: Format Choices For USB Flash Drives
If you are using a Mac and you need to format a USB flash drive, you need to follow some basic instructions. If you have no experience with formatting a USB flash drive, then it’s time to learn. There are no complicated steps involved – it’s really just a matter of selecting the drive’s type, then clicking on the “format” button. There are two basic types of USB flash drives, the other being full size memory sticks.
First, you should decide which type of drive you will use – a memory stick or a USB drive. You can use either one but not both. The difference is mostly just in size (and cost). Next, you need to go into the Control Panel window (found in the Start Menu at the bottom left-hand corner of the screen). There is an icon called “Safe Mode” – double-click this icon, then click the “Safe Mode” option to continue.
Now here is the tricky part. The next step is to select “Safe Mode”. This will prevent any programs from loading on your mac os x before starting the formatting process. It will prevent errors, but it also allows you to use your external drive, an example of which is the USB flash drive, with no modifications.
You should now see the icon for Safe Mode in the options menu, next to “disk management”. If you have an external hard drive, you will need to plug this into the USB port of your computer. After that, follow the prompts of the program to format your usb mac with the normal windows file system. If your computer is in “safe mode”, which is when you can view the BIOS or boot up your computer without having to get into the troubleshooting stage, you will see a message saying that you cannot proceed. This is due to an error that prevented your mac from completing the formatting process.
To get around this, follow the steps mentioned earlier. Once you are in safe mode, use the exit program to format your usb drive. This is not identical to the NTFS or FAT format, as these formats require larger file sizes (nTFS is only 4.3MB). FAT32 however is a smaller file size that is ideal for applications that do not need as much space, like games and music files for example. Once you are done, format usb drive again by choosing the “format” option from the “manager”, then follow the steps mentioned earlier. After doing this, reboot your computer.
This may seem like a very long process but really it is not that difficult. If you can follow simple instructions, it should not take you more than 20 minutes. The steps are very simple because they are listed in an easy to understand manner, making it much easier to understand. This is one of the main reasons as to why people have doubts on using mac format choices for USB flash drives, even though they are technically compatible with the windows operating system.
You can see that mac os x can actually support both NTFS and FAT partitions, though such operation is supported by the operating system software itself. This is what most people think, but the truth is that only FAT 32 file systems can be accessed by mac os x. It is also important to note that this does not affect other data files on the flash drive. If the data on your exfat usb drive is corrupted, the only option is to reformat the whole hard drive. In most cases, reformatting is impossible, especially if the files are already read-only.
So, in conclusion, do not be afraid of using exfat and FAT external drives. They are compatible with the windows pc and can be used to transfer large files or to create boot cd’s. Just make sure that you have enough free space on your computer to accommodate the file before you attempt to open it using your windows pc. Otherwise, you might get error messages that you don’t understand. Always take a backup of all the data before you try to format usb flash drives and always stay informed of your device’s security issues.