One of the woes of people who have to work with both Windows and Mac systems is the compatible file systems. On a Mac, the file system used is HFS+ or HFSX while Windows uses NTFS. Therefore is some degree of compatibility, for example, a drive formatted in Windows with NTFS file system is only readable on a Mac.
Fortunately, we can use exFAT filesystem for the USB pendrives so that it is fully supported on both Mac and Windows. There is an added benefit of using exFAT – it supports huge volume and file sizes. Furthermore, exFAT is also fully supported by some newer Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Mint Linux.
Windows 8 and 10 support exFAT file system. In the case of Mac, versions 10.6 Mac OS X Snow Leopard and newer have support for exFAT. Some other operating systems like FreeDOS do not support exFAT.
Here is how you can format a USB pendrive on Mac so that it works on both Mac and Windows:
- Plug-in the USB drive to your Mac.
- Select Go → Utilities from the Finder bar. Alternatively, you can also use Shift–Command–U hotkey.
- From the Utilities folder, launch Disk Utility.
- Select your pendrive from the list of available drives in the Disk Utility and then click on Erase.
- Select a volume name and choose Ex-FAT filesystem for the pendrive. Then click on the Erase button.
- You will be shown a summary of the whole process and a message “operation successful” in the end. You can click on the Done button to close the summary.
Such a USB pendrive can be used on all sorts of operating systems whether it is Windows, Mac or Linux. It is handy for those people who switch from one system to another and have to copy files from one computer to another using the physical USB drives.