How to create a pendrive that can be read and edited from Windows and Mac OS X


As much progress as there is in the integration between Windows and Mac, there are things between them that still don’t work well. File systems are one of them and if you need to transfer files between these two giants with a pen drive you are going to have problems, so we are going to show you how create a pendrive compatible with Windows and Mac OS X.

Why are not all pen drives compatible with Windows and Mac OS at the same time?

A file system is a way to sectorize a disk in order to write and read data on it. Windows 10 uses a file system called NTFS and macOS uses APFS by default, they are not the same and that is where the conflict comes from. What to do is format the pendrive in the exFAT file system, compatible with both operating systems.

Formerly the FAT32 format was used but the exFAT, compatible from Windows XP SP3, fixes 4GB per file limitation and makes your USB compatible with Windows and Mac OS. Actually, exFAT is like an evolution of FAT32. If you are going to use Windows XP or a lower version, it is best to use FAT32 but you will have the limitation that you will not be able to save files larger than 4 GB.

How to create a compatible flash drive between Windows and Mac OS X

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To create a flash drive with the exFAT file system and make it compatible with Windows and Mac OS, you must do the following:

Create an exFAT compatible flash drive in Windows

The first thing is make a backup of what you have stored on the pendrive, since you are going to format it and that will erase all the data.

  • Open the file explorer and plug the USB drive into the PC. Close any window if Windows recognizes the pendrive and gives you options.
  • Right-click on the USB drive and select «Format» from the list.
  • In the “Format” window that appears, click on the drop-down box labeled “File System” and select “exFAT”. If you want you can type a name for the drive in the “Volume Label” box and press “Start”.
  • You will then see a warning reminding you that you are about to lose all the data on the drive you are about to format. If you made the backup, select «OK».
  • Windows will format the drive with the exFAT file system. When you see the “Format Complete” window, click “OK”. In this way you can create a compatible pendrive between Windows 11 and Mac OS without any problem.

Create an exFAT compatible flash drive on Mac

The first thing is make a backup of what you have stored on the pendrive, since you are going to format it and that will erase all the data.

  • Plug the USB drive into your Mac.
  • You will need to use a tool called Disk Utility. To run it press Command + Space on your keyboard and type “disk utility” and click on the Disk Utility icon. It also works by opening «Launchpad», typing «disk» and then clicking on the Disk Utility icon.
  • When Disk Utility opens look at the sidebar in the “External” section and select the USB drive you just inserted.
  • Click «Delete» on the toolbar.
  • In the “Erase” popup that appears, click on the dropdown menu labeled “Format” and select “exFAT” from the list.
  • If necessary, type a name for the USB drive in the «Name» box and then select «Erase.»
  • Disk Utility will erase and format the USB drive. When you’re done, hit «Done» and exit Disk Utility.

By creating a pendrive compatible with Windows and Mac OS X you can exchange files with the USB between the two operating systems without any problem. We take the opportunity to leave you with a very interesting article that explains how to check your hard drive with CrystalDisk, it can help you if your flash drive or hard drive is going to die.

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