Mac USB pen drives?

I have one of those little USB pen drives, but don’t have access to a Mac. I want to give the pen drive to my kid’s second grade teacher, who has a Mac.

Will she be able to use it to save her files, without having to jump through any hoops? What sort of file system does the Mac have? I think this pen drive is formatted for FAT. She is not the most technical person, so I would like to give it to her ready to save files. What can I do?

Yeah, it’ll be fine

It should work out of the box. To be save, have them go into Disk Utility and reformat the drive to the Mac OS (I’ve heard of some weird file naming issues show up, but haven’t seen any myself).

But every flash drive I’ve used has worked fine on my Mac.

Dig it, thanks Mark!

Oh, one thing though.

It is very, very, very important that they unmount the drive by either dragging it to the trash or ctrl-clicking on it and choosing “eject.”

If you just yank it out of the Mac without doing that step you’ll stand a good chance of corrupting the data.

Wha? That’s so messed up. I thought Macs were supposed to be easy to use!

I think it has to do with the Unix underlyings and Unix getting very upset when devices suddenly get unmounted.

Be careful formatting the drive if they want it to work in Windows and Apple computers… 95% of the time, it’s going to be plain old FAT and everything can read it, and you can yank it out anytime, etc.

But we’re on the cusp of a new age of lots of storage being on these tiny portable drives, so soon enough Macs will be wanting to format them with fancy journalled file systems that PCs can’t read, and PCs will want to format them with NTFS, which is currently read-only on Macs. Yanking out a journaled file system during writes will mess the file up. Yanking out an NTFS volume during writes makes Baby Jesus beat your ass.

That’s true, but you’re supposed to do the same thing under Windows because of delayed writes.

Yeah, I’ve kept all of mine FAT for that reason. I had a friend have some odd naming stuff happen (don’t remember off the top of my head) and having her format it for OSX worked better.

Yeah, but I’ve never had a corruption problem on the PC, but have on the Mac.

Ah, cool. This is a FAT pen drive now, so it ought to work for her just plugging it in. Hopefully she is just using short file names and none of the fancy Mac file system features.