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Transferring files from one OS to another?

By NoTTaShoT
Jul 21, 2011
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  1. Can you transfer a file from say Windows to Mac or Linux or visa versa with a standard thumb drive or would it require some special type of hardware?
  2. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 4,367   +125

    You'll want to use fat32, I think.
  3. Coodu

    Coodu TS Enthusiast Posts: 179

    Most retail/consumer flash drives are formatted for FAT or FAT32 as kitty mentioned, if not all of them. External HDD's might be a bit different and require something like Fat32Formatter to format them to FAT32, at least that's what I do in that situation.

    Hardware wise I'd say any flash drive should be fine :)
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,408   +314

    If both can attach to a common LAN, then normal Print/File Sharing works well.

    Wife has a Mac & I'm on XP/Pro - - we do this both ways :)
  5. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 938   +44

    For me a USB Flash Drive is the most convenient vehicle to transfer images, MP3's, documents and files from one computer to another. For jobs that would be say larger than the capacity of a USB Flash Drive, I would choose to use a small external USB non power assist hard drive to transfer larger files. I have a small 350 Gig USB hard drive, that in shapes and purposes acts like a USB Flash Drive in many ways. The non power assist is nice on my small external, no power cords needed, gets it's power off the computer via the USB port.

    But out of all that a person can do, I support and think that Jobeard's option is the best. Nothing more nicer and faster than telling one computer to send information to another, all without having to leave ones chair to do it.

    But to support what other have said, if you use any devices to get the job done, please make sure the format's are the same......FAT16 going to FAT16, FAT32 going to FAT32, NTFS going to NTFS....ect, ect, ect!
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,408   +314

    Actually not necessary.
    The issue is BOTH systems (source & target) must be able to mount the same filesystem AND the source system must be able to get write access to it.
    For example, several version of OS X can mount NTFS and read but require a mod or latter version of the OS to get write.

    I use this reasoning:
    1. if it just has to be portable to ANY system, then I use FAT32 (or Linux Vfat)
    2. If I need the highest density on the thumbdrive, then I opt for NTFS
    3. OR if I need to protect the thumbdrive from possible infections, I use the NTFS and set R/O for <Everyone> and full control for my personal login
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,536   +301

    If the Mac is running Leopard or higher I'd recommend exFAT for the file system on the flash drive. FAT32 will work of course, but you are going to deal with the 2 gig file size limitation.

    Its important to format as exFAT from the Windows machine though, because for some reason if you format as exFAT on a Mac, Windows won't be able to read it. Format as exFAT on Windows and both can read and write no probs. I would guess Linux has no issues reading/writing to exFAT but I'm not 100% sure.

    Macs will read NTFS and if you have 10.6 or above you can enable NTFS writing, but it requires you to use the terminal to enable (or there are 3rd party apps that can set it up for you) for each drive. I am not sure if Lion has built in NTFS writing enabled or not. I would really only consider NTFS if you are going to be using actual hard drives rather than flash drives. If the Mac is 10.5 or older you can use MacFUSE and ntfs3g to enable writing.


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