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Best Format for USB Stick, for swapping Windows and Mac?

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Best Format for USB Stick, for swapping Windows and Mac?

Postby james090 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:11 am

Probably the most often asked question, but some online info, says different things..
And I hope this is the best place to ask here?

Im using a Windows 10 pc, to collate samples (WAV, MP3 etc) but then need to transfer to a Mac in another studio.

This will include transferring MIDI Files, WAV samples, and Ableton .asd and .als project files etc.

What is the best format to use with a frequent swappable USB stick without any pain or problems easily between W10 and Mac OS X back and forth?

So I could get a good 64Gb or 128Gb stick to move projects between the two?

Many thanks
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Re: Best Format for USB Stick, for swapping Windows and Mac?

Postby job » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:34 am

ExFat worked well with Apple's previous file system. No idea about the new one. Worth a try though :thumbup:
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Re: Best Format for USB Stick, for swapping Windows and Mac?

Postby james090 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:41 am

job wrote:ExFat worked well with Apple's previous file system. No idea about the new one. Worth a try though :thumbup:

Thanks

I have been told FAT32? Is this based on the same system?
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Re: Best Format for USB Stick, for swapping Windows and Mac?

Postby The Korff » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:04 am

FAT32 is compatible with both (ie. you can read from/write to it from both OS X and Windows), but it has a 2GB file-size limitation.
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Re: Best Format for USB Stick, for swapping Windows and Mac?

Postby james090 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:07 am

The Korff wrote:FAT32 is compatible with both (ie. you can read from/write to it from both OS X and Windows), but it has a 2GB file-size limitation.

Thank you Korff, I was told 4GB limit, but either way 2 or 4 doesn't really matter as I won't be using files that big I don't think.. :clap:

So I just need to get a good 128Gb USB to move files between and format as FAT32, Sandisk?
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Re: Best Format for USB Stick, for swapping Windows and Mac?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:16 am

You need to use the ExFAT format which is compatible with both PC and Mac and doesn't suffer the 4GB limitation of FAT32 -- and yes, you could easily find yourself falling into that problem with long, high-res interleaved audio files.

This article from Laptop Magazine describes how to format the drive from a Mac or PC very clearly:

https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/form ... ws-and-mac

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Re: Best Format for USB Stick, for swapping Windows and Mac?

Postby Matt Houghton » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:45 am

+1 for ExFAT. There's no downside compared with FAT32, which it was designed to replace, so you might as well.

If you're only using specific computers, you could alternatively install software on them to allow them to all to read NTFS (or Mac format drives for that matter). That would offer a slight advantage in that these support longer filenames (ExFAT filenames are limited to a max of 16 characters IIRC), which can sometimes be handy when working with audio. But of course if you want to use the drive in any other machines, you'd need to install software, or copy the files across (Mac can read but not write to NTFS).
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Re: Best Format for USB Stick, for swapping Windows and Mac?

Postby resistorman » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:21 pm

I’ve been using ExFat for years for just such issues. Matt, the actual limit is 255 characters: 255 UTF-16 characters, so maybe that’s where the idea originated.

http://www.ntfs.com/ntfs_vs_fat.htm
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Re: Best Format for USB Stick, for swapping Windows and Mac?

Postby james090 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:52 pm

Ok great, so Ex-FAT it is..

Does this go for bigger drives, that need to be switched between Mac & PC easily? or is this just a USB drive issue?

Thanks!
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Re: Best Format for USB Stick, for swapping Windows and Mac?

Postby Watchmaker » Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:54 pm

Any drive
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