13 Replies Latest reply: Oct 3, 2008 6:00 PM by etresoft
*kaal* Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I bought a 1 GB USB flash drive from Walmart. When I went to backup some pictures onto it, I got a whirling rainbow ball & nothing worked. Coincidentally, it worked fine on a PC laptop.

macbook 9/08, Mac OS X (10.5.5), neophyte
  • GfulDedFan Level 4 Level 4 (3,315 points)
    In order for it to work on a pc and a Mac, it needs to be in Fat32 format. Check to see if it's in NTFS format and if it is, copy your saved files to your pc and reformat (thus erasing the drive) it in Fat32.

    Hope this helps -GDF
  • y_p_w Level 4 Level 4 (3,550 points)
    GfulDedFan wrote:
    In order for it to work on a pc and a Mac, it needs to be in Fat32 format. Check to see if it's in NTFS format and if it is, copy your saved files to your pc and reformat (thus erasing the drive) it in Fat32.

    Hope this helps -GDF


    Many of the drives I've tried were formatted in FAT16. Not sure about the newer ones - if they came formatted in FAT32 or NTFS.

    In any case, OSX should be able to read NTFS formatted drives, even if it can't write to them.
  • GfulDedFan Level 4 Level 4 (3,315 points)
    True that but I think he was trying to write to it.
  • *kaal* Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    The PC properties dialog box reads file system = FAT
    The option for formating the drive on the PC reads FAT or FAT 32
    Formatted drive with FAT 32
    Reinstalled into MacBook but not recognized
    Reformatted by PC back to FAT
    Reinstalled into MacBook & recognized but can't copy to the drive
  • y_p_w Level 4 Level 4 (3,550 points)
    GfulDedFan wrote:
    True that but I think he was trying to write to it.


    He did say "whirly ball". I took it to mean that it stalled and never managed to mount at all.

    Can't figure out exactly what to say unless the brand and model of the drive is given. It could be a basic incompatibility, although most USB flash drives can be accessed with generic drivers for that device type.
  • *kaal* Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    It showed up on my Finder desktop as USB item & I was able to open it.

    Packaging was thrown out. Markings on drive are Retailplus+ 1GB USB2.0
  • Liam Erskine Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Use disk utility on the mac to erase the pen, whether it mounts or not, it WILL appear in disk utility, and choose MS-DOS FAT as the volume format. That ought to do the trick!

    Best of luck!
  • *kaal* Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    disk utility/erase reported Volume erase failed: the underlying task reported failure on exit. Pointer turned into whirly rainbow ball & wasn't able to proceed from there (that is to say to click OK to the Volume Erase Failed dialog box). I had to pull drive from slot to continue.
  • Liam Erskine Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Odd...

    Try another USB port (obvious, but can sometimes fix things).

    Then in disk utility, right click on the disk's volume (which is like Macintoch HD, rather than the disk) and choose unmount - this deals with the hardware, the pen drive's storage chip rather than attempting to use it as a hard drive (of any kind).

    Attempt to restore it to an Apple format, then if successful, go again but for FAT.

    Other than that, its safe to assume you may have a pen drive that is just incompatible with the way the Mac driver for USB mass storage device's is designed (which is VERY odd).

    If you're as determined as I would be to prove otherwise, attempt using another Mac, or another installation of OS X. Try booting from the install DVD, plugging the device in and using disk utility.

    Keep me posted: I'm captivated for a very sad reason!
  • y_p_w Level 4 Level 4 (3,550 points)
    Sounds like it's one of the following. Only the last one claims any kind of Mac OS compatibility, although I'd think it would use a standard protocol that would be accessed by generic drivers that should be in the OS. It's probably something other than the drivers if you can see it in Disk Utility but can't seem to format it.

    http://www.retailplus.com/productsfeature.php?productId=83
    http://www.retailplus.com/productsfeature.php?productId=85
    http://www.retailplus.com/productsfeature.php?productId=93

    I'd suggest maybe taking it to an Apple Store, but I think the cost of the fuel and ferry ride would cost considerably more than just purchasing a different one. A SanDisk Cruzer micro works fine in any machine I've tried. I'd be surprised if you couldn't fine a 1GB version for under $20 on sale somewhere near you.
  • *kaal* Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    To summarize 1st - I'm going to return the drive & get something else.

    Here's what happened after inserting drive got dialog box:
    Disk Insertion - the disk you inserted was not readable by this computer.
    Initialize/Ignore/Eject
    Initialize - brings up Disk Utility
    left pane reads
    981 USB disk Media
    disk1s1
    info reads
    Mount Point - Not Mounted
    Format - MS-DOS (FAT32)

    All further attempts to erase & bring to format FAT failed as before

    Reformated drive in a PC to FAT

    Reinserted into MacBook & Disk Utility info reads Format - MS-DOS (FAT16)

    end of story!! I don't think this is worth the effort.
  • *kaal* Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    ps - problem originated in another MacBook, I'm using a 2nd 1 now trying to fix it.
  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (26,555 points)
    Some flash drives just don't work well on Macs. I had lots of trouble with a SanDisk and actually burnt up one of those super micro flash drives. Now I'm using a Lexar Flash Lightening (from Target) and it works great. Plus it is the fastest flash drive you can buy.