How to know what current file system your flash drive is with, and how to format it to exFAT? First of all, plug your flash drive into the USB port on your computer. Make sure your device can be detected and recognized. Once the Lexar disk shows up on the desktop, right click on the drive icon and select "Get Info". Alternatively in case the disk does not show up on your desktop , open Finder, on the sidebar menu locate your USB drive under Devices, right click and select "Get Info".
That means my Lexar disk is currently with the FAT32 file system.
Which format to choose?
Because the process of reformatting a disk drive will very likely erase all content and make recovery impossible. Also, since I don't know whether you are on a PC or Mac to perform this operation. I'm here to break down this guide into two parts. The first part is for Mac users, the second part is for PC users Windows 10 based.
Mac 101: Format choices for USB flash drives
In no particular order. Please note: The app now has a new user interface that looks slightly different on Yosemite or earlier OS X versions. Step 1: Open Disk Utility. Step 2: Under "External" tab, highlight your flash drive. Step 3: Now click the "Erase" button at the top. In the new pop-up window, choose the format to be "ExFAT".
You may also change the device name if you want. Then hit the "Erase" button to continue.
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Kind reminder: Step 4: Wait until the erasing process to complete. It should be very quick only a few seconds to format my 32GB Lexar drive.
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Step 5: This step is optional. I'm showing this to verify that the USB drive has been reformatted to the file system I wanted. I saved several files to the disk, and open Disk Utility again. And yes I'm here t o use a Windows 10 based HP laptop to format my Lexar drive.
Guide: Formatting a USB Flash Drive for Mac & PC Compatibility
If you are on an earlier operating system like Windows 7, XP, etc. The screenshots may look slightly different. A new window pops up prompting options you need to select before starting. The only thing you have to check is under "File system", make sure you have chosen "exFAT".
You may also rename the device drive under "Volume label". Then click the "Start" button to continue.
You'll see this warning. Once again, make sure you've backed up all important data stored in the drive. Click "OK". The "Mac OS Extended Journaled " option will have the highest degree of support for Mac OS X features, and there's no limit to the size of files you can put on the drive. Windows-running PCs can read files from drives formatted this way, but they can't write to them at least not without the same amount of work it takes to get OS X to write to NTFS-formatted drives.
Otherwise, you may need to consider one of the file formats discussed below. FAT32 offers near-universal interoperability with virtually every computing system on the planet. A drive formatted this way can easily transfer files between Macs and PCs. You can also move files to video game systems like the PlayStation 3, Xbox , and Wii.
Virtually all cameras and videocameras support FAT32, too. It's the closest thing we have to a universal file system format, which is why most flash drives are formatted this way right out of the box. FAT32 doesn't support files larger than 4 GB, and that's its greatest drawback. You also can't create a startup drive for your Mac using this format. Furthermore, FAT32 doesn't support OS X Lion's Versions feature -- something users have discovered the hard way when working directly off of files stored on a USB flash drive something we recommend against doing.
However, those downsides may be more than outweighed by FAT32's near-universal support, and if you don't think you're going to be dealing with files bigger than 4 GB, this may be the optimal choice. It has one big advantage over FAT If you won't be dealing with older Macs or PCs, this may not be a problem. Of greater issue is that most consumer electronics cameras, camcorders, video game systems don't support exFAT, either. If you need to transfer files between your Mac and one of these non-PC devices, you're almost certainly going to have to format your flash drive in FAT32 instead.
Here's a basic rundown of which format we recommend for your USB flash drive, broken down by use case. If you absolutely, positively will only be working with Macs and no other system, ever: The Buyer's Guide. US Edition. Log in.