Format USB Drive to exFat on Mac OS

OS X has been slowly hiding things, limiting things and making things for professional harder to do. The Disk utility used to be significantly easier to use as an multi-platform disk preparation tool. I had all gave up on it recently when attempting to setup an ubuntu image (.iso) on a thumb drive to setup a new developer server. How-to.

Well it happened again when trying to transfer large files between Mac and Windows. I recently learned about exFat, the new FAT32 that supports massive files. With video, images and images getting large than the 3.7 GB limit of FAT32, its necessary to start preparing my new devices at purchase to have them capable of the large formats before its to late to change.

The option for the exFat format is there in the disk utility and I did format a drive with that. It worked just fine between to Macs (It did seem slow reading the file system but no test to prove that). I needed to get a large video file off of a windows machine so I plugged in my exFat drive in and it said it wasn’t formatted. After a few different attempts and was about to give up, I tried one more google search and came upon this very helpful tip. Using a simple command, it gives you a new option for the type of boot partition – Master Boot Record. Now you can format as exFat and windows will now love the drive and your mac still won’t care. With this solved, I will be formatting all my USB drives as exFat from now on.

The Disk Utility advanced options of El Capitan are hidden and you needed, first:
Quit Disk Utility.
Open the Terminal utility.
Run the following Command:
defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility advanced-image-options 1
Relaunch Disk Utility
And now, just format your USB with MBR Partition (Master boot record) and exFAT file System.
The USB now can mount in OSX & Windows.
Reference



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