[lug] Need help making a flash drive cross platform functional

Paul E Condon pecondon at mesanetworks.net
Sat Sep 17 20:29:02 MDT 2005

On Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 11:17:21AM -0700, Jeffrey Siegal wrote:
> You want a DOS partition table, with a VFAT file system, so use fdisk  
> for that, create a single primary vfat partition, followed by mkdosfs  
> to create the vfat file system within the partition.
> That should get recognized everywhere.

I may not have done what you intended. What I did didn't work quite as
I had hoped. I couldn't low level format on the Windows machine
because I counldn't find fdisk or a reasonable substitute on it on
that machine.

I used cfdisk on a Linux machine and chose filesystem type FAT32,
which I suppose is equivalent to vfat.

I then took the flash drive to the Windows machine and used FORMAT to
put a FAT32 format on it.

I was able to write on it some files on the Windows machine. Read those
file on the Linux machine and also write files on the Linux machine.

But the iMacs wouldn't accept the formatting and wanted to initialize
the flash before they would mount it. I had already tried iMac
initialization and knew it wouldn't work. So, unless there is something
with doing the low level format using cfdisk under Linux, I have to
give up on three way cross-compatibility. 

But since I already have the iMacs hook to the Linux machines using 
AppleTalk over Ethernet, I am able to plug the flash disk into one
of the Linux boxes and have the iMacs read/write it over the LAN.
Almost what I wanted, and it works good enough.

If someone knows that cfdisk under GNU/Linux really doesn't do the
right thing for vfat, please speakup and I'll work on this some more.

Paul E Condon           
pecondon at mesanetworks.net

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