Fix for when FAT-formatted devices from OS X Disk Utility do not not work on PCs.

Recently I’ve been having the issue where my PC says “You need to format this drive before you can use it” whenever I plugged in my USB stick.

formatthis

And when I did click “Format Disk”, it would show up as a 200MB capacity disk! My USB stick is 16GB, so that is definitely not good enough.

200MBwtf

The thing that confused me was that I was formatting this USB device as FAT using the Mac OS X Disk Utility, so it should have worked right?… well it turns out there are a few more steps.

Step 1: Open Disk Utility, and select your device on the left hand panel (of course).

Step 2: Under disk utility, you actually have to click the “Partition” section, and then select “1 partition” from the Volume Scheme drop down menu

partition

Step 3: After that, click “Options” and select “Master Boot Record.” Otherwise OS X might use GUID which Windows doesn’t like.

guid

Then you just hit apply, and you’re done with that business. That’s what got my 16GB USB stick to actually show up as a 16GB device under windows.

Note: this guide is for Disk Utility in OS X 10.5 and 10.6. If you’re running 10.4 or earlier you might have to do some exploring on your own🙂

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