I have three doubts regarding USB pendrive formatting.

  1. Is there is any simple/quick way to format the USB pendrive from MacBook Pro?

Now, I am doing this by Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility -> Selecting the disk -> Tap on "Erase" tab -> Tap on "Erase..." option.

I remember, I can do this by right clicking on the Disk's name and by select "Format" option in Windows.

But, Mac shows the below options when right clicking on the disk in Finder.

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  1. What is the difference between these two options?

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  1. I'm always deleting files in a disk by Right clicking on the file -> Selecting "Move to Trash" option.

Deleted file get hided from the Finder. But the size of the disk remains same. Is the file really deleted?

1 Answer 1

  1. Not sure of a quicker way than that, my only advice is to not try to find direct correlations between Windows and Mac functions, some stuff is just different, for example the Eject options are similarly more work to find on Windows.

  2. Erase will remove all files from the target volume, often via the expedient method of just creating new Table of Contents areas whilst technically leaving the old content there, just not addressable without specialist utilities. Erase Free Space will actually hunt down files which should no longer exist, and rather than just remove the pointers to those file, will actually overwrite them with junk data (all zeroes for example)

  3. Files in the Trash are often per volume, so delete a file on a USB stick, and it goes in the Trash area on that USB stick. The file still exists, so the space is still allocated. Empty the trash to free up the space. This (similar to above) will actually just remove the pointer to the file, unless you choose "secure erase trash" which will genuinely remove the file contents also.

  • Thanks for your response. Please correct me if I understand any thing wrongly. 1. So, there is no "One-Click" action for formatting a USB external disk. 2. We can recover files if we format the disk using "Erase..." option. We never recover files if we use "Erase free space.." option. 3. Yes, It works as you said. Please consider the below scenario..
    – Confused
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 9:36
  • Consider this situation.. I have a pen drive which hold 16GB of files. I want to erase 14GB of the file and I need only 2GB of files. Secure deleting 14GB of files takes much more time. So I should copy that 2GB files somewhere, then format my pendrive by Erase free space option, then copy 2GB files into the pendrive. Am I right?
    – Confused
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 9:37
  • 1) Not that I know of, but I am sure you could easily make it happen with scripting, well...someone could... 2) It's not a guarantee, it depends how much further disk activity there may have been to subsequently overwrite portions of the old files 3) Either delete them, then simply empty the trash without secure erase, or you could remove them using the terminal which will not move to the trash.
    – stuffe
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 10:10

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