Categories
Computers

Hard Drive Formats

If you’ve ever wondered what to reformat your flash drive or external hard drive, you are not alone. There are several formats to choose from, but there is likely only a couple that will work for your needs.

Formats

FAT32

FAT32 is the most common format found on flash drives (also known as thumb drives, USB sticks, or jump drives). FAT32 is perfect for these small devices because the format can be read and written to from every major computer or device (including Windows PCs, Macs, and Linux computers).

There is only one problem with FAT32, it cannot save a file larger than 4GBs. That might be a problem if you’re working with video or have a large ISO file that you’d like to store.

exFAT

FAT32 is being phased out for exFAT that can store files larger than 4GBs. Unfortunately, older operating systems do not support exFAT and there may be some compatibility issues.

Just like FAT32, exFAT can be read and written to across many platforms, including Windows and Mac OS.

NTFS

NTFS is a Windows format that can only be written to by a Windows computer (unless special software is installed). NTFS is the format of choice for running a Windows operating system but isn’t ideal for flash drives.

HFS+

Like Windows, Apple also has their own format called HFS+. This format has been the standard for Mac computers and their external devices. This format can only be read and written to by other Mac computers (unless special software is installed).

This format isn’t ideal for devices that will need to be accessed by Windows and Linux computers.

APFS

APFS is Apple’s newest format. It will replace HFS+ in the coming years and will offer several advantages over the 30-year-old format. APFS is designed for solid state drives and will make all of Apple’s devices more compatible with each other. Apple TVs, Apple Watches, iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and iMacs will eventually all run on APFS providing greater security and speed in the future.

ext4

ext4 is the successor of ext3, the format used by Linux operating systems. This format cannot be read by Macs or Windows computers (unless special software is installed). Unless you are running a Linux operating system, you may never run across this format.

Categories
Computers

Rethinking Security on Mac

I haven’t used antivirus software since 2007 when I switched from Windows to Mac. Like many Mac users, I believed that OS X is impervious to viruses and other security threats. But, I have come to the conclusion that this is a flawed belief.

Security threats are not limited to viruses and spyware, there are phishing and JavaScript threats too. These threats affect all operating systems connected to the web, because these attacks take place online, not on your machine. As we use more online services, such as online banking, electronic communications and cloud services we re-open ourselves up to cyber threats.

Mac users culturally take a lazy approach to security. We’re never so safe that we can let our guard down. Even with antivirus software installed, we’re never impervious to cyber threats. It is wise to use password managers, ad blockers, script blockers, encryption software and VPNs too.

Part of me wonders if it were possible for Apple and Microsoft to build these security functions to a point where third-party services like Bitdefender and Norton were no longer necessary. With the deep pockets that these two companies have, why aren’t our computers more secure? Is this a conspiracy to keep the cybersecurity industry alive, eating $99 a year from our wallets? And how is it that a small third-party firm is able to fend off all these cyber threats that Apple, Microsoft, and Google cannot?

These are questions that I do not have the answers to, if you have some insight on this topic please feel free to share in the comment section below.

I am definitely stepping up my approach to cybersecurity. Who knows what scripts have been doing in our browsers.