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Flash drives? for sharing scanned familly photos?

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Hi Brian.

We are scanning a ton of old family photos in TIFF format, close to 2000 photos.  (Yes they have been back up.} They are separated into file folders by original owners. (I assume I'll have to use several flash drives to copy everything.} We are going to eventually send all these with other family. I have a PC, and I know others have Mac. What's the best way to send large files? Would flash drives work? If so what file system should I use to format the flash drives so both PC and Mac users can access the files? Thank you Brian.

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32GB Flash Drives, formatted to FAT32, should do the trick. Well, as long as each individual file is less than 4GB each, and they probably will be, FAT32 can handle it. If by some strange circumstance and these TIFF files are more than 4GB each in size, (HIGHLY-HIGHLY-HIGHLY UNLIKELY,) then you will need to use NTFS. 

A Mac and Windows computer should Read & Write to FAT32 with no issues. In addition, by default, a Mac will READ a Windows Drive just fine, even if it's NTFS, it just won't WRITE to it by default if it's NTFS. For the most universal format, FAT32 is it. The only downside is Microsoft states they do not recommend going above 32GB with FAT32. I realize some manufactures go higher, but since this is archival stuff going to family members, I'm not messing around and taking chances.

If you are going to go the Thumbdrive Route be sure to  Format the Flash Drives on a Windows Computer!!!

I always seem to have issues with FAT32 Drives that are formatted on a Mac not being read by a Windows Computer. Drives me nuts.

As I mentioned above, you could go the 128GB Flash Drive Route, here is a 10 pack for $120 and I would use your Windows Computer to format the drives with NTFS. Of course, if you are creating things on a Mac and want them to be read on a Windows Computer, FAT32 is what you want.

Clear as Mud? :)

Bottom Line: You want to get a multi-pack of Thumb Drives and format them on your Windows Computer. 32GB or less, FAT32 is fine. 64GB and larger, you want to format using the NTFS file system. As long as your family who have Macs don't plan on writing to these Thumb Drives, you should be fine.

As to how large you should buy, that depends on the total size that these TIFF files are taking up. 32GB might be overkill, but it's really the smallest size you can get these days. (Yes, sometimes you can find 16GB Drives, but they are pretty rare these days.) Or you may find that you need 64GB or more. It really depends. So I would finish scanning these photos and figure out how large the total space is. If you are planning on doing any editing and want to send .psd files, you will need to plan for that as well.

There is another way to "Share" these images, and that's using a Cloud Service like Dropbox on a public / shared folder. So if you have something like OneDrive or Dropbox, you could go that route. But then people will need to download and configure the Cloud Software, etc. etc. By far, the easiest way is Thumb Drives. If you want to get fancy, either a Cloud Service or a NAS that has hosting of some sort. (But that's REALLY complicated. :D)

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Here is another thought, you could just buy one of these 1TB Flash Drives, and then visit each family member. As I've stated above, a Mac will read a NTFS drive just fine and you can copy the files for everyone. This way there is only one device to keep track of. Of course, if you family is scattered all over the globe, Thumb Drives or Cloud Storage is more practical.

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Thank you so much Brian.

You have been super helpful! Yes we were thinking of even buying portable hard drives but then we don't know how computer savvy these folks are!

(It would almost behoove us to give it to the children and say hey, help your parents with this! But they might shoot us!) There are five other siblings spread out all over the USA.

Thank you again. Happy Holidays!

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