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Encrypted memory sticks for school?

(25 Posts)
rollonthesummer Sat 11-Mar-17 08:20:53

I have always used an encrypted memory stick for work so I can use it for my work laptop and home laptop. We've just got a Mac at home though and the encrypted stick doesn't seem to like my Mac!

Does anyone have one that you can use between macs and pcs that you can recommend? I have an 'Integral' brand one now.

I know this is a techy question and should probably be on a different board but I figured other teachers may have the same issue??

LillyLollyLandy Sat 11-Mar-17 08:32:41

Macs and PCs use different operating systems so unless you have windows software installed on your Mac, it's not going to work.

rollonthesummer Sat 11-Mar-17 08:39:28

But I think I do have windows-I have MS Word/PowerPoint etc?

Bromeliad Sat 11-Mar-17 08:43:27

This link is quite techy but you can probably get ideas from it. Is your current USB stick formatted in a way which is both PC and Mac readable?

tabbymog Sat 11-Mar-17 09:33:10

A PC formatted disk can’t be read by the Mac OS… one of Microsoft’s many decisions to ‘do things differently’ when it appeared on the scene.

If you have two machines each with a different OS and you need to access those files on either, you need a server of some kind that connects with both machines either by wifi or Ethernet (wired), for which you need a router. I'm using a BT Home Hub router which has enough connectors on it for the numbers I have now. I prefer Ethernet because I do graphics and page layout work for charities in my retirement, and transfer of those big files is still quicker on fast Ethernet. Get something like a NAS (network attached storage) box with a USB connection but check it can read the memory stick first. I use a D-Link box at the moment which I've found very reliable and will probably get another one after I move as I need more storage.

If you choose this route, you'll get a DVD with RAID software on it to install on the server box; make sure to set the RAID system to back up your files automatically. If one hard drive in it goes bad all your files are automatically backed up on its pair. It halves the storage capacity of the box but the security and peace of mind are invaluable. You can download the box software from the server manufacturer's website for installation from a memory stick if you don't have an optical drive.

If you're going to be using Windows MS Office files on a Mac you will definitely need MS Office for Mac, otherwise you'll have to use Open Office or one of its developments (NeoOffice, Libre Office) and you definitely will have file incompatibility problems. I could write a book on my experiences with exactly this. shock There's a cheap option for buying/leasing MS Office for educational users but I'm not a teacher so don't know the details.

It sounds to me like you need a cheap, perhaps secondhand, Windows machine specifically for work. This would avoid buying the server box. Just thought I'd explain the alternative... sigh.

rollonthesummer Sat 11-Mar-17 09:48:22

Oh, that sounds complicated!

I have a windows laptop which I use at work (which must stay at work) and now have a MacBook at home (was previously using DH's windows laptop but it's knackered).

I didn't realise I'd need a new server??

rollonthesummer Sat 11-Mar-17 10:01:38


I wonder if this would work?

tabbymog Sat 11-Mar-17 11:03:15

You don't need a server, it sounds to me like you just need a Windows PC at home. A server box with an automatic back up facility is a good thing to have if you need some kind of home office computer facility where you store and can back up files in an organised, easily accessible way, for the long term. And family photos of course! They take up a lot of space. smile

But PC and Mac operating systems, never the twain shall meet, I'm afraid.

Does your school sell their PCs off cheap from time to time? I once bought a Windows box from the local college when I wanted to try out Linux operating systems, and got a bargain, I still have it.

cdtaylornats Sat 11-Mar-17 16:54:01

If you have a home hub 4 or 5 it has a usb port you can put a drive in.

70ontheinside Sat 11-Mar-17 19:38:28

I am not very techy, so feel free to ignore: is a cloud drive an option?
E.g. Google drive that you can access from school and home?

cdtaylornats Sat 11-Mar-17 22:05:44

A cloud drive would be fine depending on how much data

Google Drive app is available for Mac, PC and Android - only problem might be your IT department not allowing it

Mehfruittea Sat 11-Mar-17 22:10:26

Agree - check your IT policy for using cloud storage and USB drives. They are both not permitted by my employer.

Scarydinosaurs Sat 11-Mar-17 22:13:58

Ok so I had the same problem- I decided to drop using word altogether, and instead save everything to pages, and open iCloud pages as soon as I get to work, use docs and edit on there, and then they automatically update so I can carry on using when I'm at home.

I hate word. If I need to share within the school, I can just send them over as word docs or PDFs.

My life is so much easier since I started to do this!

toomuchtvandsocialmedia Sat 11-Mar-17 22:19:07

I use this between my Mac and a windows PC

fourcorneredcircle Sat 11-Mar-17 22:33:53

I was going to suggest cloud storage too... google drive is our school's preference and is linked to our school emails but I've also worked in schools that used Dropbox.

Am I being thick... why would they not be allowed? Is it a data protection thing? In which case, how are they any more secure than a school email which often use online access through the school site? In our inboxes, or email folders, right now do we not have names, addresses, contact details, data, SEN reports and goodness knows what else for just about every child in the school?!

Faithless12 Sat 11-Mar-17 22:38:46

Sorry tabbymog that's not true. So long as it's a USB stick and not a hard drive it can be read by both windows and mac. To be technical it's how it's formatted FAT32 can be read by both over a certain size it's formatted in NTFS for windows and the unix/mac format has totally flown out of my head. It's the software you are using to encrypt. If you get a Sandisk drive the software to encrypt will work for both mac and windows. There are others that will work but I don't tend to encrypt my USB drive.

Faithless12 Sat 11-Mar-17 22:42:52

Tabbymog the architecture between and mac and windows machine aren't as different as they once used to be. Pre OS X they were very different and the two wouldn't work. At the time you could boot camp your mac to install windows it became very different, for years I could access the files from my windows partition from running mac. Since I've just got rid of windows as the only reason I ran the windows partition was for a piece of software I couldn't get on mac.
If the two can't talk many a business would have fallen over as most servers run on Unix which is the base principle of Mac.

Missanneshirley Sat 11-Mar-17 22:51:40

We have an educational website called glow in Scotland - with a glow user account you can access office 365 online, would something like that work?

RustyBear Sat 11-Mar-17 22:54:41

I have an encrypted Integral USB drive (Total Lock Crypto 256 bit AES) and it works perfectly between my Windows and Mac computers.

LockedOutOfMN Sat 11-Mar-17 23:15:27

Didn't read the whole thread but I would recommend using Google Drive instead of memory sticks.

rollonthesummer Sun 12-Mar-17 13:01:48

That's interesting, rusty bear as that is the same one I have which doesn't work between Mac and pc BUT it's old (7-8 years) so I wonder if they've updated it?

I was looking at the blue version which is a dual one, which definitely goes between the two, but it's a lot more expensive.

Is yours definitely the black one?

RustyBear Sun 12-Mar-17 13:53:26

Well, it's dark grey, but it looks like the one in that pack, except mine's only 8Gb.
I'm not sure how old it is, I would have said about 4 years, but that's what I usually say and it always turns out to be longer! I can check on FMS tomorrow when we got it & the price. The manual file that's on it says PC and Mac.

rollonthesummer Sun 12-Mar-17 17:24:06

I would be very grateful if you would check for me-thank you very much!

cdtaylornats Mon 13-Mar-17 00:01:42

If your USB stick is formatted as a FAT 32 file system then both Windows and MACs will be able to use it.

It has been so long since I saw FAT 32 I had forgotten about it.

On modern systems this might show up as exFAT. It is limited to 4GByte

RustyBear Mon 13-Mar-17 12:49:36

I've found the original invoice, we bought 26 in 2014 from Misco @£12.45 each. The link below is the page I got when I searched for the product number on our invoice -

I can't be sure it still relates to exactly the same item- the description doesn't mention Mac and they are black, where ours are dark grey.
The photo shows the screen I get when I click on the .exe program

Your drive should have a PDF of the manual - mine says PC and Mac on the first page - does yours?

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