I think the computer is able to READ and WRITE the USB drive without the driver. It already knows how to talk to USB.
The driver on the USB drive probably enables "extra features" like encyption or other stuff you may not want to use anyway. But if you wanted those extra features, you would need the driver.
There are a number of factors that play into drive compatability:
0) Host to Drive communications interface (RLL, MFM, IDE/EIDE/ATA, Serial ATA (SATA),
Parallel SCSI, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), FiberChannel, iSCSI, FCoE,
and the Universal Serial Bus (USB)).
USB Mass Storage devices leveraged the SCSI command set to enable resuse
of parts of the operating system storage stack (as did the ATA packet
interface - ATAPI).
1) Low-level format (usually done at the factory) which breaks each
track on the drive into fixed length sectors (usually 512 bytes
each, with larger drives 4096 bytes is becoming common, but for
legacy systems 100-byte and 180-byte sectors have been used in the past).
2) File-system format which organizes the data on the device by providing
a table-of-contents and managing the unallocated space. Typically
a new drive will be high-level formatted with the microsoft File Allocation
Table (FAT) filesystem as pretty much any modern operating system will have
the capability of reading and writing a FAT filesystem. Other file systems
include HPFS, NTFS, S5, UFS, VxFS, XFS, EXTx, BTTRFS, et alia.
The software provided on the drive is usually backup software, encryption
software or software designed to enable non-standard features on the drive.
On Mon, 2 May 2016 06:30:44 -0700 (PDT), firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I found that on XP it just works. But on Win2000, I would have to go
thru the "install new hardware" routine every time I plugged it in. I
installed the driver for Win2000, and now I can just plug it in and go.
That software said it's only for Vista and higher, but that driver
worked fine on Win2000. Win98 cant read that drive no matter what,
because it's NTFS formatted, and I doubt I could format it to FAT32 due
to it;s size. (Or would have to have multiple partitions).
On 05/02/2016 02:55 PM, email@example.com wrote:
FAT32 allows up to 2TB (possibly more with larger sectors). FAT will
waste a lot of space when formatted to near maximum capacity (large
clusters), and your format program may refuse to allow this.
IIRC, I've heard of Windows having problems with multiple partitions on
a removable drive.
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