Is there a filesystem and encryption combination that works across the 3 operating systems? Assume OSX High Sierra, Windows 10, 16.04. Bonus round if you have successfully done this before (please state in reply). Read / Write access is required.

It would be best if I could encrypt the flash drive so that it is not easily accessed if it were lost. That being said it makes sense to select a combination of filesystem and encryption that works across the three platforms in my environment (if possible)


1 Answer 1


HFS+ (Journaled) or JHFS+ has been used as a great encrypted file system on macOS since ages and it's one of the best file systems available. I would recommend you to go with JHFS+ formatted drives. But, there's one problem, the filesystem is not supported on Ubuntu and Windows, but there is a small fix to get this working on both the Operating Systems.

On Ubuntu:

Install hfsprogs:

sudo apt-get install hfsprogs

Next, mount or remount the HFS+ drive; commands need to be as follows:

sudo mount -t hfsplus -o force,rw /dev/sdXY /media/mntpoint


sudo mount -t hfsplus -o remount,force,rw /mount/point

Finally, if the drive was improperly unmounted or has otherwise become partially corrupted run fsck.hfsplus ... as such:

sudo fsck.hfsplus -f /dev/sdXY

On Windows:

It's as easy as installing a driver. Driver download and instructions here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/apple-hfs-windows-driver-download.1368010/

  • That leaves out many more viable file system options and doesn't even address the encryption issue. -1 Jan 17, 2018 at 9:44
  • I know there are loopholes in this answer. But, for now, you gotta stick to it as ex3/ext4/btrfs are only supported on Linux and however, you can get ext4 to work on Windows via a Paid program, but there are no options for other file systems and MacOS. Jan 23, 2018 at 5:01
  • There's free open-source ext* support on Windows and free open-source NTFS support on Linux and OS X. There's free open-source support for FAT32 and ExFAT on Linux and out-of-the box support in Windows and OS X. HFS+ is arguably the worst of all since the Linux drivers are in a pretty bad shape and I'm not even aware of Windows drivers. Jan 23, 2018 at 18:40

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