32GB SanDisk flash drive not recognized by my PC

I just received the drive in the mail from a photographer who uses a Mac. When I inserted it I got the standard "New Hardware detected" message and let it do its thing. After that finished, when I tried to explore the contents of the disk it said the disk needed to be formatted first. So I tried it on my laptop and the exact same thing happened. Both are running Vista. Is there a way to fix this at my end without sending it back to him? We've successfully exchanged files in the past on CDs and DVDs and the PC/Mac thing didn't matter. Any advice would be appreciated.
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  1. well data cd/dvd's are burnt with a universal disk format UDF. UDF can be read by many operating systems and even dvd players (depending on the UDF version.) So that explains why you were able to exchange cd/dvd's.

    I don't use a mac, but apparently a mac can support drives formatted with fat32 file system. So if a external hard drive/USB flash drive was formatted with fat32, both windows and mac could access the drive.

    you can check to see if the USB flash drive is supported by vista.
    start->run->diskmgmt.msc
    hit enter
    look for your flash drive, look at the file system, it will say something like "unsupported file system" if windows cannot read it, and it is just that.
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