If you want yours to seamlessly work with both Macs and PCs, your external drive needs to use a filesystem that is supported by both platforms. Warning: Following this guide includes re-formatting your external drive, this will erase the data from your drive.
- Understand common file systems!
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Cons: Not compatible with older operating systems. You must have Mac OS X To format the drive to work with both platforms you will need use a Windows computer to format the disk as exFAT. Mac instructions above will now work for exFAT.
How to format your hard drive
I will leave Windows instructions below for the benefit of Windows users. You would not be able to use this disk for long HD videos and large disk images, for example. For this reason I would recommend exFAT. By this point in time, most computers you encounter will work fine with exFAT.
Need to format portable hard drive for Mac and PC
Really appreciate it. Thank you so much for this information! I thought I was going to have to return my 1TB hard drive but these instructions prevented that from happening. Thanks again. When you did this, did it delete all of your current data stored on your mac?
- Guide: Formatting a USB Flash Drive for Mac & PC Compatibility;
- Format a USB Drive as EXFAT for Mac and Windows Compatibility.
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FAT is a legacy format that windows used mostly before Cons: FAT32 comes with file size limits and drive partition limits. Also, FAT is the standard file system for digital cameras.
Pros: The largest partition and file sizes it supported are nearly unlimited by today's standards. Cons: exFAT file system is not compatible with older operating systems. It should be used in macOS As most users have upgraded operating system, it is actually quite easy to meet to lowest operating system requirements of exFAT. It can be easily implemented in firmware that has low memory and low power requirements, such as cameras, mobile phones, media players, etc.
Pros: It is an improvement for FAT32, and it is used as the default file system of Windows system hard drive due to its improved performance, reliability, and disk space use. It is optimized for flash drives and SSD with a primary focus on encryption.
Solved: exFAT Drive Not Recognized in Windows 10
Warning: Formatting a disk or a partition will erase data on this drive. Make sure you have a copy of data backup in hand if you have important files on this external hard drive. However, if you have formatted this drive and are encountering data loss, you can recover data from formatted external hard drive with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery. Also, if you plug in an NTFS formatted drive to your Mac and you have a copy of data backup, then you can follow the following steps to format your external hard drive for both Mac and PC without worrying data loss.
Click on Launchpad at the dock of your Mac, choose Other in the menu, and then select Disk Utility to open. Tips: You can choose FAT when you need maximum compatibility with the widest range of devices and if you don't have any files larger than 4 GB. And for better performance, you can choose Guide Partition Map scheme if your disk or partition is larger than 1TB.
What is Hard Drive Formatting?
Connect your external hard drive to your PC, and then select this drive from the list and right-click on it. Check Perform a quick format and click OK to format the external hard drive. Except for having the whole external hard drive formatted, you can also split this disk with two partitions. One is formatted with the file system that is compatible with macOS, another partition is compatible with Windows conversely.
How to Format a Hard Drive on Mac to Work on Mac and PC: 15 Steps
By this means, you can use all the advantages each format has on the respective system. Warning: Still, you need to back up files on this drive before you begin to create two separate partitions to work for Mac and Windows PC.
Step 1: Connect your external hard drive to your Mac, and then launch Disk Utility. Step 2: Click on the drive name in the left sidebar, and then click on Partition at the top. Step 4: Click on the untitled half of the pie, give it a name, choose exFAT format, and decide the size according to your need. Step 6: Then click on another partition and format it with Mac OS Extended , and give it a name like "Mac" for your convenience.
After saving all these changes above, there will be two partitions on your external hard drive. Step 1: Search for Disk Management and open it. Then you will find this external hard drive at the lower right column. By creating two separate partitions, you can use this external hard drive on both Mac and Windows. You won't be able to write to the Mac partition from your Windows computer, and vice versa.