Format hard drive to work on pc and mac

Click on the Erase button again to confirm your decision and wait for the process to end. If the hard drive you want to format is connected to your PC, it should be there. Right-click on it and select the Format option from the context menu. Keep in mind that you can only format storage devices that are currently not in use.

Windows will present you with a formatting window where you can specify various formatting parameters. After you confirm your selection, it should take just a few moments for the formatting process to finish. When Disk Utility opens, select the drive that is to be partitioned and formatted from the left-side panel.

Typically there are two listings for each drive, unless there is more than one partition on a particular drive. Choose the drive listing that is farthest to the left for the drive that will be formatted. It is usually directly above the name of the drive, and is the drive selection that has the total size being displayed.

How to Format a Drive for Mac & PC Compatibility

Once selected, click on Partition on the right-side area. In the Partition area, click under Partition Layout and select 1 Partition. Then, click on Options. To the right, insert a name for the drive, and click on Format. From the drop-down, select ExFAT. When done, click on Apply. A window will come up showing that formatting and partitioning the drive will erase all data that is on the drive.

If there's no needed information within the drive, then click on Partition. If there is data on the drive that is needed or is not backed up, it will need to be copied to another location before proceeding. The drive is now formatting and a status bar will be seen at the bottom that says formatting the disk and gives the name of the drive, the format it is applying, and the name that was specified. When it is done, this bar will go away and the drive should now be listed on the desktop. Right-click on Start , the Windows logo on the bottom-left of the screen, and click Disk Management. In the Disk Management window, the lower pane will display a list of available drives.

Identify the drive that needs to be partitioned and formatted, and make sure that all critical data on this drive has been backed up elsewhere. If there is already a partition on the drive, the bar above that drive will appear blue. If there is no critical data on the drive, or the data has been successfully backed up, right-click the bar and click Delete Volume.

If Disk Management shows the drive as Not Initialized , the drive will have to be initialized.

For assistance initializing a hard drive, please see Answer ID If there is no partition and data on the drive, it will appear as Unallocated , with a black bar on top. Right-click the Unallocated space or the black bar, and click New Simple Volume. Click Next to proceed. Choose the volume size and click Next. By default, the maximum disk space is already selected and it is recommended to leave it at the maximum disk space. Open Disk Management.

The best ways to format an external drive for Windows and Mac - CNET

In Windows 8 this can be achieved by moving the mouse to the bottom-left corner of the Desktop and right-clicking on top of the Start menu screen. Then, click Disk Management right below Storage. From the menu, click on Disk Management. FAT32 in macOS Once that's done, double left-click on the Mac HD , the internal Mac hard drive visible on the top-right corner of the desktop screen. While in there, open Utilities , and lastly double-click on Disk Utility When Disk Utility opens, all available drives will display on the left-side panel.

From said list, select the drive that is to be partitioned and formatted from the left-side panel.

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Once selected, click on Partition on the top area of the Disk Utility window. The Partition window will now appear. If you need to expand your storage space with an external hard drive and you use both Mac and PC, you'll likely run into a few obstacles. Hard drives advertised as being compatible with Windows and Mac OS may have misled you into thinking you could actually use one hard drive for both computers. Here's a look at how the different HD format types function:. According to the list above, formatting your hard drive to FAT32 so that you can read and write on either OS seems like the obvious solution.

The video and directions below will guide you through the process, but before you format your HD to FAT32, beware of these drawbacks:. The good news is, it's not FAT32 or nothing. The alternative solutions do require more tinkering, but if you do not want to risk FAT32's lack of security, choose from one of the following alternatives. Option 1: If you keep your hard drive's out-of-the-box NTFS format for all the reasons FAT32 displeases, there's a workaround that will allow your Mac to read and write files to the drive.


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However, it is an open-source program, so use it at your own risk. Many have vouched for its success, but others complain about bugs. The commercial solution, which will give you access to support and software updates, is Paragon NTFS. Option 2: Here's how:. Then, select your hard drive from the left sidebar. Now go to the Erase tab.


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  • How to Format a Drive for Mac & PC Compatibility.
  • Then, click Erase at the bottom to format the drive. Please note that this will complete erase the drive. Any data you want to keep on that drive must be backed up elsewhere first. This is an open-source program, so use it at your own risk. Alternatively, you can opt for paid software like MacDrive instead. Option 3: