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For a Mac user, neither of these file systems are desirable. You should see a list of connected drives and mounted disk images listed in the left-hand sidebar. Click on one to select it and view its name, current file system, and available space.

How to format an external hard drive for Mac and PC?

To format a new drive to a different file system, select it and click Erase. Click Erase in the dialog box to begin the formatting process. Remember that you will lose all data on the drive by doing this. Read More before moving on. Now it's the Mac's turn. Read More , first introduced in early for iOS devices.

Apple File System is optimized for use with solid state drives SSDs and flash storage, but you can also use it with traditional mechanical hard disk drives HDDs too. Copy and paste are virtually instantaneous thanks to the way the file system organizes your data. This file system is still suitable for use with both mechanical and solid state drives, though SSDs will perform better when formatted to APFS.

If you have older Macs pre , particularly those too old to update to a recent version of macOS, choosing macOS Extended will enable you to use your external drive with these machines. FAT32 vs. A file system is the tool that lets an operating system read data on any hard drive. Many systems use FAT32, but is that the right one, and is there a better option? Good for: Drives shared between Mac and Windows machines, especially flash drives.

How to play any format type of video movie on Mac and Windows for FREE

Bad for: Drives that are predominantly used with a Mac a third-party driver may be worth it, in this instance. This makes it unsuitable for modern purposes. 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.

Choosing the Right Format for Your External Hard Drive

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. Here's how:. Then, select your hard drive from the left sidebar.

Understand common file systems

Now go to the Erase tab. Then, click Erase at the bottom to format the drive. Please note that this will complete erase the drive.


  • Partition Wizard.
  • How to Format Drive with Compatible File System for Mac and Windows?.
  • How to Format Drive with Compatible File System for Mac and Windows??

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: Create two partitions on your hard drive to use with each OS, separately. This solution is a little different than the previous two because instead of having one hard drive that works with both machines, you're splitting your HD into two sections, each dedicated to a different OS.


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For example, if you have a 1TB hard drive, GB of storage can be used with your Windows computer, and will be dedicated to your Mac computer. You won't be able to write to the Mac side from your Windows computer, and vice versa, but it's a good solution for people who want all the advantages each format has to offer for its respective system.

Here's how to do it:. Select the drive from the left sidebar, then click the Partition tab. Under Partition layout, select "2 Partitions.

Choosing the Right Format for Your External Hard Drive | B&H Explora

For example, you might want more storage for your Mac than you do for your PC. Give your settings a final lookover and click Apply. Step 2: Plug the hard drive into your Windows PC.


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  3. Format Your Drive With Disk Utility?
  4. Open the Start menu and search for Disk Management. Select the search result and the Disk Management utility will launch. In the left sidebar, you should see your hard drive and its partitions.