Are you looking a way to format external hard drive for Mac and Windows PC? In this post, we will discuss four methods that will enable your hard drive to be compatible for Mac and Windows PC.
As you know that an external hard drive is effective to back up data on your computer or interchange files as different computers. And if you are sharing files with Mac and Windows computers, the methods below might be useful for you.
How to Format External Hard Drive Compatible for Mac and Windows PC
Here, we will show you four methods to format an external hard drive so that it is compatible for Mac and Windows PC. Choose the solution selectively on how you want your hard drive to be formatted.
Method 1: Format External Hard Drive Windows to FAT32
FAT32 is the format that both Mac and Windows computer can read and write on without driver. So, formatting your hard drive to FAT32 is the first solution that we will try. However, there is a down side of using this format: the low writing speed and Windows Disk Management cannot create a FAT32 partition larger than 32GB. Thus, we will use MiniTool Partition Wizard Free.
Follow the instructions below to learn how to format an external hard drive to FAT32:
- Download and install MiniTool Partition Wizard Free on your computer.
- Plug in your external hard drive to your computer.
- Launch the software and select the partition on the external hard drive that you want to format to FAT32.
- Click on Delete Partition on the left pane. Note: select the disk and click Delete All Partitions if you have multiple partitions to format.
- Select the unallocated space and click on Create Partition on the left pane.
- Choose FAT32 on the File System option in the pop out window.
- Set the properties and press OK.
- Click Apply to proceed.
Method 2: Format External Hard Drive Windows to exFAT
Another format that you can use is exFAT. This format is quite similar to the FAT32. Here is the tutorial to format your external hard drive to exFAT:
- Launch the MiniTool Partition Wizard Free.
- Select the partitions that you want to delete and press Apply.
- Choose the unallocated partition and press Create Partition.
- In the pop up window, select exFAT in the File System, set the size and location, and the drive letter.
- Click the Apply button.
Now, your external hard drive is compatible for Mac and Windows PC.
Method 3: Create One HFS+ Partition for Mac and One NTFS Partition for Windows
The third solution is to create 2 partitions on the external hard drive with different formats: NTFS for Windows and HFS+ for Mac. You can set the size depending on your need. This way will enable you to have an external hard drive compatible for Mac and Windows PC.
Step 1: Create a NTFS Partition and a FAT32 Partition
- Open MiniTool Partition Wizard Free and delete all partitions in your external hard drive.
- Choose the partitions and press Delete All Partitions in the left pane.
- Click the unallocated space and choose Create Partition on the left pane.
- Set the File System to be NTFS, the size and location, and the drive letter and click OK.
- Press Apply button to create the NTFS partition.
Step 2: Format the FAT32 Partition to HFS+ Partition on Mac
- Launch the Disk Utility.
- Choose the external hard drive and press Partition tab.
- Find the partition that you want to format to OS X Extended (Journaled) or HFS+.
- Hit the Apply button.
Now you have two partitions: NTFS for Windows PC and HFS+ for Mac.
Method 4: Create NTFS and Install Paragon NTFS for Mac
Generally, both Mac and Windows computer can read a hard drive with NTFS format. But, Mac is only limited to read the NTFS format and unable to write any files to hard drive with this format. However, there is a way to make Mac computer able to write, edit, delete, copy or move files on NTFS volumes, that is installing an NTFS driver, Paragon NTFS for Mac.
Paragon NTFS for Mac is a powerful driver that enable mac computer to read and write or modify files in NTFS hard drive. With this app, you can just format your external hard drive to NTFS only and it will be compatible for both Mac and Windows computer.
Among all the methods, we recommend you to use the last one. It is easier for you as the NTFS is one of the best volumes that brings more advantageous than the exFAT or FAT32. What if you choose HFS+? Windows PC will be unable to recognize this format.
The HFS+ partition will remain hidden when you plug the external hard drive to Windows PC. In the other hand, it is useless if you are mostly using the Windows computer. As the final words, use the NTFS format.
For queries and suggestions, feel free to contact us. Thank you for reading, Folks!