You can format the external hard drive or USB drive to make it compatible with both Mac and Windows machines. This thing is still unknown for many users but doesn’t worry it’s not complex.
If you are techy and use Windows and Mac computers frequently, then you might need to transfer data between Mac and PC. Windows and macOS filesystems are different and you might need to format the drive every time to use on both platforms. You don’t need to format the hard drive every time you can choose a filesystem while formating the drive so the hard drive or USB drive work on both Mac and PC
So to get rid of these situations we bring here a guide that will help you to format your drive which works on both platforms and you don’t need to format and backup data every time. After cross-compatible formatting, simply unplug the drive from one machine and then plug it to another. Sounds good to you right? So let’s started, how this works.
Understand file systems for Mac and PC
Can I use my HDDs with my Mac and Windows computer at the same time? Technically, yes. Mac-compatible hard drives will come formatted for Mac right out of the box. If you want to use if for Windows also, you’ll have to partition your drive and create the needed space to support your windows files or disks. An External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Windows & a Mac. If you have both Windows and Mac computers in your office, it's important to understand their different storage requirements before buying an external hard drive. Both operating systems use different formats for reading and writing to a hard drive.
There are three common file system types to format an external USB or hard drive, SSD drive, SD card and etc. FAT32, NTFS, and exFAT, let’s have a look what’s the difference between these formats.
FAT 32 Format
This format is pretty old but supported and it’s not efficient as compared to NTFS. It doesn’t support big features but offers great compatibility which means it’s compatible with all versions of Windows. It can only support 4GB file size and up to 8TB hard drivers. It’s not capable to store files larger than 4GB.
NTFS is a modern format system and Windows also uses this format for itself and for other non-removable drives by default. This format is also compatible with all versions of Windows but limited to none Windows OS as FAT32.
exFAT drives are faster at reading and writing as compared to FAT32. This format can store large files and it’s also lightweight. It’s compatible with all versions of Windows and the best thing it’s along with Windows it’s also compatible with macOS, Linux, and Android, etc.
- If your drive is formatted as Windows default format NTFS then its only readable to macOS. You can’t do more than that or you have to install a separate app on Mac to read write the drive.
- Drive with macOS format HFS+ cant readable to Windows.
- FAT32 format works on both Windows and Mac but the problem is you can only work with the files with Maximum size 4GB.
Learn more: Copy data on NTFS drive in macOS
Best External Hard Drive For Mac And Pc
FAT32 is much better than NTFS and HFS+ coz it works on both operating systems. You can also install drivers on each OS to make work your drive. So exFAT is much better than all of these formats and a simple option but this will not work on Leopard.
Format and external hard drive on Mac
First, let’s see how to format an external hard drive or USB drive in macOS which works with both Mac and PC platforms, first plug-in your drive in macOS machine.
- Open Disk Utility on your macOS, press cmd + spacebar keys and type Disk Utility in the spotlight search. Open Disk Utility from the search results.
- On the Disk Utility interface, select an external drive click on the Erase button from top of the window (make sure and bcakup your drive before erasing it).
- Now enter the name for the external drive which will be used after formatting and also select exFAT for Format option and click on the Erase. This will format the drive as ExFAT format and your drive is now compatible with both platforms.
Format hard drive in Windows
The below steps for formatting external drive is for Windows 10 and also works the same with an old version of Windows. To format your external drive hard drive in Windows which works with both platforms, first plug-in your drive with Windows machine.
Open Disk Management tool by right-clicking on start menu icon and then select Disk Management. Now right click on the external drive and click on format option (double-check the drive name and capacity to make sure you are going to format the right drive.)
Now enter the Volume label as you need and change the File system for exFat and click Ok. Now you are done.
Share your experience, how do you use an external hard drive on both Mac and PC. Did you format the drive as exFAT ? or use any utility that helps the system to read another type of file system. Please leave a comment below.
Moving to a new Mac? Before taking these steps, you can use Migration Assistant to move your files from the old Mac to your new Mac.
Create a backup
Make sure that you have a current backup of your important files. Learn how to back up your Mac.
Sign out of iTunes in macOS Mojave or earlier
If you're using macOS Mojave or earlier, open iTunes. From the menu bar at the top of the screen or iTunes window, choose Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer. Then enter your Apple ID and password and click Deauthorize.
Learn more about deauthorizing computers used with your iTunes account.
Sign out of iCloud
If you're using macOS Catalina or later, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Apple ID. Select Overview in the sidebar, then click Sign Out.
If you're using macOS Mojave or earlier, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click iCloud, then click Sign Out.
You will be asked whether to keep a copy of your iCloud data on this Mac. You can click Keep a Copy, because you're erasing your Mac later. Your iCloud data remains in iCloud and on any other devices that are signed in to iCloud with your Apple ID.
Sign out of iMessage
If you're using OS X Mountain Lion or later, open the Messages app, then choose Messages > Preferences from the menu bar. Click iMessage, then click Sign Out.
Best router wifi for mac. A simultaneous dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) device, that delivers up to 431 Mbps (real world) speed on the 802.11ac mode, this is one of the most feature-rich products in the market.
Shut down your Mac, then turn it on and immediately press and hold these four keys together: Option, Command, P, and R. Release the keys after about 20 seconds. This clears user settings from memory and restores certain security features that might have been altered.
Learn more about resetting NVRAM or PRAM.
Optional: Unpair Bluetooth devices that you’re keeping
If your Mac is paired with a Bluetooth keyboard, mouse, trackpad, or other Bluetooth device that you plan to keep, you can unpair it. This optional step prevents accidental input when the Mac and device have separate owners but remain in Bluetooth range of each other.
If you're unpairing Bluetooth input devices from a desktop computer such as an iMac, Mac mini, or Mac Pro, you must plug in a USB keyboard and mouse to complete the remaining steps in this article.
To unpair a Bluetooth device, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Bluetooth. Move your pointer over the device that you want to unpair, then click the remove (x) button next to the device name.
Erase your hard drive and reinstall macOS
Format Thumb Drive For Mac And Pc
The best way to restore your Mac to factory settings is to erase your hard drive and reinstall macOS.
After macOS installation is complete, the Mac restarts to a setup assistant that asks you to choose a country or region. To leave the Mac in an out-of-box state, don't continue setup. Instead, press Command-Q to shut down the Mac. When the new owner turns on the Mac, the setup assistant guides them through the setup process.
Format Flash Drive For Mac And Pc 2017
No matter the model or condition, we can turn your device into something good for you and good for the planet: Learn how to trade in or recycle your Mac with Apple Trade In.