How to Format External Hard Drive for Mac and PC

External drive allows users to move large files between computers. If you want to work with both Mac and PC platforms, then you will need a filesystem that is supported by both platforms. The problem is Windows uses NFTS and Mac uses HFS. Now, Windows can’t read HFS, and Mac can’t read NTFS. That’s why you should go for the FAT and exFAT filesystems. So now carefully read the tips guide below and format an external hard drive on Mac, Windows PC.

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Best Format for External Hard Drive Mac and PC

These are the best format for an external hard drive for PC and Mac OS:


You can use FAT to format the external hard drive for PC and Mac. It works natively with all Macs and PCs. But, you can’t format that file which is larger than 4 GB in size. Now, the steps are:

  • First of all, you need to open Disk Utility on your Mac. But, you have to find it quickly with the help of Spotlight. Then press on Magnifying glass and type Disk Utility.
  • Now, select the desired drive you want to format.
  • Choose the Erase tab in the Disk Utility.
  • It is time to select MS-DOS from the drop-down box.
  • Press on Erase button and follow the prompts.
  • After finishing the process, you are done.

Windows Tips Related Topic: If you don’t know how to quickly add or remove a user account on a windows computer. Then you should just read the article about Netplwiz.


You can also use exFAT to format the external hard drive of yours. It can work with large files. But, it is not compatible with older operating systems. If you are a Mac user, then you at least have Mac OS X 10.6.5 or newer. In addition to that, if you are a PC user, then you must have Windows SP1, Windows 8 or 7, or newer like Windows 10. Now, follow these steps:

  • At first, you need to plug the disk into a Windows Vista SP1 or Windows 7 PC.
  • Then open the computer window.
  • Now, right click on the drive and select the format option.
  • After that, select exFAT from the drop-down box and press on Start.
  • You are done.

Warning: If you are going to use the above methods, you have to consider making a backup of your data. That is because it will reformat your external drive.

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