How to Format Hard Drive to exFAT in Windows 7/8/10?

January 10, 2018

This article will show you how to successfully format hard drive to exFAT in Windows 10/8/7 within few steps. Thus, you can make hard drive be compatible with Windows and Mac

Need to format hard drive to exFAT

In general, it is necessary to change a hard drive to exFAT file system in Windows 10/8/7 under the cases listed below:

Case 1:

“I have got a 1TB external hard drive and it has been formatted with NTFS file system. I want to transfer some files between my PC to my friend’s Mac. But when I tried to put certain file on the Mac, I failed to copy the file from the external hard drive to the local drive on Mac”.

Case 2:

“I have one hard drive used for PS4. When I connected the FAT32 hard drive to my working computer running Windows 10 and tried to copy one large file to it, I was told that the file is too large to copy for the destination file system”.

In Case 1, the hard drive is NTFS file system. It can be fully supported by Windows systems and read-only supported by Mac OS. If you need to make the external hard drive be compatible with Window and Mac, you need to format hard drive to exFAT or FAT32.

In Case 2, the hard drive is formatted with FAT32. The hard drive with FAT32 file system is unable to store large file beyond 4GB. If you insist to move the file to the hard drive, you need to format it to NTFS or exFAT. And because the hard drive is used for PS4 and NTFS is not compatible with PS4, you have to change the file system of the hard drive to exFAT.

All in all, considering compatibility and file size limit, exFAT is the most suitable file system for hard drive in the two cases above.

Format external hard drive to exFAT using Disk Management

You can easily change an external hard drive to exFAT file system via Disk Management by following the steps listed below (supposed the operating system is Windows 10):

1. Connect the external hard drive to your computer and make sure that it can be detected by Windows.

2. Press Windows + X at the same time and choose “Disk Management”.

3. Right click the hard drive partition that you intend to format to exFAT and choose “Delete Volume” to delete the partition.

4. Right click the unallocated disk space and choose “New simple volume” and do as the prompts.

5. In the Format Partition window, set the file system as exFAT and click “Next”>“Finish” to start the operation.

Choose exFAT File System

Format internal hard drive partition to exFAT via Diskpart utility

Sometimes, you need to format internal hard drive partition to exFAT and find out that the option of exFAT will be unavailable even in the Format Partition window during the process of creating new simple after deleting the partition that you need to format to exFAT. Fortunately, Windows another built-in tool Diskpart can help you settle this issue. Have a look of formatting internal hard drive partition in Windows 7.

1. Press “Windows + R” keys simultaneously and input “diskpart”.

2. Input the commands below and hit “Enter” key following every command.

“list disk”>“select disk n (“n” is the internal disk number)”>“list partition”>“select partition m (where “m” is the number of the hard drive partition that you plans to format)”>“format fs=exfat”

Format internal Hard Drive exFAT

After a while, you can see a prompt that Diskpart successfully formatted the volume. Here you can type “exit” to close up the Diskpart tool.


  • You are not allowed to format the drive holding operating system on the internal hard drive.

  • Format will blank the data on the hard drive partition; you’d better to backup the data that you care about before this operation.

Format hard drive partition to exFAT via Diskpart alternative

It is convenient to format hard drive to exFAT via Diskpart. However, there are chances that you’ll type wrong command and be trapped in the ineffective command or even cause important data loss. Therefore, it is advised to use the best free Diskpart alternative – AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It is able to format external or internal hard drive, USB flash drive or SD card to exFAT, Ext2, Ext3, NTFS and FAT32. What’s more, it can resize partition and merge partitions. And you can enjoy more functions like converting MBR system disk to GPT without data loss if you upgrade it to Professional version. As for compatibility, AOMEI Partition Assistant can work on Windows 7/8/10, XP and Vista.

To format hard drive via AOMEI Partition Assistant (take formatting external hard drive in Windows 10 as an example), you should firstly attach external hard drive to your PC and make it detected by the operating system. Then, download and install AOMEI Partition Assistant. After that, you can do as the following steps.
Step 1. Right click the hard drive partition that going to be formatted and choose “Format partition”.

Format Hard Drive to exFAT

Step 2. Select “exFAT” in the drop-down list behind File System. Then, click “OK”.

Choose exFAT

Step 3. In the main interface, you can preview the operation. Click “Apply” to perform it.

Apply Format

Note: If you want to format the internal hard drive partition where Windows installed on, you can create a bootable media and format C drive under Windows PE environment.