How to Format Portable Hard Drive for Mac and PC?

August 13, 2018

This article will show you the reason of formatting portable hard drive for Mac and PC and the best solution of how to format portable hard drive for Mac and PC.

Scenario

“I recently bought a 128GB portable hard drive and I would like to use it with both my Mac and Windows computer. When I connect it to my MacBook through the FireWire, it works fine, but I also have media on my Dell laptop which is running Windows Vista. When I connect the hard drive to that laptop using the USB cable, Windows doesn’t recognize it. I know Windows operating system not support HFS+ file system, but if I format the portable hard drive to NTFS, Mac operating system doesn’t fully support NTFS formatted drive. What should I do? Any suggestions are thanks in advance!”

Need to format portable hard drive for Mac and PC

If you have a portable hard drive with NTFS file system, you can use it in Windows computer easily. But if you connect it to a MacBook, you will find that the operating system cannot recognize it. This time, you must format it specifically so that it will be compatible with both Mac OS X and Windows computers. Generally, there are two kinds of file systems that can be read or written in both Mac and Windows – FAT32 and exFAT. FAT32 is a kind of file system suitable for small capacity hard disk. It is designed to overcome the 2GB partition limit with the FAT system. The maximum file size of a single file it supports is 4GB. exFAT is a file system rolled out to fill the gap of FAT32 and is more suitable for flash memory. exFAT can break the single file limit of 4GB, which is about the size of a single file in NTFS. Format your portable hard drive to FAT32 and exFAT can achieve the purpose of use it in both Windows computer and Mac computer.

How to format portable hard drive for Mac and PC?

Don’t know how to format portable hard drive for Mac and PC? Don’t be worry! Here provides you two methods to formatting external hard drive for Mac and PC.

Method 1. Format portable hard drive via Diskpart tool

Diskpart is a command-line disk partitioning utility include in Windows 2000 and later. This built-in tool can help you format your portable hard drive to exFAT or FAT32. And the specific steps are as follow:

1. Press “Windows” + “R” to open the Run box, type “diskpart” in the run dialogue, and then hit “Enter”.

2. In the pop-up window, input the following commands and hit “Enter” after each command.

list disk

select disk n (here “n” is the disk number of USB drive.)

list partition

select partition m (here “m” is the number of partition going to be formatted.)

format fs=exfat (here if you need to format your portable hard drive to FAT32, replace the command with “format fs=fat32”.)

Format via Diskpart

3. After that, type “exit” to close this window.

With the help of diskpart, you can format your portable hard drive very quickly. But if you use it to format partition over 32GB to FAT32, you will get the error message that the volume is too big. That is to say, you cannot use diskpart to format volume larger than 32GB.

Method 2. Format portable hard drive via third party software

If you want to format the portable hard drive which is larger than 32GB, you can turn to a third-party software to do this operation. Compare with other software, here I highly recommend AOMEI Partition Assistant – the best hard drive formatting tool which provide you many powerful functions like format partition. With the help of this function, you can format your portable hard drive for Mac and PC easily and effectively in Windows 10/8/7, Windows Vista and Windows XP. The specific steps are as follow:

Step 1.Download, install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Find your portable hard drive and right click the partition to select “Format Partition”.

Format Partition

Step 2. In the pop-up window, choose the exFAT (or FAT32) file system. And you can specify “Cluster Size” under file system if you need to. And click “OK” to continue.

Select File System

Step 3. After that, it will go back to the main interface. Preview the changes and click “Apply” > “Proceed” to complete the operation.

Apply Proceed

Conclusion

Follow these simple steps, you can easily and effectively format portable hard drive for Mac and PC. AOMEI Partition Assistant can be the best hard drive formatting tool. It can also help you to solve the problems like current read only yes or cannot format flash drive via this function. Besides format partition, it also has many other advanced functions like resize/move/delete partition, disk copy, partition copy, migrate OS to SSD, convert to GPT and so on. If you meet the problem like c drive full Windows 10/8/7, you can upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional to solve this problem.