How to Format Seagate Drive for Mac and PC Quickly and Securely?

October 25, 2018

This paper shows how to format Seagate drive like Seagate external hard drive for Mac and PC using Diskpart utility and AOMEI Partition Assistant at length.

Want to use Seagate hard drive with both Mac and PC

“I have purchased a 1TB portable external Seagate hard drive and I would like to use it with both my Mac and Windows computer. I know Mac operating system doesn’t fully supports NTFS formatted drive. But if I format the Seagate external hard drive to HFS+ file system, it will not supported by my Windows computer. I want to know that what I should format the Seagate external hard drive to, so that it can be compatible both with Mac and PC. Is there any advice? Thanks for your help!”

Format Seagate hard drive to FAT32 or exFAT?

In fact, you are able to use NTFS formatted Seagate drive with Mac or HFS+ with Windows if you install certain third party software. But here I’d like to discuss what kind of file system you should format Seagate to for Mac and PC. As what mentioned in previous part, NTFS and HFS+ are not suitable, you should format Seagate drive to other file system. Both of FAT32 and exFAT are suitable for Seagate drive to be used with Mac and Windows computer. Then, should you format the hard drive to FAT32 or exFAT file system?

Apart from Windows and Mac, FAT32 is compatible with various electronic devices like Xbox One, PS3 and PS4 etc. But there are two defects in FAT32 file system: 4GB limitation of file size and 2TB restriction of volume. If there are large files to be stored to your Seagate drive, it is not advised to adopt FAT32 file system. As for exFAT, it is inferior in compatibility. But it breaks the limitation of 4GB in file size and 2TB in volume size.

If you need to store large file to Seagate drive, you can choose exFAT. If you want to use your drive with more devices, choose FAT32. All in all, choose a proper file system according to your specific demands.

How to format Seagate for Mac and Windows computer?

After realizing the respective properties of FAT32 and exFAT, you should know what you should format Seagate drive to. Then, connect Seagate drive to your PC and make sure that it can be detected by Windows. And you’ll detailed tutorial on how to format Seagate drive for Mac and PC in the following text.

Format Seagate drive to via free format tool

Usually, you can use Windows built-in tools like Diskpart to format Seagate drive. But they are with some limitations. For example, if you use it to format partition over 32GB to FAT32, the error message that the volume is too big will appear. Therefore, I recommend AOMEI Partition Assistant, which is a free powerful format tool, especially designed for Windows systems. It can support various file systems including NTFS, FAT32,exFAT, Ext2, Ext3 etc. It is able to format Seagate hard drive or USB flash drive as exFAT file system easily and effectively in Windows 10/8/7, XP and Vista. And it can format Seagate drive as FAT32 without the limitation of 32GB in partition size as well. You can enjoy more functions like converting MBR system disk into GPT if you upgrade it to Professional version.

To use this format tool, download and install it. Then, you can follow the step-by-step instruction given below:

Step 1. Run AOMEI Partition Assistant. In the main interface, locate the Seagate drive, right click it and choose “Format Partition”.

Format Seagate for Mac and PC

Step 2. In the pop-up window, choose exFAT or FAT32 among the listed file systems (Here exFAT is selected). Then, click “OK”.

Format Seagate Drive as exFAT

Step 3. You’ll return to main interface. Here you can preview formatting operation and click “Apply” to perform it.



Format Seagate drive via Diskpart utility

If the partition on Seagate drive is smaller than 32GB, you are able to use Diskpart utility to format it to FAT32. Or if you want to format Seagate drive to exFAT, Diskpart tool is a nice solution. The detailed steps are presented as follows:

Step 1. Press “Windows” + “R” to open Run Dialogue.

Step 2. In this window, type “diskpart” and hit “Enter” key.

Run Diskpart Utility

Step 3. In Diskpart window, input the following commands and hit “Enter” after each command.

  • list disk

  • select disk n, where “n” is the number of Seagate hard drive or flash drive

  • list partition

  • select partition m, where “m” is the number of partition going to be formatted.

  • format fs=exFAT

Format Seagate Using CMD

Note: If you need to format it to FAT32, replace the last command with “format fs=fat32”.

When your Seagate drive is formatted as exFAT or FAT32 successfully, you can type “exit” to close this window.


It is obviously that you can use Seagate external hard drive or flash drive with Mac and Windows computer as long as you format Seagate drive for Mac and PC. Based on your specific needs and select a proper way to achieve your goal.