Are Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc

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Sep 28, 2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

'How to format hard drive for Mac and PC? I want to resell my computers and would like to get rid of my data beforehand, but can't seem to format my system!'

It doesn't matter what kind of situation you are in, it is important to learn how to format HDD for Mac and Windows. You might want to resell your system, get rid of something, or simply want to make more free space on it.

Why should you consider formatting your hard drive? You might already know the consequences of. Plug your HD into the Mac and open Disk Utility, which can be accessed by searching for it in Spotlight. Then, select your hard drive from the left sidebar. Now go to the Erase tab. Format Hard Drive (Mac) 1. Connect the external hard drive to the computer. Click Go on the top tool bar, and select Utilities. Open Disk Utility. Select the external hard drive on the left-hand side. Click the Partition tab. Change the Partition Layout from Current to 1 Partition. Transferring Data From a Mac to PC via an External Hard Drive. Mac OS X and Windows can both read and write to disks in the FAT or ExFat format. Because Mac OS X Mountain Lion does not natively.

While it might sound complicated, both Mac and Windows give us dedicated features to manage our disk space. You can use it to manage your storage, merge partitions, and even do a disk format for Mac and PC. In this post, we will cover dedicated solutions on how to format your hard drive in Mac and PC.

Part 1. Why should you consider formatting your hard drive?

You might already know the consequences of formatting a hard drive. It will erase all the data stored in it, making it empty in one go. Therefore, before you format Mac/PC drive, make sure that you have taken a backup of your important data. Once it is done, you can do a hard disk format for Mac and PC to enjoy the following advantages.

  • It will help you get rid of any sensitive data from your hard drive so that the other user can't access it.
  • Once the disk is formatted, it will make it empty and let you store new content on it. Therefore, you can consider formatting a partition if you are running low of space.
  • In case if the hard drive has been corrupted by a virus, then you can format it entirely to get rid of any malicious activity.
  • By formatting a partition, you can manage the storage on your PC/Mac and merge the free space with another sector as well.
  • It will automatically defragment the disk, which will let you reclaim the lost space on the storage unit.
  • You can also resolve any disk issue by formatting your hard drive.
  • After formatting a disk, you can reassign a file system to it, and make it compatible with your PC/Mac.

Part 2. Major Formats of Hard Drive for Mac and PC

Over time, more than a hundred different kinds of file systems and formats have been developed for Mac and PC hard drives. Though, here are some of the most commonly used and compatible formats.

Are Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc
  • exFAT: It stands for Extended File Allocation Table and is developed by Microsoft. The file system is mostly used to allocate space on external storage units like USB drives or SD cards.
  • NTFS: The New Technology File System is used by Windows NT operating systems. It is the common format for the native hard drive of the system and is equipped with tons of new-age memory allocation techniques.
  • FAT32: The File Allocation Table format is used to store data on units that have a capacity of more than 32 GB. It mostly works on external storage units like flash drives and is compatible with both Mac and Windows.
  • APFS: The Apple File System is the native technique for macOS, iOS, tvOS, and even watchOS. It provides high-end encryption and is a replacement for the age-old HFS+ system developed by Apple.

There are different other kinds of file systems that your hard drive can support. To check it, just select the partition or the external disk, right-click, and visit its 'Properties'. Go to the 'General' tab to know details about the file system of the disk.

Part 3. How to Format Hard Drive for Mac and PC on Windows?

If your Mac or PC has a Windows OS installed, then you won't face any trouble managing it. Every major version of the operating system provides a dedicated solution to format hard drive as well as external storage units. Also, you can manage the internal partitions, merge them, create new ones, and do so much more. Here's how to format hard drive on your Windows PC.

  1. First, you need to access the Disk Management tool on your Windows. To do this, just click on the Start menu and look for 'disk management'. Alternatively, you can also access it from the Control Panel.
  2. This will open a dedicated window for various disks on your system. Simply select a partition that you wish to format and right-click it. Choose the 'Format' option to proceed.
  3. As the formatting wizard will open, select the kind of file system that you wish to convert it to. For instance, it can be NTFS, exFAT, and so on.
  4. You can also allocate it to the relevant size or label it here as well. If you have less time, then you can choose to quickly format it by enabling the relevant option.
  5. In the end, you will get a confirmation prompt like this. Just click on the 'Format' or 'Yes' button and wait for a while as the disk would be formatted.

Important Note: Formatting an external device

Windows also let us format an external device like SD card, pen drive, etc. quite easily. Simply right-click its icon from My Computer and from the context menu, click on the 'Format' option. Choose a file type and formatting option and click on the 'Start' button to format the disk.

Part 4. How to Format Hard Drive for Mac and PC on Mac?

Just like Windows, macOS also gives us a seamless option to format the hard drives for Mac (and PC). The operating system has an inbuilt tool, which is known as Disk Utility. Using it, you can erase a hard drive, create new partitions, and even repair your disk as well. To learn how to format in Mac your hard drive, follow these steps:

  1. To start with, just go to Finder > Applications > Utilities to view all the available tools and features. From here, you can launch the Disk Utility application.
  2. Here, you can view all kinds of storage units available on your system (both internal and external). Simply go to the left panel and select the disk you wish to format.
  3. On the right, you can view details about the selected disk. Go to its toolbar and click on the 'Erase' option.
  4. This will display the following pop-up on the screen. You can give the partition/drive a label, select its partition scheme, and specify its file format as well.
  5. Click on the 'Erase' button in the end and confirm your choice as Mac would format the selected disk.

In no time, the entire disk would be emptied and you can manage it the way you like. You can follow the same drill to format an external device on Mac as well.

Part 5. How to Recover Formatted Hard Drive on Mac?

By following the above-listed methods, you would be able to format hard drive for Mac and PC seamlessly. Though, if you have formatted a hard drive accidentally, then you might end up losing your important files. In this case, you can take the assistance of Recoverit Data Recovery software to get back your lost or deleted content from Mac. The data recovery tool is available for free and supports all the major macOS and Windows versions. Following a simple on-screen process, you can easily extract your data from your Mac's hard drive or an external device.

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If you have deleted a partition on Mac or have lost it due to any other reason, then you should use Recoverit Data Recovery. It can help you restore partition data on Mac by following these easy steps.

Step 1: Select a Location

Firstly, launch the Recoverit Data Recovery application on your Mac and from its home, pick a location. A list of all the available locations will be displayed. You can just pick a source and start the scan.

Format Hard Drive For Both Mac And Pc

Step 2: Scan the Location

This will commence the data recovery operation on the selected location. You simply need to wait for a few minutes for the scan to finish successfully.

Step 3: Preview and Recover

Once the process is completed, you can just preview the extracted data on Recoverit's interface. Make the needed selections and click on the 'Recover' button, so that you can save your files to a safe location.

Important Note:

If you are running the latest version of macOS, then you should consider disabling its System Integrity Protection feature first. This will allow third-party apps like Recoverit to access the partitions and file system on your Mac. Restart your Mac and press the Command + R keys to boot it in the Recovery mode. Launch the Terminal app by visiting the utility menu and enter the command: csrutil disable. In the end, restart your Mac in the normal mode and launch Recoverit again.

Part 6. Tips for Formatting Hard Drive

If you want to get positive results while formatting your hard drive on Mac or PC, then consider following these steps:

Format Portable Hard Drive For Mac And Pc

  • Since formatting will erase all the existing data on your hard drive, make sure you have taken its backup beforehand.
  • When your system is formatting the drive, don't halt the process in between as it can make the storage unavailable.
  • As both Windows and Mac provide native solutions to format the hard drives, you should avoid using any unreliable third-party tool.
  • While formatting, you would be asked to pick a file system for the disk. Therefore, make sure that the file system is supported by your Mac or Windows.
  • Instead of a quick format, you should follow the standard process. This will save the empty space on your system and avoid disk fragmentation.

Conclusion

Now you can easily format hard drive for Mac and PC like a pro, without facing any trouble. Apart from formatting the internal drive, we have also listed a smart solution to format external devices as well. Not just that – the guide has also included a working solution to recover data from a formatted drive. If you have accidentally formatted a drive, then use Recoverit Data Recovery. An excellent recovery tool for Mac and Windows, it will make sure that you never suffer from an unwanted loss of data again.

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Make your hard disk or USB flash drive compatible to both Mac and Windows PCs using this easy step by step guide.

Are Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc

The irony is that, by default, Windows and Mac use different file systems. While Windows uses NTFS file system, Mac hard drives are formatted with HFS file system. And they are incompatible with each other! Now, the question is how to make hard drive compatible with Mac and PCs?

Well, you can format the drive and make it as excellent cross-platform compatible to work with both Windows and Mac. This is not a difficult task at all. And if you are going to use Mac and Windows PC frequently, you will find this as very useful as any data, files, media files stored on the drive can be easily accessible from any operating system. It is just a matter of few minutes to do this. In this article, we are going to introduce you with the entire process in few simple guidelines.

How to Format a Drive for Mac and Windows PC Compatibility?

You can format any hard drive, flash drive, SSD, USB drive, that is accepted by both a Mac and Windows machine. And it is recommended to carry out the entire process on Mac OS X

  • Open Disk Utility
  • Attach the drive you wish to format for dual compatibility to the Mac
  • Click the drive name on the left side list in Disk Utility, and then click the Erase tab
  • Then click the pulldown menu alongside Format and select MS-DOS (FAT)
  • Give the drive a name(optional) and click the Erase button to format the drive

When you want to use your drive with older versions of Windows, you may also need to set the partition scheme to Master Boot Record (MBR) for full Windows compatibility:

  • Click the drive, then select Partition tab
  • From the Partition Layout dropdown menu, select 1 Partition
  • Click Options and choose Master Boot Record as the partition type, then click OK and Apply

“Drives format very quickly, though the total time taken will depend on the size of the drive. Remember, formatting a drive erases all data contained on it so back up important files before proceeding. In the event of not having backups, then you can recover formatted external hard drive data using a reliable Mac Hard drive recovery software. Remo Recover for Mac is recommended here.”

Hard drive can be formatted using both FAT32 and exFAT. Which one is better? FAT32 or exFAT?

Are Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc For Sale

Once you have done with formatting, the drive will be compatible to be read and written to on both a Mac and PC, and the resulting FAT file system is compatible with all versions of Mac OS X, and Windows, including Windows 10, it’s one of the most widely recognized and usable file system formats.

This widespread compatibility makes FAT an ideal file system to use for external hard drives that are intended for use in environments with multiple operating systems.

One of the limitations of using FAT32 is the file size limit, which limits files on the drive to being 4GB in size or less. If you require single files to be larger than 4GB, use exFAT instead, though you will lose some compatibility with older versions of Mac OS X and Windows.

Why can’t you use NTFS on Mac?

Mac And Pc External Drive

The NTFS file system is another option to use for Windows formatted drives and volumes, but it has limited compatibility with Mac OS by default. Mac users can mount and read NTFS formatted Windows drives, making NTFS compatible with the Mac on the reading and mounting front, but writing to an NTFS drive requires using either third party software or enabling NTFS write support on the Mac using an experimental functionality bundled on the Mac. So if you want to do heavy file sharing between Mac and Windows with a lot of reading and writing, it is better to format a drive as FAT32 as discussed above.

Are Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pci

However, backup any data on the external hard drive you want to keep on another device before formatting. Formatting a hard drive will erase all data that’s stored on it. Both Windows and Mac OS X allow you to adjust the size of the format partitions on external hard drives. Set the number to the maximum to use the entire drive in a single partition. FAT32 formatted drives also work for PC and Mac sharing, in particular with older versions of both operating systems. However, Microsoft recommends against using FAT32 whenever possible in favor of exFAT.