Format Usb Drive From Mac To Windows

First, note the number of the disk in the disk management window. For example, in the screenshot below, the Mac-formatted drive is Disk 2. Next, open a Command Prompt window as administrator. To do this on Windows 8 or Windows 7, press the Windows key once, type cmd, and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter. Type diskpart into the Command Prompt window. Select your USB flash drive on the sidebar, choose Erase. Name the USB drive, choose the MS-DOS (FAT) for Format, Master Boot Record for Scheme. Then click Erase. Tip: OS X Extended (Journaled) is the default file system set by Mac OS, but it’s only natively supported on Macs. It’s also known as HFS+. Oct 08, 2020 Attach the drive to your Mac. Launch Disk Utility (from Applications Utilities Disk Utility ). Select the drive in the left-hand sidebar. From the Format menu, select ExFAT. Step 4: Format your USB Drive to work with Windows. Next format your USB drive to Windows FAT32 format. This is a format that Windows 10 will recognize. Note that you should replace the disk2 with the name of the your drive from step 3 if it wasn't disk2. (It may be disk3 or disk4). Run this command using the correct disk number for your USB.

PAGE CONTENT:
What Format of Flash Drive Works on Both Mac and PC
How to Format USB Flash Drive on Windows 10
How to Format USB Flash Drive on Mac with Disk Utility
FAT32 vs Exfat: What Is the Difference Between the Two File Systems

May 03, 2018 How to format a USB drive on a Mac. Plug the drive into a USB socket (if you have a recent MacBook or MacBook Pro that only has USB-C connectors, you’ll need a USB-C to USB-A adaptor). Open a new Finder window and click on the drive. Make sure it has no files on it that you need. This is the easiest way with which many users are familiar. Refer to the following steps to learn how. Step 1: Connect your USB flash drive and open press Win key + E to open File Explorer. Step 2: Right-click on the drive and choose the Format option. Step 3: Expand the File system drop-down menu and select the exFAT option.

Every operating system works based on the files and folders, given that Windows and Mac have been the widely used operating systems, understanding how to work with the file systems on both devices. Unfortunately, Windows and Mac systems work with different file systems, which should make it difficult to format a flash or USB drive and then use it interchangeably between the Mac and Windows devices.

  • In that case, the best way to create a Windows 10 bootable USB for Mac is to manually format a flash drive and copy the relevant files into it using the Mac’s Terminal. There’s a storage-related factor at play, so the entire process can end up being somewhat complicated. What You Need to Create a Bootable Windows 10 USB on Mac.
  • To format USB drive on Mac using this method, all you need to do is plug in the USB device into your Mac and select it from the Disk Utility’s sidebar menu. Next, just select the Erase button from the top bar which will cause a menu to appear with numerous customization options.

This article will teach you how to format the USB flash drive so both Mac’s and PC’s can read them. There are two parts to this tutorial. One for Mac and the other for Windows 7. (Be careful using these instructions to ensure you are formatting the correct disk.) (for Windows instructions please scroll down) MAC INSTRUCTIONS.

Under ideal conditions, you are expected to format USB flash drive for Mac and PC compatibility. That is indeed a tough task, but not an impossible one!

How To Format Usb For Use On Mac And Pc

What Format of Flash Drive Works on Both Mac and PC

Before we can move ahead in finding how to format a USB drive for PC and Mac, we need to find which file systems work on the two major operating systems. Having obtained complete information on which file formats work on the individual operating systems, we can easily find the file system that can be compatible with both platforms.

File Systems WindowsMac
FATYesYes
FAT32YesYes
NTFSYesNo
ReFSYesNo
exFATYesYes
APFSNoYes
Mac OS extendedNoYes

From the table above, it can very well be found that FAT and exFAT are the two best file systems that provide you access to complete compatibility with both Mac and Windows. You can read and understand a few differences and comparisons between FAT32 and exFAT in the following content.

Mac Os Format Usb Drive

Also read: Fix the item can not be copied because it is too large for the volume's format on Mac and Windows 10

How to Format USB Flash Drive on Windows 10

If you are checking out the options for how to format a USB drive for PC or Mac, Windows does provide you access to several options. You can either go with the built-in option or opt for a third-party tool as per your preferences.

1. Using the File Explorer Option

Format Usb Drive From Mac To Windows Free

Step 1. Go to the File Explorer and then locate your flash drive. Insert it into your PC if it hasn't been inserted as yet.

Step 2. Right-click on the flash drive and choose 'Properties'.

Step 3. Choose the option for 'Format'.

Step 4. Under the file system, pick exFAT or FAT32 from the drop-down list.

Step 5. Click on 'Start' when you are done.

Wait till the flash drive is formatted. It may take a while, based on the size of your drive.

2. Using Disk Management Utility

Use of the Disk Management utility to format a flash drive can be a little complex option but can be an assured solution for formatting your drive.

Step 1. Open the Windows Search and look for Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions.

Step 2. Right-click on the flash drive and click on 'Format'.

Step 3. Pick the file system as either FAT32 or exFAT under the file system dropdown. You can also provide a label to the drive.

Step 4. Click on 'OK' and wait till the drive is formatted.

3. Using a Partition Management Tool – EaseUS Partition Master

EaseUS Partition Master is one of the unique and great options that can be used for getting access to a great degree of compatibility with how to format USB drive for PC and Mac.

The EaseUS Windows 10 disk management software does provide you both free and professional functionality. One of the factors that we found extremely powerful includes the support for a wide range of file systems that you can work with it. The software is capable of working with format USB to NTFS, EXT3, EXT2, FAT32, FAT16, FAT12, and ReFS to name a few, but the exFAT file system is not supported.

It offers you a complete partition management tool without any sort of data loss. The partition management tool can be your best bet, irrespective of whether you are a beginner or an expert.

Here is how you can use EaseUS Partition Master to format USB drive.

Step 1. Select the USB drive to format.

Connect the USB drive or pen drive to your computer. Download and launch EaseUS partition software. Right-click the USB drive you intend to format and choose 'Format'.

Step 2. Set the drive letter and file system on USB.

Assign a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click 'OK'.

Step 3. Check 'OK' to confirm formatting USB.

Click 'OK' if you see the Warning window. If you have important data on it, back up the data in advance.

How To Format Usb For Windows On Mac

Step 4. Apply the changes.

Click the 'Execute operation' button first, and then click 'Apply' to format the USB drive.

How to Format USB Flash Drive on Mac with Disk Utility

If you are on Mac, you can use the built-in Disk Utility to format the USB flash drive on Mac. The steps involved in the task would include:

Step 1. Insert the USB Drive you want to format. The Mac device should detect your drive and show it on the desktop

Step 2. Launch the Disk Utility. You can search for the disk utility and launch it.

Step 3. Pick your drive from the left list.

Step 4. Click the 'Erase' option from the top menu.

Step 5. Enter the name for the disk and pick the file system that you want to use.

Step 6. Select the option for Erase, and your USB drive will be formatted.

FAT32 vs Exfat: What Is the Difference Between the Two File Systems

FAT32 is one of the oldest file systems used on a Windows system. The file system was introduced during Windows 95 and replaced the older FAT16 system used in MS-DOS and Windows 3 systems. FAT32 has ideally become the de facto standard for most computer systems. Most of the flash drives available today come with the FAT32 file system and thus offer a high degree of compatibility across Mac and Windows rather effectively.

Windows 10 Usb Fat32 Or Ntfs

When using a FAT32 file system, the prime issue is that it is limited to 4GB in size. The files system cannot work with any higher file size than that. That should ideally make it a good choice for flash drives and USB drives, but never on an internal drive.

The exFAT or Extended FAT file systems was introduced in 2006 with Windows XP and were planned as a great means of overcoming the limitations on the FAT32 system. The file system is optimized for flash drives and works great for both internal and flash drives. The key differences between ExFAT and FAT32 can be summarised as follows.

Mac And Windows Compatible Format

ComparisonFAT32exFAT
Introduced InWith Windows 95In 2006 with Windows XP
Compatibility with Flash DrivesEasy to use quicker Best meant for flash drive
Windows CompatibilityWorks with all Windows versionsWorks with all Mac versions
Special Configuration Not neededMac device needs additional software
Size LimitMax file size limited to 4GBNo size limit

Obviously enough, the exFAT file system should be the right choice when you compare it to the FAT32 for a wider range of reasons that have already been outlined above.

Usb Format Mac And Windows

Final Words

Format Usb Drive Mac

Well, formatting a USB drive so that it is compatible with both Mac and Windows can be quite simple if you are aware of which file systems to choose from. While there are several methods available for formatting a USB drive for PC and Mac, using a third-party utility - EaseUS Partition Master can prove to be one of the excellent options.

The simple interface, ease of use, and high-end functionality offered by the tool provide you with a full-fledged disk management capability.

This step-by-step guide shows How to Format USB to FAT32 on any Windows PC or Mac computer.

The process of formatting a USB drive to the FAT32 format is simple and takes less than five minutes.


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We hear of many individuals struggling to connect their USB drives to Amazon Firesticks and other Android-powered devices.

The main reason for this is because they haven’t formatted their devices as FAT32.

Format Flash Drive From Mac To Windows

FAT32 stands for “File Allocation Table” with 32 referring to the 32-bit version of the FAT file system.

The FAT32 format is one of the most popular formats used on USB drives, external hard drives, and memory cards to ensure compatibility between all platforms.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you format a USB drive you are erasing everything. If you have important files on your USB drive make sure you back them up prior to formatting as FAT32.

The Windows PC disk utility only allows for formatting as FAT32 if a USB drive is 32GB or smaller. This tutorial will show you how to get around that constraint.

We also show you how to use Disk Utility in Mac computers to format any size of the USB drive as FAT32.

TROYPOINT TIP: We suggest watching the video below for important details about the FAT32 format.

In the tutorials below, we are using a SanDisk 3.0 USB Drive on a Windows 10 PC.

Table of Contents

  • 2 Format USB Drive to FAT32 on Windows PC
  • 8 Will changing the USB drive to FAT32 erase all files?

How to Format USB to FAT32 – Video Guide

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SanDisk 3.0 256 GB USB Drive

Format USB Drive to FAT32 on Windows PC

Follow the step-by-step screenshot guide below for formatting your USB drive to FAT32.

The first example is for those using a 32GB USB drive and following that you will find instructions for a 256GB USB drive.

32GB USB Drive

1. Insert your USB drive into your Windows PC and Windows File Explorer should automatically open.

2. Locate and click your USB drive. In my case, the USB drive is labeled “SANDISK32.”

3. If your USB drive is 32GB or less, you can easily format your drive through Windows Explorer.

To do this simply right-click your drive and then left-click Format.

4. Change your File system from “exFAT” to “FAT32” from the dropdown menu. Then click Start.

5. You will be prompted with a warning message. As mentioned previously, changing your USB drive to the FAT32 format will erase everything. Click OK.

6. The format has been completed. This disk is now in the FAT32 file system. Click OK.

7. Next move your cursor to the bottom right-hand corner and click the up arrow. Then click the USB icon.

8. Then select “Eject Cruzer Glide.”

Format Usb Drive Program

9. Now you can safely remove your USB drive.

That’s it! Your 32GB USB drive is now formatted to FAT32. Continue below for those using a 256GB USB drive.

256GB USB Drive

1. Insert your 256GB USB drive into your Windows PC and Windows File Explorer should automatically open.

2. Right-click your drive from the menu and then left-click Format. In this case, the USB drive is labeled “SANDISK32.”

3. Click File System and you’ll notice that FAT32 isn’t available within this dropdown list.

Note: This is because Windows won’t format drives larger than 32GB, at least not through this basic formatting tool.

4. To work around this issue, we need to install a free drive utility called “Rufus.”

Visit the official website for Rufus, which is https://rufus.ie.

5. Scroll down and select the latest Rufus release which is 3.12 as of this writing.

6. Save this to your Downloads folder and click Save.

7. When Rufus is finished installing click the Rufus icon in the bottom left corner and click Yes when this message appears.

8. After the Rufus tool opens, click Boot Selection.

9. Choose Non-bootable from the dropdown menu.

10. Then click File System and you will notice the Large FAT32 format is now available. Choose that.

11. Next click “show advanced format options” and uncheck the box that says “Create extended label and icon files.”


12. Then click the Start button.

13. When this warning message appears click OK.

14. That’s it! Your 256GB USB drive is now formatted as FAT32. Exit out of the Rufus program.

15. You can now safely eject your 256GB USB drive by clicking the icon on the bottom right of the screen. Choose Eject Ultra.

Format USB Drive to FAT32 on Mac Computers

For those using a Mac computer, follow the step-by-step instructions below for formatting any USB drive to FAT32.

Cannot Format Usb Drive Windows 10

The nice part about formatting USB drives on a Mac computer is its built-in disk utility tool. This will allow you to easily format any size USB drive to FAT32.

1. Open and click Applications from the left menu.

2. Open the Utilities folder.

3. Click Disk Utility.

4. Highlight your USB Drive.

5. Then click Erase in the top menu.

6. Change the format to MS-DOS (FAT) which is actually FAT32.

7. Then click the Erase button.

8. Next click Done.

9. You will notice the USB drive is now formatted to FAT32.

10. As seen in the screenshot below, click the Eject button next to Drive prior to removing your USB drive from your Mac computer.

That’s it! You have successfully formatted your USB drive as the FAT32 format on your Mac computer.

After your USB drive has been successfully formatted to FAT32 you should now be able to use it on Android-powered devices and other systems.

The FAT32 format is an old file system and is recognizable by most Streaming Devices, phones, tablets, and computers.

Using a USB drive with an OTG cable is a great way to Expand Storage on a Fire TV Stick.

This is popular among those using TiviMate and other IPTV players for Recording IPTV.

For more popular streaming tutorials, check out our guides below:

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you format a USB drive to FAT32?

You can format any size USB drive to FAT32 on both a Windows PC and Mac computer by following this step by step guide.

Format usb drive for mac from windows

What is FAT32?

Format Usb Drive From Mac To Windows

FAT32 stands for File Allocation Table with 32 referring to the 32-bit version of the FAT file system.

Why do you need the FAT32 format on a USB drive?

Using the FAT32 format on your USB drive will allow you to pair it with Android-powered devices and other systems.

Format Usb Drive From Mac To Windows Download

Will changing the USB drive to FAT32 erase all files?

Yes. Changing the format on a USB drive will erase all files. It's important to back up any important files prior to changing to FAT32 format.

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How Do I Format A Flash Drive For Mac And Windows