The best ways to format an external drive for Windows and Mac Compare the different options for formatting an external hard drive to work with Windows and Mac. And, no: the answer isn't always FAT32.

'I get a new Western digital hard drive and want to use it as an external disk to save working files. But I don't know how to format it since I should frequently switch from a PC to a Macbook. Can you tell me how to format an external hard drive for Mac and PC compatibility so that I can easily access or transfer my stuff between the two operating system?' Overview of External Hard Drive Formatting for Mac and PC As we all know, Mac and Windows use different file systems by default. So, if you frequently use both a PC and a Mac computer and want to share an external drive between the two operating system for data backup or transfer, you need to make it compatible with Mac and PC first.

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But how can you format the external hard drive for Mac & PC? What is the best file system that makes external hard drive compatible with both PC and Mac What is the best file system that supported by both PC and Mac? Actually, many users have some doubts on this question. If you are one of them, you can choose FAT32 or exFAT in your case. Advantages of the FAT32 file system: FAT32 is not only compatible with Mac and Windows but also many gaming and Linux OSs. Disadvantages of the FAT32 file system: 1. Single files larger than 4GB on the external hard drive is not supported by FAT32.


Mac OS X's Time Machine backup utility won't work with FAT32. How to Format an External Hard Drive to fat32 for Mac and PC If you ignored all the disadvantages and decided to format your external hard drive to FAT32, you might need a third-party software for help when the disk is larger than 32GB. You know, Windows Disk Management utility completely cannot help at this moment. Here, you can try EaseUS, a program allows you to format the Western Digital hard drive, Seagate hard drive, Toshiba hard drive, etc to FAT32 in Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista with simple steps.

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Windows and macOS use different file systems. Windows uses the NTFS file system for its internal drives, whereas Apple replaced HFS+ with its successor— Apple File System (APFS)—in early 2017. Today, APFS is used on Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs.

External hard disks and USB drives are generally formatted with the Windows FAT32 file system for maximum compatibility. Most devices, including Macs, can read and write from FAT32 devices.

There’s even a way to Some of the most common methods of adding NTFS support broke with the recent release of El Capitan, but you can still write to your Windows drives with a bit of tinkering. All new Macs will be formatted with APFS. Older Mac drives may still be formatted with the HFS+ file system. Windows can’t read either file system by default.

We’ll show you how to access your Mac-formatted APFS or HFS+ drive on Windows. How to Read APFS on Windows Firstly, let’s look at how to read the newer Apple File System format on Windows. All these apps will allow you to read drives from any updated Apple device, not just Macs. The app is focussed around the freshly redesigned Disk Management Window. It acts as a hub for all the Mac drives connected to Windows. You will also be able to see your APFS or HFS+ drive directly within File Explorer, allowing easy integration with the rest of the Windows operating system. Other useful features include the ability to create and partition Mac disks direct from your PC, a powerful disk repair feature, and robust security tools.

The standard version costs $49.99. There’s also a Pro version. It adds several extra features, including automatic file defragmentation, support for RAID setups, and a way to create Mac ISO files. The app provides read and write access to APFS-formatted partitions, read and write access to compressed and cloned files, and read-only support for encrypted volumes. It supports disk auto-mounting at start-up, but doesn’t have MacDrive’s partition tools. MacDrive has one big advantage over Paragon’s app: HFS+ support.