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How to format an external hard drive for Mac and PC

Updated on Dec 04, 2018 by Abby Haines to Partition Manager

Summary:
The step-by-step tutorial teaches you how to free format the external hard drive for Mac and PC is created here. Try it to format your Western Digital hard drive, Seagate hard drive, Toshiba hard drive, etc to FAT32 in Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista with simple steps.

"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. 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.
2. 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 free partition software, 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 10 is supported

 

Step 1: Launch EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the partition you intend to format and choose "Format".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 1

Step 2: In the new window, enter the Partition label, choose the FAT32 file system, and set the cluster size according to your needs, then click "OK".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 2

Step 3: Then you will see a warning window, click "OK" in it to continue.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 3

Step 4: Click the "Execute Operation" button in the top-left corner to review the changes, then click "Apply" to start formatting the partition to FAT32.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 4
Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported