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Format/Reformat Seagate External Hard Drive on Windows or Mac

This article provides instructions to format Seagate external hard drive on Windows and Mac. It will address formatting issues for users trying to reformat this exFAT-preformatted device.

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Page Table of Contents

Updated by

Tracy King

Updated on Apr 22, 2024

Key Takeaways

1. Unlike Seagate internal hard drives, most new Seagate external hard drives come preformatted as exFAT. But, you may need to format the drive if you are using it with a new computer or if you want to erase the data on the drive. 

2. This article provides instructions to format and reformat a drive on Windows and Mac.

Page Content

What Happens If I format Seagate External Hard Drive?
Optional File Formats
Format Seagate External Hard Drive on Windows
Format Seagate External Hard Drive Mac
Format Seagate External Hard Drive FAQs

What Happens If I format Seagate External Hard Drive?

Formatting your Seagate external hard drive will erase all the data stored on the disk, including any files, folders, or programs you have installed.

In addition, the drive will be reformatted to the default file format, which may not be compatible with all devices. Before formatting your disk, it is essential to back up any critical data you do not want to lose. Once the drive has been formatted, you can use it like new and store data without issues.

Optional File Formats

  • NTFS - Compatible with Windows and Mac can only read it.
  • exFAT - Compatible with Windows and Mac. It performs vulnerable to data corruption.
  • FAT32 - Compatible with Windows and Mac. Small storage size. If your Seagate external hard drive is larger than 32GB, skip FAT32.
  • APFS (Apple-borned file system) - Support macOS 10.13 and higher versions.
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File System Comparison: NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and EXT

This page compares four types of common file system formats - NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and EXT2/2/4, and helps you figure out which File system format to use on your storage devices.

file system work flow

Format Seagate External Hard Drive on Windows

This part includes EaseUS Partition Master Free (Recommend) and Disk Management.

1. Format A New Drive

You can only initialize a drive that's not yet formatted. - Microsoft Learn

You can start formatting directly without initializing for the preformatted Seagate external hard drive. Here we recommend a free formatting tool - EaseUS Partition Master Free. This partition manager lets you format hard drive with any brand in four steps. Even though you choose the wrong format, you can roll back immediately with data loss.

?Recommended by pcworld.com: I recommend EaseUS Partition Master Free. It's simple and, as the name implies, free.

Connect the external hard drive on the computer and download software:

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  • Right-click the external drive or USB you intend to format and choose "Format".
  • Set the Partition label, File system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3/EXT4/exFAT), and Cluster size, then click "OK".
  • Click "Yes" to continue.
  • Click the "Execute 1 Task(s)" button and click "Apply" to format the hard drive partition.

Want to format USB or SD card?

2. Reformat Seagate External Hard Drive

You can reformat a Seagate external hard drive with a third-party format program we've talked about or use Windows Disk Management.

1. Open Disk Management.

2. Right-click the partition and select "Format".

format drive in Disk Management

3. When the Format window comes out, name your volume label and set the file system. And put the Allocation unit size as default.

4. Click OK.

Format Seagate External Hard Drive Mac

To format a drive on Mac, you can use Disk Utility without downloading another software. Disk Utility is a disk management tool that comes with every Mac. It allows you to format, partition, and repair disks. It can also create disk images and burn CDs and DVDs. Disk Utility is a powerful tool, but it can be complex. This guide will introduce some basics of using Disk Utility on a Mac.

?Note: If you click on "erase", you gonna erase everything on this Seagate hard drive. (Like throw everything into recycle bin.) Back up all data before erasing. It has a low chance to get it back.

Video Guide - How to Reformat Seagate Portable External Hard Drive

This video shows how to use Disk Utility to reformat Seagate external hard drive on Mac.

  • Start "Erase" from 0:52.

How to format Seagate for Mac

1. Plug the Seagate external hard drive on Mac.

2. Press the "Command + Space" shortcut to locate "Disk Utility". Click to open it.

open disk utility

3. Select your Seagate external hard drive from the left pane and click the "Erase" button on the top right pane.

4. On the Erase window, name your drive and set the file format. Click "Erase".

format external hard drive mac

Wondering how to format a USB drive on Mac?

Format Seagate External Hard Drive FAQs

Here we collect other two questions you may concerned:

1. How do I wipe and format a Seagate external hard drive?

To format a Seagate external hard drive, you will need first to connect the drive to your computer. Once it is connected, you will need to open the Disk Management utility. In the Disk Management utility, you will see a list of all the drives connected to your computer. Locate the Seagate external hard drive in the list and right-click on it. From the drop-down menu that appears, select "Format." A new window will pop up, asking you to confirm the format operation. Choose the desired file system and click "OK." The format process will begin and may take several minutes to complete.

2. Can I reformat a Seagate drive?

Seagate drives can be reformatted, though it is important to note that this will erase all of the data on the disk. Seagate hard drive must connect to the computer before formatting. Once it is connected, the device can be reformatted using the computer's built-in disk management tools. It is also possible to reformat a Seagate drive using third-party software, like EaseUS Partition Master.

How Can We Help You

About the Author

Updated by Tracy King

Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.

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