Video editors will often find that they need to share files between a PC and a Mac. Use these steps to format external hard drives for both operating systems.
- Format External Drive For Mac Time Machine
- Format External Drive For Macbook
- Best External Hard Drives For Mac
Here's how to do it: Step 1: Connect the empty external HD to your Mac and launch Disk Utility. Select the drive from the left sidebar, then. Step 2: Plug the hard drive into your Windows PC. Open the Start menu and search for Disk Management. Select the search.
Launch Disk Utility. Either head to Applications Utilities, or tap Command + Space and start typing. Apple File System. The APFS was first introduced in 2017 as a replacement for the HFS+. In the Format Your WD External Drive window, click the Format Drive button. Now, you can see the progress of Western Digital hard drive format on the screen. Once the process completes, click the Exit button to close the WD Quick Drive Format window. Else, click the Format Another Drive button to format another Western Digital hard drive.
Top Image via Hard Drive Labels
As a video editor or Digital Imaging Technician, you will often need to share files with others. Eventually you will find out that you may not be working on the same operating system (OS) as others. If you work solely on a Mac, but need to send files to someone working on a PC, your external hard drive needs to be set up for both operating systems. Let’s take a look at the different types of formats, and which are best for video production.
Formatting the Hard Drive
A vast majority of video production will be done on a Mac or Windows operating system, so we aren’t going to cover Linux. Hard drives set up for use on Windows machines only will often use NTFS, while Macs will use HFS+. That said, if you are using both a PC and Mac in the workflow, you’ll need to use a different format.
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You may be using only Macs or PCs in your own office, but you will also need to take into account what type of machines your client is using. If you need to send them RAW files or an edited sequence, you will need to make sure the external hard drive is set up for both operating systems. To do this, you will need to use either exFAT or FAT32 formats. This will allow you to use the hard drive on both a Mac and PC.
FAT32 is often used among general users, but FAT32 has limitations that can affect filmmakers. FAT32 has a maximum file size of 4 GB per file. The limitation affects both Mac and PC users. A single high resolution file can easily go over 4 GB, so Fat32 may not the best format. The best format for video production is exFAT. The maximum individual file size for exFAT is 16 EB. 1 EB, or exabyte, is 1 billion GB. That said, if you are using smaller file sizes — FAT32 can suffice.
Format Hard Drive (Mac)
1. Connect the external hard drive to the computer.
2. Click Go on the top tool bar, and select Utilities.
3. Open Disk Utility.
4. Select the external hard drive on the left-hand side.
5. Click the Partition tab.
6. Change the Partition Layout from Current to 1 Partition.
7. Click Options, Select Master Boot Record, and click OK.
8. Name the hard drive with a name of your choice.
9. Click the Format drop-down menu.
10. Select exFat (or MS-DOS FAT for a FAT32 format).
11. Hit Apply, then click on Partition.
Formatting Hard Drive (Windows)
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1. Right-Click on the Windows icon in the lower left-hand corner.
2. Select Disk Management.
3. Right-Click on the external hard drive in the Volume tab.
4. Click Format.
5. Name the hard drive.
6. Select exFAT (or FAT for FAT32).
7. Click OK.
Naming and Labelling Hard Drives
Format External Drive For Mac Time Machine
If you will be using multiple external hard drives on a project, you’ll want to make sure to keep them organized. This includes the way you name the drive and how you label it.
One of my personal tricks is naming all drives after an actor. For instance, one project had several external drives, all of which were named after different Will Ferrell characters — Mugatu, Megamind, Lord Business, and Ron Burgundy. Another project used Tom Hanks characters — Forrest and Woody.
Remember that external drives should be used temporarily — and all footage should be backed up elsewhere. Use checksum verification to make sure everything is copied correctly.
There are plenty of ways you can label your drives. You can simply use some masking tape or gaff tape, and then write the name of the drive. You can also use hard drive labels, which are the awesome stickers featured above. You easily put them on your external drive to keep track of them.
If you are a parent, like myself, you can also use any stickers you have lying around the house. I recently had Kermit the Frog and Optimus Prime hard drives.
No matter how you label your hard drives, just make sure you keep track of them. You never know when you will need that footage from a three-year-old project.
Got any hard drive organizational tips to share with the community? Let us know in the comments below!
Most external hard drives are designed to work for Windows computers. So if you’re trying to connect an external hard drive to a Mac, you might have to format the drive before you can use it. Here’s how to do that:
How to Format a Hard Drive for Mac
Note: If you already used your external hard drive on a PC, be sure to back up any files on it. Formatting your drive will wipe out all the data in it.
- Connect an external hard drive to your Mac. Some external hard drives need to be plugged into an outlet to work.
- Go to Spotlight Search, type in Disk Utility, and click the first option. This will open the Disk Utility app, where you will find all the internal and external drives that are connected to your Mac.
- Then click View in the top-left corner of the window and select Show All Devices.
- Click the external hard drive you want to format. You can find this on the left-hand side of the screen under External Hard Drives. For the best result, select the disk (the highest option in the external tree).
- On the top menu, click Erase. This will open a small pop-up window with a warning that erasing the drive will delete all data stored on it and that it can’t be undone.
- Choose a name, format, and scheme for your drive. You can choose whatever name you want, and you should choose GUID Partition Map for the Scheme in most cases. However, you can choose between the following formats:
- Mac OS Extended (Journaled) is the best option for most Mac users since it is compatible with all Macs.
- APFS (Apple File System) is only for newer Macs running macOS 10.13 or later.
- exFAT is compatible with both PC and Mac.
- MS-DOS (FAT) is also compatible with Mac and PC, but you can only transfer files smaller than 4GB.
- When you’re done with providing the setup details, click Erase. This will immediately wipe the entire drive.
If you get an error message that states, “Erase process has failed. Click done tocontinue,” don’t freak out about it. This is an issue caused by Time Machine running on your externaldrive.
You will need to turn off Time Machine. You can do this by opening System Preferences and unchecking the boxnext to “Back Up Automatically”.Then click Options beside “ShowTime Machine in menu bar.” This will open another window. Click Cancel and it will turn off the Time Machine.
After you turn off the Time Machine, redo steps 4 to 6.
How to Partition anExternal Hard Drive on Mac
If you have formattedyour drive, you can then partition the drive, which will splitthe drive into two formats. This is perfect for anyone who uses Macs and PCsand wants to transfer files between the different operating systems with anexternal drive. Here’s how to do that:
Format External Drive For Macbook
- Open Disk Utility and select the drive that you want to partition. It is best to click View > Show All Devices so you can selectthe disk rather than a container.
- In the top menu, select Partition.
- Then click the plus sign at the bottom of the pie chart. Every time you click this plus sign, a new partition will becreated.
- Choose a name, format and size for each partition. You can also change the size of each of the partitions bydragging the white dots at the edge of the circle.
- Finally click Apply.
Why Partition a Hard Drive?
Partitioning an external hard drive allows youto have separate drives for Mac, PC, and any other operating system. Now youdon’t have to go out and buy hard drives for every computer you use.
A partition also gives you a dedicated space foryour Time Machine back-up files or a bootable backup of your operating system.It also helps protect your data if your drive gets infected with malware, as itwould be contained within one of the partitions.
Now that you know how to format an external drive for Mac, check out our blog on the difference between an HDD and an SDD.