Launch Disk Utility. Either head to Applications Utilities, or tap Command + Space and start. To format an external hard drive for Mac with Time Machine, you must follow the steps below. Step 1 Open Finder, Applications, then go to Utilities and Disk Utility. Step 2 Follow the steps above to format the drive, and then you can use it with Time Machine on your Mac system. Part 3: Bonus Tip – Data Recovery from Formatted Hard Drive on Mac.
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Sep 28, 2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions
It doesn't matter what kind of situation you are in, it is important to learn how to format HDD for Mac and Windows. You might want to resell your system, get rid of something, or simply want to make more free space on it.
While it might sound complicated, both Mac and Windows give us dedicated features to manage our disk space. You can use it to manage your storage, merge partitions, and even do a disk format for Mac and PC. In this post, we will cover dedicated solutions on how to format your hard drive in Mac and PC.
Part 1. Why should you consider formatting your hard drive?
You might already know the consequences of formatting a hard drive. It will erase all the data stored in it, making it empty in one go. Therefore, before you format Mac/PC drive, make sure that you have taken a backup of your important data. Once it is done, you can do a hard disk format for Mac and PC to enjoy the following advantages.
- It will help you get rid of any sensitive data from your hard drive so that the other user can't access it.
- Once the disk is formatted, it will make it empty and let you store new content on it. Therefore, you can consider formatting a partition if you are running low of space.
- In case if the hard drive has been corrupted by a virus, then you can format it entirely to get rid of any malicious activity.
- By formatting a partition, you can manage the storage on your PC/Mac and merge the free space with another sector as well.
- It will automatically defragment the disk, which will let you reclaim the lost space on the storage unit.
- You can also resolve any disk issue by formatting your hard drive.
- After formatting a disk, you can reassign a file system to it, and make it compatible with your PC/Mac.
Part 2. Major Formats of Hard Drive for Mac and PC
Proper Format For Mac Hard Drive
Over time, more than a hundred different kinds of file systems and formats have been developed for Mac and PC hard drives. Though, here are some of the most commonly used and compatible formats.
- exFAT: It stands for Extended File Allocation Table and is developed by Microsoft. The file system is mostly used to allocate space on external storage units like USB drives or SD cards.
- NTFS: The New Technology File System is used by Windows NT operating systems. It is the common format for the native hard drive of the system and is equipped with tons of new-age memory allocation techniques.
- FAT32: The File Allocation Table format is used to store data on units that have a capacity of more than 32 GB. It mostly works on external storage units like flash drives and is compatible with both Mac and Windows.
- APFS: The Apple File System is the native technique for macOS, iOS, tvOS, and even watchOS. It provides high-end encryption and is a replacement for the age-old HFS+ system developed by Apple.
There are different other kinds of file systems that your hard drive can support. To check it, just select the partition or the external disk, right-click, and visit its 'Properties'. Go to the 'General' tab to know details about the file system of the disk.
Part 3. How to Format Hard Drive for Mac and PC on Windows?
If your Mac or PC has a Windows OS installed, then you won't face any trouble managing it. Every major version of the operating system provides a dedicated solution to format hard drive as well as external storage units. Also, you can manage the internal partitions, merge them, create new ones, and do so much more. Here's how to format hard drive on your Windows PC.
- First, you need to access the Disk Management tool on your Windows. To do this, just click on the Start menu and look for 'disk management'. Alternatively, you can also access it from the Control Panel.
- This will open a dedicated window for various disks on your system. Simply select a partition that you wish to format and right-click it. Choose the 'Format' option to proceed.
- As the formatting wizard will open, select the kind of file system that you wish to convert it to. For instance, it can be NTFS, exFAT, and so on.
- You can also allocate it to the relevant size or label it here as well. If you have less time, then you can choose to quickly format it by enabling the relevant option.
- In the end, you will get a confirmation prompt like this. Just click on the 'Format' or 'Yes' button and wait for a while as the disk would be formatted.
Important Note: Formatting an external device
Windows also let us format an external device like SD card, pen drive, etc. quite easily. Simply right-click its icon from My Computer and from the context menu, click on the 'Format' option. Choose a file type and formatting option and click on the 'Start' button to format the disk.
Part 4. How to Format Hard Drive for Mac and PC on Mac?
Just like Windows, macOS also gives us a seamless option to format the hard drives for Mac (and PC). The operating system has an inbuilt tool, which is known as Disk Utility. Using it, you can erase a hard drive, create new partitions, and even repair your disk as well. To learn how to format in Mac your hard drive, follow these steps:
- To start with, just go to Finder > Applications > Utilities to view all the available tools and features. From here, you can launch the Disk Utility application.
- Here, you can view all kinds of storage units available on your system (both internal and external). Simply go to the left panel and select the disk you wish to format.
- On the right, you can view details about the selected disk. Go to its toolbar and click on the 'Erase' option.
- This will display the following pop-up on the screen. You can give the partition/drive a label, select its partition scheme, and specify its file format as well.
- Click on the 'Erase' button in the end and confirm your choice as Mac would format the selected disk.
In no time, the entire disk would be emptied and you can manage it the way you like. You can follow the same drill to format an external device on Mac as well.
Part 5. How to Recover Formatted Hard Drive on Mac?
By following the above-listed methods, you would be able to format hard drive for Mac and PC seamlessly. Though, if you have formatted a hard drive accidentally, then you might end up losing your important files. In this case, you can take the assistance of Recoverit Data Recovery software to get back your lost or deleted content from Mac. The data recovery tool is available for free and supports all the major macOS and Windows versions. Following a simple on-screen process, you can easily extract your data from your Mac's hard drive or an external device.
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If you have deleted a partition on Mac or have lost it due to any other reason, then you should use Recoverit Data Recovery. It can help you restore partition data on Mac by following these easy steps.
Step 1: Select a Location
Firstly, launch the Recoverit Data Recovery application on your Mac and from its home, pick a location. A list of all the available locations will be displayed. You can just pick a source and start the scan.
Step 2: Scan the Location
This will commence the data recovery operation on the selected location. You simply need to wait for a few minutes for the scan to finish successfully.
Step 3: Preview and Recover
Once the process is completed, you can just preview the extracted data on Recoverit's interface. Make the needed selections and click on the 'Recover' button, so that you can save your files to a safe location.
If you are running the latest version of macOS, then you should consider disabling its System Integrity Protection feature first. This will allow third-party apps like Recoverit to access the partitions and file system on your Mac. Restart your Mac and press the Command + R keys to boot it in the Recovery mode. Launch the Terminal app by visiting the utility menu and enter the command: csrutil disable. In the end, restart your Mac in the normal mode and launch Recoverit again.
Part 6. Tips for Formatting Hard Drive
If you want to get positive results while formatting your hard drive on Mac or PC, then consider following these steps:
- Since formatting will erase all the existing data on your hard drive, make sure you have taken its backup beforehand.
- When your system is formatting the drive, don't halt the process in between as it can make the storage unavailable.
- As both Windows and Mac provide native solutions to format the hard drives, you should avoid using any unreliable third-party tool.
- While formatting, you would be asked to pick a file system for the disk. Therefore, make sure that the file system is supported by your Mac or Windows.
- Instead of a quick format, you should follow the standard process. This will save the empty space on your system and avoid disk fragmentation.
Now you can easily format hard drive for Mac and PC like a pro, without facing any trouble. Apart from formatting the internal drive, we have also listed a smart solution to format external devices as well. Not just that – the guide has also included a working solution to recover data from a formatted drive. If you have accidentally formatted a drive, then use Recoverit Data Recovery. An excellent recovery tool for Mac and Windows, it will make sure that you never suffer from an unwanted loss of data again.
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Sep 27,2020 • Filed to: Hard Drive Recovery • Proven solutions
'How to format an external hard drive Mac? What format system to use when reformatting my storage drive for a Mac?'
This is a frequent question asked by first-time, as well as the not-so-tech-savvy, macOS users. Learning how to format an external hard drive Mac is essential. Because saving all your data on the Cloud is nice and all, but physical storage is still popular. Especially if you don't have a stable internet connection or if most of your files are large.
Luckily, you don't have to learn rocket science to be able to format an external hard drive for Mac or PC. The operation is pretty straightforward. When it comes to your iOS device, we have listed two methods for you, read below and explore more.
Part 1: What Is the Best Format for External Hard Drive Mac?
The first step to formatting your external drive for a Mac computer is choosing the right format. There are four possible choices:
- APFS (Apple File System)
- HFS+ (Mac OS Extended)
- exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
- FAT (MS-DOS)
To understand which is the best for you, let's have a comprehensive overview of each of them.
1. Apple File System
The APFS was first introduced in 2017 as a replacement for the HFS+. Nowadays, all new Macs come with the operating system preinstalled on APFS, as this system is optimized for use with SSD and flash storage drives. However, it still works with traditional HDD drives too.
This is the best format to pick if you have an external SSD or USB flash drive that you don't intend to use with a Windows device.
The biggest strength of this system is the speed, as well as the encryption and metadata handling. However, you won't be able to use this system with Time Machine.
2. Mac OS Extended
The HFS+, or Hierarchical File System plus on its real name, was the main file system used for Mac until 2017.
This type of file system is suitable to use with both HDD and SDD drives, but the latter will perform slightly better with the APFS mentioned above. If you have an older Mac, though, choosing the HFS+ is your best bet.
In general, all external drives formatted to HFS+ work nicely with older Mac versions but are incompatible with Windows.
3. Extended File Allocation Table
Designed by Microsoft, the exFAT is a good choice if you plan to use the external hard drive with both macOS and Windows systems. Yet, you won't get top performance on either. This choice is more appropriate for USB flash drives, although you can still use it for SDD and HDD units too.
The main issue with exFAT is that your drive will be more prone to fragmentation when used with Apple devices and is less stable than NTFS on Windows. If you really have to share the drive between Mac and Windows machines, that's your best option though.
Macs also support FAT32 drives, marked as FAT in Disk Utility. This format should be avoided at all costs unless you're dealing with a really old Windows computer, which you really have to use in parallel with your Mac system.
Typically, there is no reason to choose this option unless you're planning to use the external hard drive on a Windows XP or earlier machine.
Part 2: How to Format an External Hard Drive Mac?
Now that you know which format to choose, it's time to learn how to format an external hard drive for Mac. There are essentially two methods, with Disk Utility or Time Machine function.
Note: If you plan to format an older external drive, perhaps one you used with another device, make sure to backup all data before proceeding. Formatting is a permanent procedure that can't be reversed. While there are data recovery software you can use if you lost data, it is always better to prevent.
That said, here's how to format an external hard drive Mac:
Method 1: Format Mac Hard Drive with Disk Utility
Disk Utility is a utility application proprietary to macOS that is used to both format and manage internal and external disks. Here's how to use it:
Step 1 Connect the external hard drive you want to format to your Mac, then start the Disk Utility app that you can find under Applications -> Utilities.
Step 2 On the left side of the Utilities screen, find the name of the external hard drive you want to format and select it. Then, on the top side under the Disk Utility, click on the Erase button.
Step 3 Follow the on-screen prompts to select the desired file system and allow the drive to format. That's it! After the process is complete, you can either start using the drive or choose to create partitions on it.
Method 2: Format Mac Hard Drive with Time Machine
Formatting an external hard drive with Time Machine is as easy as formatting it with Disk Utility. Time Machine, however, gives you the possibility to create an automatic backup of the data on your hard drive before formatting it.
Before you proceed, therefore, you should first set up the external drive to use with Time Machine. To do this, open System Preferences and select Time Machine after you've connected the external drive to your Mac.
Now, click on Select Disk and select the desired drive from the list. Click on the Use Disk button. At this point, the system will run an automatic backup two minutes after you've clicked on the Use Disk button, or you can proceed with the formatting if the hard disk is empty.
To format an external hard drive for Mac with Time Machine, you must follow the steps below.
Step 1 Open Finder, Applications, then go to Utilities and Disk Utility.
Step 2 Follow the steps above to format the drive, and then you can use it with Time Machine on your Mac system.
Format For Mac Hard Drive
Part 3: Bonus Tip – Data Recovery from Formatted Hard Drive on Mac
Sometimes, it may happen that you accidentally formatted an external hard drive containing important data. Whether it's your wedding pictures or your bachelor's degree thesis, chances are you want to get that data back as quickly as possible.
If you have a newer version of Mac, you can use the Apple Time Machine to recover your canceled files, or you could choose to use external software, such as Recoverit Data Recovery.
1. Recover Data with Apple Time Machine
In the former hypothesis, you can try to recover your data with the Time Machine. This app is Apple's backup feature present on the newer systems. If you followed the steps above before formatting the hard drive with Time Machine and allowed the app to execute the backup, then there are high chances that you can recover any lost data without too much hassle.
To do so, just launch the Time Machine and browse through the folders to see if it has saved the files you require.
For easier browsing, you can use the time stamp feature on the right side of the screen and select the date or time when you executed the backup. Once you found the files, simply click on Restore to get them back.
2. Recover Data with Recoverit Data Recovery
If you didn't use the Time Machine function or couldn't find the files you need, you can try to recover any lost files with trusted third-party software, such as Recoverit - Data Recovery.
Format Mac Hard Drive And Reinstall Os
A Life Saver to Solve Your Data Loss Problems!
- It allows you to recover unlimited lost or deleted files from your Mac device, including photo, video, and audio data, document files, and more.
- It supports all types of Mac files irrespective of their extension.
- Compatible with both internal and external drives, USB pens, memory cards, and other hardware, so you can rest assured it will retrieve your data if it's there.
- Retrieve data from accidentally deleted files, lost or formatted partitions, data lost due to virus attacks, system crashes, or data lost by the Time Machine.
- It is free to download and supports all leading macOS versions, including the 10.14 release.
This system is also very easy to use, in just three easy steps:
Step 1Install the application and choose the desired location
Download and install the software on your Mac computer, then open it and select the external hard drive, partition, or location where you want to retrieve data.
Step 2Start the scan to retrieve your lost data
Click the Start button. The software will now scan the selected drive and display all retrieved data in an easy-to-scour list.
Step 3 Preview the recovered files and save them in your chosen location
Review and select the target files, then launch the recovery process. That's it. The software will restore your lost data.
As you can see, how to format an external hard drive Mac is not particularly complicated. The Disk Utility allows you to format the desired drive to the desired system in a blink of an eye. Backing up the data on your drive with Time Machine also allows you to avoid the recovery hassle. If you still lost some data, you even know which software to use to recover all lost files.
Format Hard Drive Windows 10
Now it's your turn. Use this guide to format your unreadable external drive, download, and use the data recovery software if needed, and don't forget to share this article with your Mac-addicted friends. They might make good use of it too.