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  1. #1


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    How do I reformat HDD for mac please?
    Hey guys, a friend just bought an external HDD "WD My Book Desktop Storage" to use with his Macbook Pro, this HDD says on the box it "needs reformatting for Mac OSX", he wants to be able to use this HDD for both mac and pc, how do I go about this please?

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
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    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, Sierra
    Attach the hard drive to your Mac via USB and open Disk Utility.

    Applications, Utilities, Disk Utility.

    1. Find your drive on the left side of the screen
    2. Click on the line that shows capacity
    3. Click erase at the top of the screen
    4. Select format MS DOS. MBR scheme (should be the default)
    5. Change the name of the drive if desired
    6. Click erase at the bottom of the screen and then click erase again on the second window.
    7. Wait until the formatting is finished. (should be fast)
    8. Eject the drive

    Your new drive is now ready to be used with your Mac and PC.

    Take note that a drive formatted to MS DOS will be limited to a single file size of around 4 GB for storage purposes.

  3. #3


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    When I select the HDD from the left pane, the window which opens up shows 4 tabs at the top "First Aid, Erase, RAID, Restore", I click on ERASE then in the Format field, the format entries shows "windows NT File system" as the default, only 3 other options are:
    Mac OS Extended [journaled]
    Mac OS Extended [case-sensitive, journaled]
    ExFAT

    what can I do here please?

  4. #4


    Member Since
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    It's ok guys, i found this great video here;

    Mac Tutorial - Formatting External Hard Drive - YouTube

  5. #5


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    wait a minute, it's now working fine on the mac but my pc does not recognize it? I had thought by reformatting for mac it would still be able to work on a pc too?

  6. #6

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    FAT is the old DOS format. And, as Chscag suggested, it is the only format both Macs and Pcs will natively read and write.

    You have two options

    1) Format the drive as FAT and accept the file size limitations, or
    2) Format as NTFS (windows format) and use a 3rd party APP like Paragon's to allow the Mac to write to the drive
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  7. #7


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    So if I format as FAT then I can use on both mac and pc? If yes, by select the FAT option as stated in my earlier post I would select ExFAT?

  8. #8

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikehende View Post
    So if I format as FAT then I can use on both mac and pc? If yes, by select the FAT option as stated in my earlier post I would select ExFAT?
    I'm on my iPad so I don't have access to Disk Utility to look at the menu options at the moment, so I don't know why it is showing as ExFAT rather than just FAT. But, if those were the only three options I had, I would choose ExFAT.
    You can always reformat if it doesn't workout the way you want.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  9. #9


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    The friend says he only needs it for Mac so I can leave as is but now I have the knowledge for future purposes, thanks guys!

  10. #10


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    Actually I tried it just for the hell of it and to get the experience, worked as you said, now works on both mac and pc with no issues, thanks!

  11. #11

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Specs:
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    If he plans to only use it on his Mac, probably best to format OS Extended Journalled, if for no other reason to avoid file size limitation.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  12. #12


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    the file size limitation is I think 4gbs, he says, there's no way he will have any one file close to that size.

  13. #13

    Slydude's Avatar
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    Not always true. At one point I was using a video capture card capable of capturing video in uncompressed format. Those files reached 4 GB in a matter of minutes. There are other situations, mostly in video, where files can quickly exceed 4 GB.

    IIRC the larger problem with FAT 32 is that it is not a journaled filesystem. Journaled filesystems, Mac OS X and NTFS among others, are cable of recovering from/preventing such things as minor directory damage.
    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  14. #14


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    Thanks for the heads up, the friend doesn't do any capturing, he may only play back regular videos every now and then so he should be ok?

  15. #15


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    If the average size of a commercial DVD movie is under 1gb according to this then even a 4 hour DVD movie would ok?

    What is the average size of a movie in gigabytes? - Yahoo Answers

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