How to format an External Drive

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How to Format an External Drive in OS X

1. Connect the drive to the Mac.

2. Open Disk Utility. The easiest way to do that is hit CMD and the spacebar at the same time and type in Disk Utility to find the program.

3. Select the drive you want to format.

4. Click Erase.

5. Give the partition a name and select exFAT for the format.

6. Click Erase to finish. Your exFAT-formatted drive or partition can now be used for both Windows and Mac. Note that using a drive frequently between Windows and Mac could increase the chances of file corruption, so make sure you have backups of the files on the shared drive and be extra careful about safely ejecting the drive before disconnecting it from your computer.


How to Format an External Drive in Windows

The instructions below are for Windows 10, but other versions of Windows from Windows 7 and up can also format an external drive as exFAT for use with Mac as well.

1. Connect the drive to your Windows PC.

2. Open the Disk Management tool. You can do that by typing "disk format" or "disk management" in Windows search or going to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Create and format hard disk partitions.

3. Right-click on the external drive's partition or unallocated space you want to format and choose New Simple Volume...

4. Follow the wizard to choose a volume size.

5. Assign a drive letter.

6. Choose exFAT as the file system in the Format Partition screen.

7. Give the volume a new name.

8. Click Next.

9. Click Finish. Windows will format the drive as exFAT and you'll be able to use the drive on both Windows and Mac.