Can you reformat an external hard drive for mac

If you want to erase your computer's main hard drive, things get a little more complicated. You obviously can't erase the drive while you're using it, so you'll need to format from a bootable CD or USB drive. What tools you use depend on what you're trying to do.

Choosing the Right Format for Your External Hard Drive

If you're going to sell your computer or the hard drive, you'll want to securely wipe it using these instructions beforehand. After you've done so, you can reinstall your operating system if necessary as described below. If you just want to reinstall your operating system or install a new one , the installer can do the formatting for you.


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Just insert your Windows, OS X, or Linux installation disc or drive , boot from it , and enter the installation. If you're installing OS X or Linux, you usually just need to choose the option to install from scratch, which will erase your drive.

How to Format an External Drive to Work with Mac (from NTFS to Mac OS Extended)?

In the Windows installer, wait until you get to the screen with a list of your drives. Make sure you've backed everything up before you reinstall! That's all there is to it. The process is much simpler than this long guide would have you believe, and once you've gotten the hang of it once or twice it'll be like riding a bike. All it takes is a few clicks to get a fresh, clean drive formatted for your needs.

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How to Convert an External Hard Drive From Apple to PC

Got a beginner tech support question you constantly answer? Let us know at tips lifehacker. Remember, when you're just starting out computing, there's very little that's too basic to learn. The A. Whitson Gordon. Filed to: emailable tech support Filed to: emailable tech support emailable tech support format hard drives external drives flash drives. Share This Story.

Get the best of both worlds by sharing your data on MacOS and Windows

Club Film. Select the one shown below. Learn more about the differences between these file systems from this thread.


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  • You can also check to see if the format was successful. Now your external drive has been formatted to be fully compatible with Apple MacOS, and you can edit, read, and write files to it as you want. Open the Disk Utility app and highlight your external hard drive. If you select the one below it, the Partition option will be greyed out and become unclickable.


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    Located on the left is a big blue circle with the name of your external drive together with its volume size. Then allocate the desired volume to each partition. You can do that by clicking the small white circle and dragging it around. To check whether the operation is really successful, go to your Mac desktop. You should see multiple disk icons show up. I chose to create two partitions on my Seagate Expansion — one for backup, the other for personal use.

    How to Format or Partition an External Hard Drive for Mac

    That wraps up this tutorial article. I hope you find it helpful. As always, let me know if you have any issues during the formatting or partitioning process. I can follow this to the letter until the partition section. I have a Seagate 1 TB external hard drive, but have already backed up my Mac once, so the Partition button is always grayed out.

    Same problem with partition greyed out on I can only select either one but partition icon is grey. Your email address will not be published. When I connected the Seagate to my Mac, the drive icon showed up like this. Step 1: Open Disk Utility. By the way, you can also rename your external drive. Step 4: Wait until the erasing process is complete.

    For me, it took less than a minute to format my 2TB Seagate Expansion. Step 2: Add partitions and allocate volume for each one. After that, you can rename each partition and define a file system for it.