How to format an external hard drive

Table of contents:

How to format an external hard drive
How to format an external hard drive
Anonim

In this article, we'll show you how to format an external hard drive on a Windows and Mac OS X computer. By formatting a hard drive, you can change the file system to make it compatible with your computer's operating system, as well as fix errors on the drive itself. Please note that formatting the hard drive will erase all of the contents of the drive.

Steps

Method 1 of 2: Windows

Format an External Hard Drive Step 1
Format an External Hard Drive Step 1

Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to your computer

To do this, connect the USB drive cable to the USB port (thin rectangular connector) on your computer.

On a desktop computer, USB ports are usually found on the front or back of the chassis

Format an External Hard Drive Step 2
Format an External Hard Drive Step 2

Step 2. Open the Start Menu

Windowsstart
Windowsstart

Click on the Windows logo in the lower left corner of the screen, or press ⊞ Win on your keyboard.

Format an External Hard Drive Step 3
Format an External Hard Drive Step 3

Step 3. Open an Explorer window

Windowsstartexplorer
Windowsstartexplorer

Click the folder-shaped icon at the bottom left of the Start menu.

Format an External Hard Drive Step 4
Format an External Hard Drive Step 4

Step 4. Click on This PC

It's on the left side of the File Explorer window.

Format an External Hard Drive Step 5
Format an External Hard Drive Step 5

Step 5. Click on the name of the external hard drive

It's in the Devices and Drives section in the middle of the This PC window.

Format an External Hard Drive Step 6
Format an External Hard Drive Step 6

Step 6. Click the Manage tab

It's in the upper left side of the window.

Format an External Hard Drive Step 7
Format an External Hard Drive Step 7

Step 7. Click Format

This flash drive icon is in the Manage toolbar at the top of the window. The "Formatting" window will open.

Format an External Hard Drive Step 8
Format an External Hard Drive Step 8

Step 8. Click on "File System"

It's in the File System section at the top of the page. A menu will open with the following options:

  • NTFS: This file system only supports Windows;
  • FAT32: This file system supports Windows and Mac OS X, but cannot store more than 32 GB of data, with a single file size limited to 4 GB;
  • ExFAT (Recommended): Select this file system if the hard drive will connect to various devices and systems (Mac OS X, Windows, console, and so on). This file system is similar to FAT32, but it has no limitations.
Format an External Hard Drive Step 9
Format an External Hard Drive Step 9

Step 9. Select a file system

To do this, click on one of the options described in the previous step.

If you have already formatted the disk, check the box next to "Quick Format"

Format an External Hard Drive Step 10
Format an External Hard Drive Step 10

Step 10. Click Runand then press OK.

Formatting of the disc will begin.

The formatting process will delete files stored on the external hard drive

Format an External Hard Drive Step 11
Format an External Hard Drive Step 11

Step 11. Click OK when prompted

The drive is now formatted with the selected file system.

Method 2 of 2: Mac OS X

Format an External Hard Drive Step 12
Format an External Hard Drive Step 12

Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to your computer

To do this, connect the USB drive cable to the USB port (thin rectangular connector) on your computer.

  • On iMacs, USB ports are usually found on the back of the case or on the side of the keyboard.
  • Not all Mac computers have USB ports. If you have a new Mac without USB ports, buy a USB / C to USB adapter.
Format an External Hard Drive Step 13
Format an External Hard Drive Step 13

Step 2. Open Finder

Click the blue face icon in your dock.

Alternatively, you can simply click on the desktop

Format an External Hard Drive Step 14
Format an External Hard Drive Step 14

Step 3. Click Go

This menu is in the upper left side of the screen.

Format an External Hard Drive Step 15
Format an External Hard Drive Step 15

Step 4. Click on Utilities

It's near the bottom of the menu.

Format an External Hard Drive Step 16
Format an External Hard Drive Step 16

Step 5. Double click on Disk Utility

You will find this option in the middle of the Utilities page.

Format an External Hard Drive Step 17
Format an External Hard Drive Step 17

Step 6. Click on the name of the external hard drive

You will find it in the left pane of the Utilities window.

Format an External Hard Drive Step 18
Format an External Hard Drive Step 18

Step 7. Click the Erase tab

It's at the top of the Disk Utility window.

Format an External Hard Drive Step 19
Format an External Hard Drive Step 19

Step 8. Open the "Format" menu

It's in the middle of the page. The menu displays the following options:

  • Mac OS Extended (Journaled): The main file system of the Mac; only supports Mac OS X;
  • Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted): An encrypted version of the primary file system;
  • Mac OS Extended (Keyboard Accounting, Journaled): A version of the main file system that is case-sensitive in file and folder names (for example, “file.txt” and “File.txt”);
  • Mac OS Extended (Registered Keyboard, Journaled, Encrypted): a combination of the above three file systems;
  • MS-DOS (FAT): Supports Windows and Mac OS X, but file size is limited to 4 GB;
  • ExFAT (Recommended): Supports Windows and Mac OS X, but no file size restrictions.
Format an External Hard Drive Step 20
Format an External Hard Drive Step 20

Step 9. Select a file system

To do this, click on one of the options described in the previous step.

Format an External Hard Drive Step 21
Format an External Hard Drive Step 21

Step 10. Double click on Erase

Formatting of the hard disk will begin. When it finishes, the disk will be formatted in the selected file system.

Advice

If you will be connecting the drive to the game console, format it to FAT32 or exFAT

Warnings

  • Formatting does not completely erase data from the hard drive. The formatting process prepares the drive for storing new files. As a rule, the data needs to be overwritten, otherwise it can be restored using special programs.
  • Formatting will delete all data from the hard drive. Therefore, please back up your important files first.

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