How to Format Your USB Drive to Work on Mac OSX and Windows

how-to-format-your-usb-drive-to-work-on-mac-osx-and-windows

As a Apple user, I found it really frustrating that I couldn’t use my Windows formatted USB keys on my Mac. Macs simply do not like drives formatted in FAT32 or NTFS. There are ways however to get around this by using specialized drivers (Seagate in mind has a NTFS compatibility application) but performance seems to be hit or miss. Fortunately there is an alternative in the form of exFAT.

Pros

  • Individual files can exceed 4GB
  • Transfer files without any special drivers

Cons

  • Computer must be running at least Mac OSX 10.6.5 (Snow Leopard) or Windows XP or greater

So if you have a modern computer, this shouldn’t be an issue. Instructions after the break.

How to Format to exFAT on Mac OS X:

  1. As always, formatting will erase your USB key so make sure to back up any contents in there first.
  2. Open up Disk Utility by going to Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utilityhow-to-format-your-usb-drive-to-work-on-mac-osx-and-windows
  3. In Disk Utility locate your USB key on the left side and select it.how-to-format-your-usb-drive-to-work-on-mac-osx-and-windows
  4. Click the ‘Erase’ tab and set the format to ‘exFAT’. You can set a name for the drive if you wish.how-to-format-your-usb-drive-to-work-on-mac-osx-and-windows
  5. Once you’re ready, click ‘Erase…’ to begin formatting.how-to-format-your-usb-drive-to-work-on-mac-osx-and-windows
  6. Success! Your drive should now be compatible on Mac and Windows.

How to Format to exFAT on Windows:

  1. As always, formatting will erase your USB key so make sure to back up any contents in there first.
  2. Right-click on the drive you wish to format and select ‘format’
  3. Under ‘File System’ select ‘exFAT’ and ensure ‘Quick Format’ is checked.how-to-format-your-usb-drive-to-work-on-mac-osx-and-windows
  4. Once you’re ready, click ‘Start’ to begin formatting.
  5. Success! Your drive should now be compatible on Mac and Windows.

Either way, you now have the freedom to transfer files between the two operating systems and not have to worry about the format.

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