How To Format A Usb Drive


It's no surprise that PCs and Macs do not work well with each other, due to differences between the two operating systems (Windows vs macOS). One main difference is file system. By default, Macs are with HFS+ (since 2017 there's new Apple File System,, optimized for flash storage), while PCs are with NTFS. If you have a USB drive, and you plan to use it on both a Mac and PC, things can get a bit tricky here. What do I mean? If your disk was initially formatted to NTFS on a PC (or HFS+ on a Mac), most likely you'll suffer limitations, for example, the data on your drive can't be read or written on one of your computers.

Fortunately, there is a file system (actually two, I'll explain) that you can format your flash drive in order to be fully compatible with Mac and PC. In other words, you can access the drive and transfer data without any hassles. That file system is — exFAT.

Step 10: Now plug your USB drive again into your computer and format it to exFAT instead of FAT32. Still Didn’t Work? It’s time to use a third-party utility. We recommend this one called HP USB Disk Format Tool, a program also recommended by SanDisk actually. First off, you need to download the utility from CNET. Then, install the utility on your Windows PC.

Note that there is another file system called FAT32 that pretty much does the same thing but with one major flaw. See the table below for more info. ​ Compatible with macOS? Compatible with Windows? File size Max. Partition size HFS+ Yes No No limit No limit NTFS Partially Yes No limit No limit FAT32 Yes Yes 4GB 8GB exFAT Yes Yes No limit No limit As you can see, exFAT is the only file system that works with all versions of Windows and macOS and does not have any max file-size or partition-size limits.

Therefore, it's perfect for a USB flash drive or external disk especially you need to save files more than 4GB in size. You should go ahead and format your storage drive with exFAT instead of FAT32, assuming that all devices you want to use the drive support exFAT.


You may notice that in NTFS is marked 'Partially' under the Compatible with macOS column. This is because an NTFS-based drive can be read by Macs but you can't write data to the drive. Now that you've learned exFAT is the ideal file system to go. How to know what current file system your flash drive is with, and how to format it to exFAT? Read on for step by step instructions.

How to Check a USB Drive's File System? First of all, plug your flash drive into the USB port on your computer.

Make sure your device can be detected and recognized. I'm here to use a 32GB Lexar USB key as an example. If you are on a Mac. Once the Lexar disk shows up on the desktop, right click on the drive icon and select 'Get Info'.


How to Format Your USB Flash Drive to exFAT? Important: make sure you have at least one backup of all the data stored on the device before you proceed. Because the process of reformatting a disk drive will very likely erase all content and make recovery impossible.

See for more information. Also, since I don't know whether you are on a PC or Mac to perform this operation. I'm here to break down this guide into two parts. The first part is for Mac users, the second part is for PC users (Windows 10 based).

How To Format A Usb Drive In Windows 10

In no particular order. Part 1: Formatting USB Drive on Mac Please note: since OS X 10.11 El Capitan (the latest is 10.13 High Sierra), Apple made a few changes to Disk Utility (see details from ). The app now has a new user interface that looks slightly different on Yosemite or earlier OS X versions. Step 1: Open Disk Utility.

The quickest way is search on Spotlight and click the result under 'TOP HIT'. Alternatively, you can access it via Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.

Pro tip: Chances are that you may encounter some issues formatting a flash drive on a PC or the disk is malfunctioning. If so, the following articles may be of help to you: • • • • Conclusion Most of the external hard disks and flash drives are formatted for Microsoft Windows operating systems. That makes using the drive a bit troublesome on Mac machines.

How To Format A Usb Drive Windows 10

FAT32 is popular but the 4GB file-size limit makes it inconvenient, for instance when you want to make a bootable macOS Sierra USB drive which the system file takes about 8GB of storage space. Thankfully, exFAT — a strict upgrade over FAT32, is a file system optimized for USB flash drives. Like I said, if you want to use the device for both a PC and Mac, you should consider reformatting it to exFAT once you figure out the drive isn't with another file system. Letters with accents on keyboard. Hope the above guide is helpful to you. Once again, as a kind warning: formatting a flash drive will likely erase all files and data stored in the device, it's important to ensure you have made at least one copy of the data before you get started.