Format Usb For Mac And Windows

Posted By admin On 24/07/21
  1. Format Usb For Both Mac And Windows
  2. Formatting Flash Drive For Mac And Windows

To begin to format USB for Mac and PC on a Windows 10 computer, insert the USB drive into an open port and then launch the Windows Disk Management Utility. To find it, type 'disk management' or 'format disk' in Windows Search and select ' Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions.' Step 2: Select the Drive to Format. Meanwhile, the NTFS system used by Windows 10 supports large files, but this format can’t be read natively by MacOS. That puts you in a peculiar pickle, limiting any shared file between the two. If your USB flash drive has data on it or a previous version of the Windows Installation media (the Anniversary update for example) do you have to format the USB flash drive manually in windows (right click and format) before downloading the Windows Media Creation Tool to create the Windows 10 Bootable USB flash drive installation media?

Summary :

If you connect a drive formatted in Mac to a Windows PC, you’ll be prompted to format it before use. That is to say, you are not allowed to view anything saved on it before formatting. But the question is: if you click Format disk, your data will be ruined. This post from MiniTool will introduce several useful ways to help you with that; please read carefully.

Quick Navigation :

Can You Read Mac Drive on Windows

Many people doubt that whether they can read Mac drive on Windows. Some took action: they removed the drive from Mac and connected it to a Windows PC properly. But after connecting the Mac-formatted drive to Windows, a prompt window will pop up automatically on the screen, saying that they need to format the disk before use.

Don’t Format the Drive

You should click Cancel instead of Format disk when seeing this prompt. Why? That is simply because the formatting action will damage your data saved on that drive. Is there any other way to read a Mac-formatted drive on Windows? Sure, it is; some effective ways used by other users will be shown to you later on this page.

What Does Formatting a Hard Drive Do

Some users said they clicked on the Format disk button by mistake when seeing the prompt window mentioned above; they were wondering if there’s any way to help them recover a formatted hard drive. Luckily, the answer is yes.

What does disk formatting mean?

Formatting a hard disk/drive refers to delete all the file & folders save on a drive and set a certain file system for it. The formatting action is performed to prepare a data storage device (including hard disk drive, solid-state drive, USB flash drive, and SD card) for initial use. Two of the most obvious results of formatting a hard disk are: deleting data and changing file system.

Besides, there are also other benefits of disk formatting:

  • Get more space on disk.
  • Solve disk problems caused by soft failure.
  • Improve disk/system performance greatly.
  • And so on.

Do you know how to improve Windows 10 performance effectively?

It’s necessary to improve Windows 10 performance effectively since various problems will occur inevitably on a system that has been used for a long time.

Recover Formatted Hard Drive

The first and the most important thing to do after formatting a hard drive is to recover precious data from hard drive. MiniTool Power Data Recovery can be a good data recovery assistant: it’s clean, safe, and professional. Please free download the trial edition to experience this data recovery tool first before you decide to buy it; after that, double click on the setup program to finish installing the software on your Windows computer, on which the Mac hard drives are formatted.

Follow this guide to recover data from Mac formatted external hard drives:

  1. Click Start now at the end of installation to launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery. You can also open it by double clicking on the software icon.
  2. Wait for a few seconds until the disk loading process is finished automatically.
  3. Select Hard Disk Drive from the pane on your left hand side.
  4. Choose the formatted Mac drive from the pane on your right hand side.
  5. Double click on the target drive directly or click on the Scan button at the bottom right corner.
  6. The full scan will be started at once; more and more files and folders will be found during the scan. Please make sure the Mac hard drive is always connected to your computer.
  7. Browse the found items carefully to decide which files are needed and which are not; add a checkmark into the square box in from of all the files you want to recover. If you can’t confirm, go to view the content before recovery by clicking Preview.
  8. Click on the Save button in the lower right corner.
  9. Select a storage path in the pop-up window to store the files waiting to be recovered; please make sure it has enough free space left. (You shouldn’t select the original Mac-formatted drive as the storage location in order to avoid secondary damage.)
  10. Click on the OK button in the same window to confirm your selection.
  11. Then, wait until all the files saved on Mac hard drive have been recovered successfully to appointed place. A prompt window will show up to inform you of the recovery result.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery is also a great tool for recovering formatted SD card or broken/corrupted USB stick. The recovery steps are basically the same expect that you should select Removable Disk Drive from the left sidebar as mentioned in step 3.

After the data recovery process has been completed, you may transfer back the recovered files to the formatted disk as long as you can confirm that you’ve got back all the files you need.

Windows 10 Read Mac Drive

Can a Mac external drive be read on a PC?

A lot of people are wondering whether they can read Mac drive on Windows 10 with freeware. In fact, there is both free and paid software to help people read Mac drive on PC easily, without formatting the disk. I’ll introduce some of the useful software to you one by one in this part; please choose a proper hard drive reader yourself.

Note: Choice 1 ~ 3 is suitable for reading HFS & HFS+; choice 4 ~ 5 is used to read APFS on Windows.

Choice 1: HFSExplorer

HFSExplorer is completely free; it’s a basic application designed to help users read Mac-formatted hard disks and disk images. HFSExplorer gives support to various file systems: HFS (the Standard file system on Mac), HFS+ (the Extended file system on Mac OS), HFSX (the Extended Mac OS file system with case sensitive file names), etc.

What does HFSExplorer allow you to do?

  • Browse volumes on Mac by using a graphical file system browser.
  • Check the volume related information.
  • Extract files you need (copy files to Windows hard disk free).
  • Mount & read disk images like .dmg and .sparsebundle.
  • Create disk images from the volume on Mac.

The partition schemes including Master Boot Record, GUID Partition Table, and Apple Partition Map are supported by HFSExplorer.


You need to install Java first if you don’t have it on your PC since it’s required (Sun's Java SE runtime environment version 5.0 or greater in which OpenJDK works fine).

HFSExplorer: Launch error

No Java runtime environment found. HFSExplorer cannot function without Java.

Press “OK” to open up where you can download a Java runtime environment for your system.

You should just click OK as prompted to download & install proper runtime environment when seeing the window above.

How to use HFSExplorer to read Mac hard drive on Windows:

  1. Connect the Mac-formatted external hard drive to the Windows computer properly.
  2. Launch HFSExplorer as administrator on your computer.
  3. Select File from the menu bar at the top of the opening window.
  4. Choose Load file system from device from the submenu (you can also press Ctrl + L directly).
  5. Click on the Autodetect button to automatically detects HFS/HFS+/HSFX partitions on your system (you can also Select a device or Specify device name manually).
  6. Pick out the files and folders you want to view and click Extract.
  7. Choose a folder as the destination place to store the items selected in the previous step (they’ll be copied immediately).
  8. Expand the target folder to read files on your Windows PC.

If the connected external hard drive is not showing up on PC, you can’t detect it in step 5. You must make it appear in Windows first.

Is there any other hard drive reader for Windows? Of course, yes; please move on.

Choice 2: Apple HFS+ Drivers

Another way to access HFS + files in Windows 10 for free is installing Apple HFS + drivers.

Tip: The Apple HFS + drivers only give you read access to the files in Mac-formatted drives.

Steps to read Mac drives on PC with Apple HFS + drivers:

First, you should make sure you don’t have Paragon or MacDrive (the hard drive readers I will talk about later) on your Windows computer. If you do, please remove them now.

Second, you should download the correct Windows driver package to your local drive.

Third, you should configure your Windows as follow.

  1. Go to the default download path (Downloads folder) to extract the downloaded zip file.
  2. Find AppleHFS.sys and AppleMNT.sys files.
  3. Copy them by pressing Ctrl + C (you can also do it by right clicking & choosing Copy).
  4. Go to this path: C:WindowsSystem32drivers.
  5. Copy them by pressing Ctrl + V (you can also right click on any blank area & choose Paste).
  6. Navigate to the downloaded folder to find Add_AppleHFS.reg file.
  7. Open the .reg file to bring up a Registry Editor prompt window.
  8. Click on the Yes button and then click OK.
  9. Restart your computer to make changes take effect.

Fourth, you should connect the Mac-formatted drive to your PC -> open File Explorer (also called Windows Explorer) -> locate that drive under This PC -> access files you want.

Tip: You may find the File Explorer has stopped working or not responding when trying to open it; please don’t be nervous since this problem can be fixed.

Choice 3: HFS+ for Windows

Though the Paragon HFS+ for Windows is a paid hard driver reader, you’ll love it after using.

What can Paragon HFS+ for Windows do for you?

Format usb for mac and windows
  • The speed is fast and the performance is stable.
  • The Mac file systems are integrated into Windows File Explorer.
  • It provides full read and write access to Mac drives formatted with HFS, HFS +, and HFSX (just like other drives in Windows).
  • It allows Windows programs to read from or write to the Mac-formatted drive on Windows.
  • There are additional features that worth the cost.

How much does it cost?

The Paragon HFS+ for Windows is sold on the official website for $19.95 with a single seat license; $49.95 with one license worked on 3 PCs.

If you don’t want to spend money in reading Mac drive on Windows, you should download the trial edition; it is free for use for 10 days. You can access, copy files from or to the Mac drive during this period; it’s enough.


Choice 4: MacDrive

If your Mac drive is formatted with APFS (Apple File System), you won’t be able to read Mac hard drive on Windows because there are no free apps designed for it. But you have many choices of paid applications to access & edit Mac drive files on Windows; MacDrive is a popular one designed by Mediafour.

Merits of MacDrive:

  • It is used to help users read data from and write data to Mac disks from Windows directly.
  • You can read both APFS and HFS+ drives in File Explorer.
  • It allows you to create and partition Mac disks on your Windows.
  • A graphical interface is offered for Mac-formatted drives verification, format, and repair.
  • It’s a trusted solution which can date back to 1996.

The only drawback of MacDrive seems to be the selling price is higher than some similar tools. You need to pay $49.99 for the Standard version or $69.99 for the Pro version.

Is it worth the price? Yes, if you have such needs; it also includes unique features like support for Mac-formatted RAID disks.

Choice 5: Paragon APFS for Windows

Paragon also designed an APFS for Windows app for reading APFS Mac drive on Windows; it is considered as one of the main competitors of MacDrive.

Features of Paragon APFS for Windows:

  • It provides read and write access to Mac drives formatted with APFS.
  • It also allows you to access and edit compressed and cloned files (you can only access the encrypted volumes without making any changes).
  • It gives support to auto-mounting at start-up; the partition tools of MacDrive are not included in this app.

The biggest disadvantage of Paragon APFS for Windows when compared to MacDrive is the HFS+ support. The biggest advantage of Paragon APFS for Windows over MacDrive is the price – it costs only $49.95 for one license worked on 3 PCs.

Of course, there are many other tools available for you to read Mac drives on Windows (10/8/7, etc.).

Bonus Tip

You can format your Mac hard drive to exFAT, which supports both Windows and Mac OS X. In this way, you can get full read and write access to exFAT drives on Windows without any additional third-party software.

The only thing you need to worry is that the data on Mac drives will be removed. So you need to turn to MiniTool Power Data Recovery as mentioned in part 1 to recover the files you need after formatting.

How to format a hard drive? Basically, there are three ways.

Format Usb For Both Mac And Windows

  • Right click on the drive in File Explorer -> choose Format.
  • Open Disk Management -> right click on the target drive -> choose Format.
  • Format Partition with MiniTool Partition Wizard – a professional disk manager.

Final Thoughts

Though you can’t access a Mac-formatted drive on a Windows computer directly, there are useful ways and tools to help you read Mac drive on Windows easily. Please just follow the steps mentioned above and choose the tool depending on your needs.

You can format the external hard drive or USB drive to make it compatible with both Mac and Windows machines. This thing is still unknown for many users but doesn’t worry it’s not complex.

Formatting Flash Drive For Mac And Windows

If you are tech savvy and use Windows and Mac computers frequently, then you might need to transfer data between Mac and PC. Windows and macOS filesystems are different and you might need to format the drive every time to use on both platforms. You don’t need to format the hard drive every time you can choose a filesystem while formatting the drive so the hard drive or USB drive work on both Mac and PC

So to get rid of these situations we bring here a guide that will help you to format your drive which works on both platforms and you don’t need to format and backup data every time. After cross-compatible formatting, simply unplug the drive from one machine and then plug it into another. Sounds good to you right? So let’s started, how this works.

Understand file systems for Mac and Windows

There are three common file system types to format an external USB or hard drive, SSD drive, SD card and etc. FAT32, NTFS, and exFAT let’s have a look what’s the difference between these formats.


FAT 32 Format

This format is pretty old but supported and it’s not efficient as compared to NTFS. It doesn’t support big features but offers great compatibility which means it’s compatible with all versions of Windows. It can only support 4GB file size and up to 8TB hard drivers. It’s not capable to store files larger than 4GB.

NTFS Format

NTFS is a modern format system and Windows also uses this format for itself and for other non-removable drives by default. This format is also compatible with all versions of Windows but limited to none Windows OS as FAT32.

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exFAT Format

exFAT drives are faster at reading and writing as compared to FAT32. This format can store large files and it’s also lightweight. It’s compatible with all versions of Windows and the best thing it’s along with Windows it’s also compatible with macOS, Linux, and Android, etc.

  • If your drive is formatted as Windows default format NTFS then it’s only readable to macOS. You can’t do more than that or you have to install a separate app on Mac to read write the drive.
  • Drive with macOS format HFS+ cant readable to Windows.
  • FAT32 format works on both Windows and Mac but the problem is you can only work with files with a maximum size of 4GB.

Learn more: Copy data on NTFS drive in macOS

FAT32 is much better than NTFS and HFS+ becuase it works on both operating systems. You can also install drivers on each OS to make work your drive. So exFAT is much better than all of these formats and a simple option but this will not work on Leopard.

Format a USB Drive on Mac

Time needed: 5 minutes.

First, let’s see how to format an external hard drive or USB drive in macOS which works with both Mac and PC platforms, first plug-in your drive into a macOS machine.

  1. Disk Utility

    Open Disk Utility on your macOS, press cmd + spacebar keys, and type Disk Utility in the spotlight search. Open Disk Utility from the search results.

  2. Erase Drive

    On the Disk Utility interface, select an external drive click on the Erase button from the top of the window (make sure and backup your drive before erasing it).

  3. Drive format

    Now enter the name for the external drive which will be used after formatting and also select the exFAT for Format option and click on the Erase. This will format the drive as exFAT format and your drive is now compatible with both platforms.

Format USB Drive in Windows

The below steps for formatting external drive is for Windows 10 and also works the same with an old version of Windows. To format your external drive hard drive in Windows to use on Mac and PC platforms, first plug-in your drive with a Windows machine.

Open the Disk Management tool by right-clicking on the start menu icon and then select Disk Management. Now right click on the external drive and click on the format option (double-check the drive name and capacity to make sure you are going to format the right drive.)

Now enter the Volume label as you need and change the File system for exFat and click OK. Now you are done.

Share your experience, how do you use an external hard drive on both Mac and PC. Did you format the drive as exFAT ? or use any utility that helps the system to read another type of file system. Please leave a comment below.

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