Welcome to the world of Mac, where technology meets innovation. Working on a Mac is a seamless experience, but sometimes it becomes challenging to reformat external hard drives. However, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our 12 step guide on how to reformat an external hard drive on a Mac. Without any further ado, let’s dive in!
Step 1: Backup your data
Before reformatting your external hard drive, it’s crucial to back up all the data as reformatting will delete everything stored on your hard drive. It’s always a good idea to create a backup on an external drive, cloud, or Time Machine.
Step 2: Connect your external hard drive to your Mac
Connect your external hard drive to your Mac, and wait for the drive to show up on the desktop and Finder window. Make sure to close all the applications(if any) that are currently using the hard drive.
Step 3: Open Disk Utility
Launch the ‘Disk Utility’ app by navigating through Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. Disk Utility comes pre-installed with your Mac.
Step 4: Select your external hard drive
Select the external hard drive that you want to reformat. You will find it listed under the heading ‘External’ in the left-hand sidebar of Disk Utility.
Step 5: Choose the partition tab
Click on the ‘Partition’ tab at the top of Disk Utility.
Step 6: Delete the partition
Click on the partition(s) you want to delete in the graph of the hard drive that appears in the middle of the page, and then click on the ‘-‘ button at the bottom.
Step 7: Create a new partition
Click on the ‘+’ button to create a new partition. Choose the format you want to use. For an external hard drive that you plan to use between Macs, choose ‘MacOS Extended (Journaled).’ If you want to use it on other computer platforms choose ‘ExFAT.’
Step 8: Name your hard drive
Type a name for your hard drive in the Name field. This is how your hard drive will appear in the Finder window.
Step 9: Choose the size of your partition
Drag the slider left or right to choose the preferred size of your new partition. Ensure that the size is not less than the total size of the existing partition(s).
Step 10: Review the changes
Review the changes you have made in the graph, and confirm that it contains your new partition and appropriate partition sizes.
Step 11: Click on Apply
Click on the “Apply” button to execute the partition changes. Disk Utility will reformat your external hard drive as per your instructions.
Step 12: Eject your hard drive
Once the formatting process completes, click on ‘Done’ and eject your external hard drive by dragging it to the trash or right-clicking and choosing “Eject.”
Why backup your data, and what are the options?
It’s essential to back up your data as reformatting an external hard drive deletes everything stored on it. The standard backup options include backing up your data to an external drive, cloud, or Time Machine.
Why use Disk Utility?
Disk Utility is the built-in tool on Mac for disk management, repair, and partitioning. It’s a free and reliable tool that can help you reformat your external hard drive seamlessly.
Partition and its format
A partition is a section of the hard drive that has been dedicated to a specific task. Choosing the appropriate format is necessary for the hard drive to work effectively.
ExFAT vs. MacOS Extended
ExFAT is a more universal format, which means it works on various platforms like Windows, Linux, and OSX. MacOS Extended is Mac-specific and works best with Time Machine and other Mac-based applications.
What is the slider?
The slider enables you to distribute space across multiple partitions, where you can choose the size of each one. It is crucial to ensure that the size is not less than the total size of the existing partition(s).
Partition changes, graph
Partition changes refer to creating, deleting or resizing partitions. Disk Utility represents this graphically in the middle of the window pane. It is essential to review the changes to ensure that they are as intended.
The apply button
Clicking on the “Apply” button executes the partition changes (deletion, creation, or resizing). It’s always a good idea to double-check everything before committing to a change like this.
What to do after reformatting?
After reformatting your external hard drive, ensure to eject it safely by dragging it to the trash or right-clicking and choosing “Eject.” You can now start transferring data to your newly reformatted hard drive without any issues.
Reformatting breaks partitioning?
Yes, reformatting breaks partitioning. This means reformatting your external hard drive will delete the current partition and create a new one. Remember to back-up all your data before reformatting.
What to do when Disk Utility fails?
If Disk Utility fails, you can try the manual process using Terminal or a third-party app (such as iPartition). Remember to research the steps carefully before trying something new.
How often should you reformat your external hard drive?
Reformatting an external hard drive isn’t something you should do regularly. It’s best to reformat only when the hard drive is performing poorly or when you switch to a new computer.
What if my external hard drive is not visible in Disk Utility?
If your external hard drive doesn’t show up in Disk Utility, try another USB port or cable. If it still doesn’t work, it might be a hardware issue, and you should contact the manufacturer.
Can I undo a reformatting?
No, once an external hard drive has been reformatted, the data stored on it is lost permanently. Make sure you back up everything before reformatting.
Should I use third-party applications for reformatting?
You can use third-party applications for reformatting, but it’s always advisable to use Disk Utility since it’s a reliable and robust tool built into every Mac. If you do choose to use a third-party app, make sure it’s a reliable one.
That’s it! You have successfully learned how to reformat an external hard drive on a Mac. Remember to back up all your data before reformatting. We hope this article was helpful.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Reformatting an External Hard Drive on a Mac
1. Increased Performance: Reformatting an external hard drive can help to increase its performance by removing any unnecessary files, folders, or applications that may have been slowing it down.
2. Improved Organization: Reformatting allows you to organize your files and folders in a clean and systematic manner, making it easier to find what you need quickly.
3. Security: Reformatting will erase all data from the hard drive, making it a good option if you want to ensure that sensitive information cannot be retrieved by others.
4. Compatibility: Reformatting the external hard drive can also make it more compatible with your Mac, ensuring that it works seamlessly with your operating system.
5. Fixing Errors: Reformatting can help to fix any issues with your external hard drive, such as errors or data corruption.
6. Starting Fresh: Reformatting gives you a blank slate to work with, allowing you to start fresh and create a backup system that suits your needs.
7. Increased Storage Space: Reformatting can sometimes increase the storage space of an external hard drive by removing any unnecessary files or partitioning.
8. Protection against Malware: Reformatting can help to protect your external hard drive from malicious software that can harm your files or infect your Mac.
9. International Compatibility: Reformatting the hard drive to the exFAT file system will allow it to be compatible with both Mac and Windows machines.
10. Increased Lifespan: Reformatting the external hard drive periodically can help to increase its lifespan and ensure it remains in good working condition.
1. Data Loss: Reformatting an external hard drive will erase all data, including important files, unless it is backed up elsewhere.
2. Time-Consuming: Reformatting can be a time-consuming process, depending on the size of the hard drive and the level of complexity involved.
3. Expertise Required: Reformatting can be complicated, and it is important to have some knowledge of the process before attempting it.
4. Requires Backup: Reformatting is a risky process and requires data to be backed up before starting.
5. Compatibility Limitations: Some file systems are not compatible with all devices, meaning that reformatting may limit future compatibility.
6. Risk of Failure: Reformatting involves the complete rewiring of the file system, and the process can sometimes fail.
7. Cost: Reformatting can sometimes be expensive, depending on the complexity of the process or the software required.
8. High-Risk Process: Reformatting an external hard drive can be a high-risk process, as it can damage the drive if not done correctly.
9. Cannot Recover Deleted Files: Once a drive has been reformatted, there is no way to recover deleted files, so it is important to back everything up beforehand.
10. Limited Customizability: Reformatting an external hard drive can sometimes limit its customizability, as it will no longer be compatible with certain file systems.
1. What is an external hard drive?
An external hard drive is a portable storage device that can be connected to a computer or laptop.
2. Why should I reformat my external hard drive?
You should reformat your external hard drive if you want to erase all the data and start fresh, or if it’s not functioning properly.
3. Can I reformat my external hard drive on a Mac?
Yes, you can reformat your external hard drive on a Mac using the built-in Disk Utility application.
4. What is Disk Utility?
Disk Utility is a utility program included with the Mac operating system that allows you to manage storage devices, including formatting and partitioning them.
5. How do I open Disk Utility?
You can open Disk Utility by going to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
6. Can I reformat my external hard drive without losing data?
No, reformatting will erase all data on your external hard drive. Make sure to backup any important data before reformatting.
7. What format should I choose for my external hard drive?
Choose the format that’s compatible with the devices you plan to use the external hard drive with. Some common formats for Macs are Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and ExFAT.
8. How long does it take to reformat an external hard drive?
The time it takes to reformat an external hard drive depends on the size of the hard drive and the speed of your computer. It can range from a few minutes to several hours.
9. Can I use my external hard drive on a Windows computer after reformatting it on a Mac?
Yes, depending on the format you choose. ExFAT is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems.
10. Can I cancel the reformatting process once it has started?
Yes, you can cancel the reformatting process at any time by clicking the cancel button in Disk Utility. Keep in mind, this will only stop the formatting process and won’t undo any data that’s already been erased.
11. What should I do if my external hard drive isn’t showing up in Disk Utility?
Make sure the external hard drive is properly connected to your Mac and powered on. If it still isn’t showing up, try restarting your computer or contacting technical support.
12. Can I continue using my computer while my external hard drive is being reformatted?
It’s not recommended to use your computer for other tasks while your external hard drive is being reformatted. This can slow down the reformatting process and potentially cause errors.
13. Will reformatting my external hard drive fix any performance issues?
Reformatting your external hard drive can sometimes fix performance issues, but it’s not a guaranteed solution. If you continue to experience issues, it’s recommended to contact technical support.
How to Reformat an External Hard Drive on a Mac
Reformatting an external hard drive on a Mac can be a bit intimidating if you’ve never done it before. However, it’s a necessary process to keep your hard drive in good working condition, especially if you’re experiencing issues with it. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to reformat an external hard drive on a Mac.
Conclusion and Closing
Reformatting an external hard drive on a Mac is a straightforward process that you should do regularly to keep your hard drive in good working condition. Using the Disk Utility tool, you can easily erase and reformat your hard drive in just a few simple steps. Always be sure to back up your important files before reformatting your hard drive to avoid losing any data. With the steps outlined in this article, you should have no trouble reformatting your external hard drive on a Mac.
Thank you for reading this article. We hope it has been helpful in guiding you through the steps to reformat your external hard drive on a Mac. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Until next time, happy formatting!