A drive can be used on any type of computer - PC or Mac. But in order for the computer and drive to communicate with one another, the drive has to be formatted with the correct file system. This article explains about file systems and provides instruction to format a drive on Windows and Mac.
Newer Seagate and LaCie branded external drives come preformatted with the exFAT file system, which allows it to be used on both Mac and Windows without reformatting the drive. Some older drives are formatted specifically for PCs, some specifically for Macs, and some of them have special utilities allowing them to work between both without having to reformat the drive.
It’s important to choose the file system that suits your need. If you want to optimize performance, it’s best to format the drive using the computer’s native file system. If you need to use your drive on both Mac and PC then it’s best to format exFAT. If you are not sure which one is best for you the File System Format Comparisions highlights the main difference between file systems.
Seagate internal drives are not preformatted and must be formatted before use. Drives that will be bootable are formatted during the process of installing the operating system (ie, Windows or macOS).
If you have a drive that is formatted for a different type of computer or a drive that is not preformatted, you will need to format the drive before you can use it. Also, drives that will be used for storage need to be formatted.
WARNING! Formatting erases all data on the drive. Be sure to make a copy of any data you might need later.
For instructions on how to format a drive, please click on the link of your computer’s Operating System:
|Windows 11|| Click here
|Windows 8 and 8.1|
Not sure what version of macOS you are using? Click here to determine your version of macOS
If you are not sure which one is best for you the File System Format Comparisions highlights the main difference between file systems.
|Mac OS Extended (Journaled) - HFS+||Apple File System - APFS||ExFAT|
|macOS 14||Sonoma||Click here||Click here||Click here|
|macOS 11||Big Sur|
|macOS 10.15||Catalina||Click here||Click here||Click here|
|macOS 10.13||High Sierra|
|macOS 10.12||Sierra||Click here||APFS Not Available||Click here|
|macOS 10.11||El Capitan|
|macOS 10.10||Yosemite||Click here||APFS Not Available||Click here|
|macOS 10.8||Mountain Lion|
|macOS 10.6||Snow Leopard|