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Formatting a Drive for the Macintosh Format

Instructions about how to format a drive for the Mac format

Some programs (e.g. Adobe) do not support the use of their software packages when saving to a drive that is not formatted for the current operating system. That is to say, some programs do not function as effectively when writing to a drive that is formatted for Windows while on a Mac computer. 

Changing the format of the drive for Mac only: 

In the event that it is known that the drive will never be used on a PC consider formatting it for Mac for optimum performance as a working space. 
  • Within the Applications folder go to Utilities and then Disk Utility
  • Once the app opens, select the desired drive at it's highest level (highlighted gray in the picture below) 
Select Drive
  • Click the middle Erase button in the middle of the top menu
  • Give the drive a clever name
  • Choose OS X Extended (Journaled) as the format
  • Select GUID Partition Map as the scheme (see the image below for reference)
Drive Settings

  • When all options are set, select Erase to format the device
All data on the drive will be erased once Erase is selected. If any data is needed off the drive, be sure to plan for that prior to the formatting of the drive. 

Changing the format of the drive for use on Mac and PC

To make sure that the drive will work on Macs as well as PCs consider using the ExFat format. All steps are the same as the ones listed above except
  • Choose ExFat as the format
  • Select Master Boot Record as the scheme (those differences are illustrated below)
Mac and PC drive formatting

All data on the drive will be erased once Erase is selected. If any data is needed off the drive, be sure to plan for that prior to the formatting of the drive. 

If the format of the drive is unknown:

  • Right-click on the drive on the desktop
  • Choose "Get Info" from the menu
If the drive lists anything other than Mac OS Extended it is not formatted for Mac. 


If further assistance is needed please contact the Information Technology Help Desk at 920-424-3020 or helpdesk@uwosh.edu



Keywords:format a drive, format, mac, formatting a drive   Doc ID:70588
Owner:Jen W.Group:UW Oshkosh
Created:2017-02-10 09:54 CDTUpdated:2017-02-10 10:16 CDT
Sites:UW Oshkosh
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