How to format a WD hard drive to exFAT or FAT32 file system

A Western Digital external hard drive can be used on both Windows and Mac OSX. This is useful if a drive is being used under both Operating System (OS) to move files between the two environments. Most WD Drives come formatted in the NTFS (Windows) or HFS+ (Mac) format.

For a hard drive to be able to be read and written to in both a PC and Mac computer, it must be formatted to ExFAT or FAT32 file format. FAT32 has several limitations, including a 4 GB per-file limit. This is a file system limitation that affects both Mac's and PC's, and the only workaround is to format the drive to exFAT. For more information about what these limitations are please see Answer ID 1287: File and partition size limitations using the FAT32 file system.

The easiest way to format the drive to FAT32 or ExFAT is by using Mac OSX's built-in Disk Utility for FAT32, or both Mac OSX and Windows' built-in tools, Disk Utility or Disk Management respectively for exFAT.

STOP Critical: Never attempt to connect any external drive to multiple computers at the same time. This could quickly damage the drive's partition and corrupt the data on the drive.


exFAT

Operating System
Instructions
10.11 (El Capitan) and 10.12 (Sierra) Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)
10.10 (Yosemite) and earlier Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)
Windows 10 Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)
Windows 8 and earlier Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)
Unix/Linux (All Distributions) Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)

FAT32

Operating System
Instructions
10.11 (El Capitan) and 10.12 (Sierra) - Recommended Method Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)
10.10 (Yosemite) and earlier- Recommended Method Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)
Windows 10 and earlier Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)
Unix/Linux (All Distributions) Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)

Please select the Operating System (OS) in which the drive is to be formatted from the list above to display the instructions.


In case the answer did not answer your question, you can always visit the WD Community for help from WD users.

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