How to Partition and Format a WD Drive on Windows and macOS

External hard drives and external solid state drives come pre-formatted and ready for use. Internal HDD and internal SSD drives do not ship pre-formatted and will need to be Partitioned and formatted before being used.

Please note the instructions do not differ when formatting different capacity sizes, this is not capacity specific.

STOP Critical: The instructions in the article below are designed to help repartition and format a hard drive. This process is Data Destructive and cannot be undone. Once the process begins, ALL THE DATA ON THE DRIVE WILL BE LOST!

IMPORTANT Important: Please note if this is the first time connecting an external device to a macOS, there is a Reformatting Required for Mac OS Compatibility, please see Answer ID 18558: Reformatting Required for Mac OS Compatibility.

Western Digital does not recommend multiple partitions due to potential corruption of the Partition table. The partition table is used to display each partition within the Operating System and if this becomes corrupted it will lead to data loss. Please contact Microsoft or Apple for more support.

Select an Operating System (OS)

Operating System
Windows 10 and 8.1 Click here for Instructions
Windows 7 and Windows Vista Click here for Instructions
macOS 10.14.x (Mojave) Click here for Instructions
macOS 10.13.x (High Sierra) Click here for Instructions
macOS 10.11.x (El Capitan) and macOS 10.12.x (Sierra) Click here for Instructions
macOS 10.9.x (Mavericks), and macOS 10.10.x (Yosemite) Click here for Instructions
macOS 10.7.x (Lion), and macOS 10.8.x (Mountain Lion) Click here for Instructions
Both Windows and macOS (exFAT & FAT32) Click here for Instructions

IMPORTANT Important: If at any time an error occurs stating that the drive can not be dismounted or unmounted, this is not caused by an issue with the hard drive. Please see Answer ID 8575: When formatting or partitioning a drive, an error occurs stating the drive cannot be dismounted or unmounted for additional information on this particular issue.

Please select an Operating System (OS) from the table above to display instructions for a specific OS.

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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