Formatting a Hard Drive or Flash Drive to read AND write for a Mac and Windows
Flash drives and hard drives are usually formatted to be written and read through Windows or Mac. What will happen often is you'll be able to look at and read files but not be able to delete, edit or remove when moved to another computer that has Windows instead of Mac or vice versa. Here's how to make your drive's files readable, writable and editable.
WARNING! Back up all your files on the flash drive/ hard drive prior to formatting. Formatting will erase all your information on the drive.
Mac OS X:
- Go to your "Applications", find and click on "Utilities" folder, then find and open "Disk Utility". Or in your search bar type in "Disk Utility".
- Select your flashdrive or harddrive on the left window.
- Click the "Erase" Tab
- Select "MS-DOS (FAT)"
- Hit "erase"
- A window will appear, verifying that you want to erase and format the flashdrive/ harddrive and that all your data will be lost on it. Click "erase" to continue formatting the drive.
- Progress bars will show the progress of formatting the drive. Upon completion the drive will be formatted.
- Go to “My Computer”
- Right click on the Flashdrive or Harddrive.
- Select “Format”
- Select “FAT16” “ FAT32“ “FAT64“. Set the Allocation size the same as number after FAT, The 16, 32, 64, is set to Operating System (OS) bit. When in doubt select 32.
- Hit "Start" and Ok when the Warning Window pops up.
The flashdrive will be re-formatted in FAT format. Note that FAT may say 16 and 32 after it. Note that FAT while allowing files to be read and written between Mac and Windows there is a 4 gb file size limit. Also some files may not read properly when transferred to the Mac. Overall however this is the most successful and practical format option available.