Twitter Facebook Google Plus Linked in

How to format your hard drive

A hard drive can be used on any type of computer - PC or Mac. But in order for the computer and drive to talk to one another, the drive has to be formatted. This article explains.

Seagate branded external drives come preformatted, some for PCs, some for Macs, and some of them have special utilities allowing them to work between both without formatting.
Seagate internal drives must be formatted before use. Drives that will be bootable are formatted during the process of installing the operating system (ie, Windows or MacOS).
Drives that will be used for storage can be formatted according to the instructions below.
Or, 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.
Warning! Formatting erases all data on the drive. So if you are formatting a drive that has already been used, be sure to copy any files you will ever want to see again onto a computer or backup drive.

For instructions on how to format your hard drive on a Mac, please reference the following links:

How to format a drive in Mac OS 10.6 to 10.10
How to format your drive in MacOS 10.11 and above

Formatting your drive in Windows

  • To open the Disk Management press and hold the Windows key () + ( R )
  • Type compmgmt.msc
  • If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • In the pane on the left, under Storage, click Disk Management.
  • If the drive is secondary storage and hasn't been initialized previously you may be prompted to initialize the disk first.
Note: MBR for drives under 2TB and GPT for drives over 2TB
  • The drive should say unallocated

Note: If it does not you will need to right-click and delete the volume first.

If the external hard drive is pre formatted for Mac, Disk Management will list 3 partitions and you will not be able to delete the "Health (EFI System Partition)" because it's a protected partition. To delete this partition you have to use 
Microsoft Diskpart Erase utility. Please see here the instructions. 

  • Right-click and select new simple volume
  • Click next 3 times
  • Type the name of the drive in “Volume Label”
  • Make sure quick format is selected
  • Click next then finished

See more information at the Microsoft Support Knowledge Base.