We're going to use Disk Utility to format a drive, regardless of the type. The formatting process will format the selected drive by creating a partition map, and apply an appropriate file system that your Mac can work with to the drive.
While you can format a drive to contain multiple file systems, volumes, and partitions, our example will be for a run-of-the-mill drive, with a single partition formatted with the standard OS X Extended Journaled file system. The process of formatting the drive will erase all data currently stored on the device. Make sure you have a current backup if you intend to keep any data already present on the drive.
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The process of formatting a drive is often confused with erasing a volume. The difference is that formatting affects an entire drive, including any volumes and partitions that have been created on it, while erasing a volume affects just that volume, and doesn't destroy partition information. That being said, the version of Disk Utility included with OS X El Capitan and later actually doesn't use the word format; instead, it refers to both the formatting of a drive and the erasing of a volume with the same name: Erase.
So, while we're going to be formatting a drive, we'll use Disk Utility's Erase command. That's all there is to the basics of formatting a drive using Disk Utility.
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Remember, the process outlined here creates a single volume using all available space on the selected drive. Also be aware that the Format and Scheme types listed in the Erase option of Disk Utility will have changes as time goes on.
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Share Pin Email. Tom Nelson has written hundreds of articles, tutorials, and reviews for Other World Computing and About. He is the president of Coyote Moon, Inc. Updated November 15, Warning The process of formatting the drive will erase all data currently stored on the device.
Click on the USB drive in the sidebar and then choose Erase from the toolbar at the top of the window. Choose a security level using the slider. However, it also increases the time it takes to format the drive quite considerably. You can download CleanMyMac X for free here. Which should you choose? The main reason for formatting a USB drive as Fat32 on a Mac is that you want to be able to use the drive on a Windows PC, as well as a Mac — perhaps to transfer files between the two machines.
You may also be preparing the drive for use as, say, a storage device for a media player or to record TV programmes on a TV with a USB port. The fact that Fat32 can be read from and written to on both Mac and Windows makes it very versatile.
However, there is a significant limitation — individual files have a maximum size of 4GB. There is a solution, however, exFAT.
If you look for a quick and easy way to manage your drives, try using CleanMyDrive 2. With its help, you can drag-and-drop files directly to any drive, clean hidden junk from external drives, and check disk stats.
All the drives will be at hand in the menu bar, so you can get to see types of drives you have and manage them easily. There are a couple of things you should keep in mind, however. The first is that when you format and disk, you will erase all the data currently on it. So if you need that data, make sure you copy it onto another disk before you start. Secondly, there are several formats to choose from, each with advantages and disadvantage.
Use the guide above to help you decide which is right for you. How To. Blog How To News.
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