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How to Convert External Hard Drive to FAT32 on Mac OS X for Free Using Disk Utility

How to Convert External Hard Drive to FAT32 on Mac OS X for Free Using Disk Utility

Nowadays, external hard drives are a common solution for storing and transferring large amounts of data from one computer to another. But, if you want to use an external hard drive on your Mac that was mainly used on a Windows computer, you might encounter a problem. Normally, hard drives used on Windows-based systems are formatted using the NTFS file system and, while Mac computers can read and copy data from this type of hard drive, they can't write it on them. Therefore, if you want to use a NTFS formatted external drive on your Mac, you might want to change the format to FAT32, because it is a file system that is compatible with all types of computers (Windows, Mac or Linux-based).

Next, I will show you how you can do that, using the Disk Utility, a tool that comes installed with your Mac OS X. I have chosen this app for the guide because what is the point of installing additional programs that can do the same job when you have a tool that is offered with your operating system?

When changing the format of your external hard drive to NTFS, you will lose all the data from your device. Make sure you don't have any important data stored on it or create a backup before continuing.

Here are the simple steps that you will have to complete in order to convert your external hard drive to NTFS:

Step 1

Launch Disk Utility. In order to do that, go to Finder, choose "Go" and select "Utilities".

Step 2

Select your external hard drive or USB thumb drive and click on the "Erase" tab.

Step 3

Choose MS-DOS (FAT) as the format and, optionally, name your external hard drive or USB stick.

Format SelectionFormat Selection

Step 4

Click on the "Erase" button to begin the formatting process.

Exras
 You can make sure that nobody will ever be able to recover the data deleted from your external hard drive during the formatting process by clicking on the "Security Options" button and selecting to perform a "Secure Erase".

Secure Erase WindowSecure Erase Window

Conclusion

That's about it. As you can see, using Apple's Disk Utility to convert your external hard drive to FAT32 is a very simple and straightforward process. You can also use other applications that will help you perform this task and you can find them in the related programs list below.

  • You don't have to install any application
  • Fast and free to use
  • Can securely erase data from your hard drives
  • None

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