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Summary: Let’s figure out how to format your WD Passport on macOS & Windows. In this blog post, we will walk you through the formatting process and share instructions to format an external drive on macOS & Windows.
But before you proceed, understand that formatting carries a risk of hard drive corruption and data loss. So, in case, if you had accidentally lost your data due to drive formatting or corruption, we also recommend a data recovery software that can rescue data from your HDD. Take a free trial to evaluate the software now.
Professional Photographers and videographers have their hands laid upon various digital devices. Usually, their arsenal includes a cutting-edge Windows 10 desktop, the latest and the magnificent MacBook Pro, DSLR & SD-Cards of-course and the trusted & loved external drives such as the WD My Passport. The role of the WD My Passport drive is crucial since the individual will leverage the portable media to safely store their collection of pictures, videos, audio, and docs. But despite the best of the best device specifications; there remains one small glitch to rectify.
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We know, Macs and Windows have their native file systems such as the new APFS or HFS and the NTFS. A WD My Passport formatted with Mac file system will be a dud on the Windows and vice-versa. Thankfully, MS-DOS FAT32 and ex-FAT formats have survived to date, and these are the file system to make your WD My Passport work with a Mac and a Windows PC simultaneously. In the next 5 minutes read, you will master yourself in formatting a WD My Passport safely and in a manner best suited for sharing your digital files between a macOS and Windows OS.
To format a Western Digital My Passport external hard drive in ex-FAT or FAT32 format, you can bank on built-in applications of Mac & PC. However, while doing this, there are things you have to keep in mind and follow the correct steps. Here you will get to know about the process to format your “My passport” portable drive in FAT32 and ex-FAT file system in both Windows and Mac platforms.
In Windows Platform:
- Here is my shot in the dark. My WD Elements 2TB External hard drive is not working. My MacBook Pro won’t recognize the device. The tiny bulb is constantly blinking when plugged in. Showing there is power, just not reading. I’ve tested and swapped the USB cable and Power output, checked on a different computer and looked at Disk Utility, ALL with no luck. I’ve had this external hard drive.
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1. Connect your Western Digital My Passport hard drive to your Windows PC through the USB cable. Wait till the Windows detects the external hard drive and configure it as an expansion drive automatically.
2. Now, click the Start button and select ‘This PC’. A new Windows Explorer window opens, on the left side of the screen; you will see a list of installed drives and their drive letters.
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3. Locate the icon assigned to Western Digital My Passport drive and Right-click the connected drive icon and click ‘Format’ in the pop-up menu.
4. Select the ‘File System’ from the drop-down list, which is available in the format expansion and choose either ‘ex-FAT’ or ‘FAT32’.
5. Enter a relevant name in the ‘Volume Label’ field. This name will represent your drive when you connect it with Windows Explorer or Mac and will be mentioned above the drive letter for the My Passport drive. Therefore, enter a descriptive name.
6. Now, again select a ‘Quick Format’ option, then click ‘Start’ option, wait for a few minutes to get your drive reformatted with the FAT32 file system, so that you can use it. After successful formatting, you can directly save or move files to it like any other external hard drive.
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In macOS / OS X Platform
- Connect your Western Digital My Passport drive to Mac computer, and let the OS detect and mount the drive for use. Now, a new hard drive icon will appear on the desktop.
- On macOS Dock, select Finder. When the Finder window opens, on the menu bar, select ‘Go’ and then ‘Utilities.’ After that, you will be able to see /Applications/Utilities folder in Finder. From the Utilities folder window, select ‘Disk Utility’ application.
- When the Disk Utility opens, choose the Western Digital hard drive icon from the sidebar.
- Click ‘Erase’ on the Disk Utility file menu. Now, the Erase dialogue window appears, here select the ‘Volume Format’ drop-down list and choose ‘MS-DOS (FAT)’ or ex-FAT File System.’ Note: ex-FAT is a better choice for formatting WD My Passport on Mac.
- Now, click the ‘Erase,’ button and wait a few minutes and let the macOS erase data on the drive and reformat it by FAT32 or ex-FAT format.
- Once formatting is done, you can use the drive in macOS or OS X as a regular hard drive.
Window’s Disk Management and Mac’s Disk Utility applications are secure platforms to erase your WD My Passport easily. You don’t require any third-party software to format your WD My Passport with FAT or ex-FAT.
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Caution: Avoid Formatting your WD My Passport without Backup
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We can’t rule out the possibilities of human errors resulting in the accidental formatting of the WD My Passport external drive. A silly man-made mistake will permanently remove all of the contained pictures, videos, audio files, and docs instantly from the WD My Passport. Hence, fasten your seat-belts and backup your WD My Passport before erasing. If you have already joined the data loss club unwillingly, then try running D-I-Y applications to recover data from Mac and Windows.
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Tips for Effective Formatting
- Format your Western Digital My Passport external hard drive to FAT32 or ex-FAT format so to transfer the data between a Mac and Windows system conveniently.
- There are specific third-party systems, like Digital Camcorders, and Sony PlayStation 3, which need the drives to be formatted in either FAT32 or ex-FAT format to perform read from and write operation. Check it before selecting a file format.
- Due to some limitations FAT32 format is not useful for every type of user, and also affects both Mac’s and PC’s performances. Therefore, it is better to choose ex-FAT instead.
- Ex-FAT supports maximum volume size up to 128 PiB, and its supported maximum file size is 128 PiB.
- Like FAT32, ex-FAT is not a very commonly used file system, due to which its support may vary among third-party devices.
- The corruption chances of the external drive increases, if it is used on both Mac and PC systems regularly. Therefore, it is better to take backup of your important photos and videos before sharing them between both the computers.