How to make external hard drive compatible with Mac and PC?

Posted by Katrina to NTFS for Mac on January 30th, 2018

The file system compatibility is always a big issue between Mac and Windows. It's well known that by default, Windows uses NTFS, and Mac OS uses HFS, these file systems are not compatible with each other. Often switch between Mac and PC? Want to share one external hard drive between Mac and Windows? No worries! There are still ways to make external hard drive compatible with Mac and PC.

Three ways to make external hard drive compatible with Mac and PC

FAT32, exFAT and NTFS are three file systems for external drive in Windows. Based on these three file systems, we have three methods to make external hard drive compatible with Mac and PC.

Method 1: Format external hard drive as FAT32 (not recommend)

As the oldest file system among these three file systems, FAT32 is compatible with a majority of recent and recently obsolete operating systems, including Mac and Windows. However, FAT32 can only support files up to 4 GB in size and A FAT32 partition must also be less than 8 TB. Thus, unless every file we plan to store on the disk is less than 4GB in size, we'd better avoid this method.

Method 2: Format external hard drive as exFAT

The exFAT file system can also work with Mac and Windows. It eliminates the two major deficiencies of FAT32, which has no limitation on partition size or file sizes. And exFAT external hard drive is faster that FAT32 at reading and writing data. It's a great way to share external hard drive between Mac and Windows.

Method 3: Format external hard drive as NTFS

NTFS is the default file system on Windows. But due to technical reasons and copyright issue, macOS only enables NTFS read support, but doesn't enable write support. To make your Mac compatible writing on NTFS, you have to install a professional NTFS driver. There are a great deal of NTFS for Mac software in the market. Here we recommend you NTFS Assistant and iBoysoft Drive Manager Free.

1. NTFS Assistant - the cheapest NTFS for Mac Utility in App Store

NTFS Assistant offers us not only the cheapest price in App Store, but also the fast speed when transferring bulky files. It enables read/write to NTFS external hard drive on macOS High Sierra 10.13/10.12 Sierra/10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7. With NTFS Assistant, we can easily copy files to the read-only external hard drive, save files from macOS to the NTFS external hard drive, rename a file, edit a document, etc.

2. iBoysoft Drive Manager Free - Manage NTFS external hard drive, external drive and network drive

iBoysoft Drive Manager Free is a professional and easy-to-use NTFS mounter for Mac that can read and write to NTFS, FAT32 and exFAT external hard drive on macOS High Sierra 10.13/10.12 Sierra/10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

iBoysoft Drive Manager Free

Aside from what mentioned above, iBoysoft Drive Manager Free is also a wonderful manager for external drives and network drives. With it, we only need to set the network drive once and later directly mount it when needed. Simply click from the menu bar, we can mount, unmount network drives & external drives (including external hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card, memory card, CF card, pen drive).

Write to NTFS external hard drive with iBoysoft Drive Manager

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