The Hard Drives formatted for mac have an HFS+ file system. This file system is specifically for Mac systems and windows can’t read this file system. You can have access to the HFS + file system hard drive on windows with the help of any third party software. There are a number of tools that can help you in this regard. But using a third party all the time for accessing a hard drive on windows is not good. A user has to know how to convert Mac formatted hard drive to Windows formatted.
The Windows system uses a hard drive with a different file system than the Mac systems. Windows-formatted hard drives have either NTFS file system of an FAT32 file system. Thus in order to make the hard drive Windows formatted, you have to convert the file system to NTFS or FAT32. In the further discussion, you will learn how to make a hard drive useful for Windows by changing the formatting of the drive.
Get a Backup
Before going ahead and formatting your hard drive for Windows, you should get a backup. Formatting of any kind can leave the hard drive totally empty by erasing all your data. There are a number of instances when users lose their important data due to formatting. It is very important to save the integrity of your data on the hard drive.
You can take help of any third party tool to make a backup of your hard drive. Or you may opt to make a normal backup in your external drive or another computer. Make sure you perform all the backup properly, an improper operation may leave the hard drive with error and hard drive may ask for formatting before use. However, data from formatted disk error in Windows can be recovered generally with any good tool.
Taking a proper backup is very important for your data before formatting your hard drive. Some of the most important things to take care of involve using a hard drive carefully during any kind of transfer, installation or formatting.
Delete the Mac Formatted Partition
The first step in this regard should be deleting the Mac partition with HFS + file system. In order to make it possible, you have to run the disk management tool. Here is how to do it:
Right-click on Windows icon, select Disk Management.
Select the Mac drive from the list of drives - Make sure this is the drive you want to work on, if you do it for the Windows formatted drive in the list, it may cost you a lot of important data.
Right Click on the partition and select Delete Volume – This will remove the partition.
Right click on the space and select New Simple Volume from the list.
Set the file system as NTFS or FAT 32 according to your need.
Delete EFI System Partition
Most of the times the mac drives are formatted with an EFI system partition. This is secure than the simple partition and you can’t right click and format the drive. To format such a partition, you have to go through a complete wipe out of your hard drive. If your Mac drive has an EFI partition, follow the steps to format it:
Go to device management window – As explained in the above section.
Locate your drive partition which has Mac format file system.
Note the disk number from the window
To go to command prompt – Type Run in Search Box on Taskbar and press Enter > Type cmd and press Enter
Go to Windows > Type cmd and press Enter
Type diskpart in the command prompt window and press Enter
Type list disk in the diskpart window and press Enter
Find your disk with the disk number that you have seen initially
Type select disk <disk number> and press Enter
Type Clean and press Enter
This will clean your hard drive all the data will wipe out. Now in order to use this on Windows, you have to designate a file system to the hard drive partitions.
Assign NTFS File System
Once you have wiped out the content of your disk along with file system that was stopping it from use by Windows. you can go ahead and give a file system to the partitions:
Go to disk management again
Select the Mac disk from the list of drives – It shows Not initialized message in the empty disk.
Right-click on the disk and select Initialize disk
Create a partition for your disk
Right click and select New Simple Volume
Set the file system as NTFS or FAT32 as per your requirement
The drive is now formatted and ready to use in Windows Operating System.
Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.
As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.