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How To Format My Seagate For Mac

12/15/2021
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WD My Passport For Mac (Best Overall) The Western Digital 2TB My Passport For Mac is the perfect 2TB portable external hard drive for Mac users. It’s ready formatted for use on Mac, Time Machine ready and small enough to fit in your coat pocket. 'I'm having a problem using my Seagate external hard drive. This article explains about file systems and provides instruction to format a drive on Windows and Mac. Newer Seagate and LaCie branded external drives come preformatted with the exFAT file system, which allows it to be used on both Mac and Windows without reformatting the drive. Some older drives are formatted specifically for PCs, some. With my previous laptops (PCs), I've always stored my data on an external hard drive. Now, I have a new MacBook Pro and all my data is still on that external HD. I realized soon that there's a little problem: can't move files from MacBook to external HD. Read about it and found that I'd have to reformat it in Mac OS Extended )Journaled. This Video shows, how to format Seagate Backup Plus External Hard Disk.1) Open Windows Explorer2) Right click on My Computer and Click on Manage3) Now Under.

  1. Format Seagate Ssd
  2. How Do I Reformat An External Hard Drive For Mac
  3. How To Format My Seagate For Mac Computer
  4. How To Format My Seagate Hard Drive For Mac And Windows
  5. How To Format My Seagate For Mac Pro

Summary: Two methods to change Seagate external hard drives from read-only back to read-write, so that you can edit, delete, and rename files on this Seagate external hard drive. Also, if a Seagate external hard drive is read-only or files are locked on Mac due to NTFS format, you can use iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to mount it in read-write mode on Mac.

When you plug a Seagate external hard drive into your Mac, one of the worst things would be that you find your Seagate hard drive is read-only. Your photos, videos, and other files you saved from a Windows PC could be locked. Or your Seagate external drive could be write-protected. Are you facing such disk problem right now? Well, you are not the only one.

Here then are the best external hard drives for Mac of 2020 in order of ranking. WD My Passport For Mac (Best Overall) The Western Digital 2TB My Passport For Mac is the perfect 2TB portable external hard drive for Mac users. It’s ready formatted for use on Mac, Time Machine ready and small enough to fit in your coat pocket.

'I'm having a problem using my Seagate external hard drive. I only have permission to read files on my external hard drive, but I am not allowed to write or edit files on the drive when using Mac OS. Why this happened and how to fix Seagate external hard drive read-only on Mac?'

You might have trouble backing up or adding files to Seagate external hard drives on Mac. But it's not necessarily because the disk is locked but some other reasons. For example, the Seagate external hard drive becomes read-only on Mac.

In this article, we introduced three possible reasons for disk being read-only on Mac, and you can find solutions to change the external drives from read-only accordingly.

Table of contents
Why a Seagate external hard drive is read-only on Mac?
Case 1: The Seagate external hard drive is NTFS formatted
Case 2: You don't have permissions to access the Seagate external hard drive
Case 3: The Seagate external hard drive has some disk errors

Why is your Seagate external hard drive read only on Mac?

You may be wondering why my Seagate external hard drive is read-only. In fact, read-only Seagate external hard drive results from various reasons. It could be the NTFS format that makes this trouble since NTFS is not writable on Mac. Generally, there are three possible reasons:

  • The Seagate external hard drive is NTFS formatted
  • You don't have permissions to access the Seagate external hard drive
  • The Seagate external hard drive has some disk errors
How To Format My Seagate For Mac

Format Seagate Ssd

In the following part, we'll go into details about how to fix the Seagate external hard drive read-onli issue in different situations.

Case 1: The Seagate external hard drive is NTFS formatted

Most Seagate external drives are read-only on Mac because they are pre-fomatted with Windows NT file system (NTFS) by the manufacturer. So your Seagate HDD is read only on Mac, which affects Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch, Portable drive, and Slim.

However, macOS disabled the NTFS write support by default. If you connect an NTFS formatted external hard drive to your Mac, you will find that files on this disk will be locked or show as read-only. You can only read but can't add files to this Seagate external hard drive on Mac.

How to check if your Seagate hard drive is NTFS formatted on Mac?

  1. Open the Finder and click Go at the upper right of your desktop, then choose Utilities.
  2. Find Disk Utility and open it.
  3. Select your Seagate external hard drive in the left sidebar of Disk Utility.
  4. Then you can see Windows NT File System on the right.
  5. You can click the Info icon at the upper right to check if this disk is writable.

Solution: Use NTFS for Mac to write to Seagate external hard drives on Mac

In this situation, what you need is not to unlock the Seagate external hard drive but a NTFS for Mac driver. Many people would think about converting NTFS to APFS or formatting the Seagate drive for Mac to make it compatible with macOS. However, the truth is that you can fix the Seagate external hard drive read-only issue without formatting, i.e. you don't have to lose your files on this drive.

Alternatively, you can download NTFS for Mac software to enable NTFS drive write support on Mac with no fuss. There are a great number of NTFS for Mac in the market, and iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is used here as an example.

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac: NTFS for Mac driver and more

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is a handy disk management tool, which can help you mount NTFS formatted external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, etc. on Mac with write support. This NTFS drive mounter is also compatible with macOS 10.15 (Catalina), macOS 10.14 (Mojave), macOS 10.13 (High Sierra), macOS 10.12 (Sierra) and Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan), 10.10 (Yosemite), 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.8 (Mountain Lion).

How to use iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to write to NTFS Seagate external hard drive on Mac?

Step 1: Download and install iBoysoft NTFS for Mac on your computer.

Step 2: Launch this NTFS driver for Mac and connect the read-only Seagate external hard drive to Mac.

Step 3: Then, you can fully write and copy data to the Seagate external hard drive on Mac after the drive is mounted successfully.

Aside from being an NTFS for Mac driver, iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is also a wonderful tool to manage files on NTFS external drives. It lets users open, monut, repair, and erase NTFS drives on Mac natively and seamlessly.

How To Format My Seagate For Mac and pc

Case 2: You don't have permissions to access the Seagate external hard drive

If your Seagate hard drive denies your access or restricts you to read-only activities, there is likely an permission issue. Being a multiuser operating system, macOS sets up access permissions for all files and folders on the system, including external drives.

Solution: Change permissions on Seagate external hard drive

To fix the read-only Seagate external hard drive issue, you need to regain full access. You can ignore the ownership or change the sharing and permissions of this disk in the Finder by following the below steps.

Step 1: Select Seagate external hard drive on your desktop or in the Finder sidebar, and then press Command + I to get information of the drive.

Step 2: Scroll to the bottom of this list and click on the triangle that is at the left side of the Sharing & Permissions tab.

Step 3: Click on the lock icon at the right bottom and type in the password to unlock this tab.

Step 4: Check the box to Ignore ownership on this volume, or you can toggle it off and then on if it's already enabled.

Step 5: Click on the gear button and choose Apply to enclosed items… to save your changes.

Then you can go to check if your Seagate external hard drive is read-only still. If not, you will be able to write to this disk.

But if you can't access the Seagate external hard drive as it's locked still. Well, the disk may be really locked by certain programs, especially for Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch. Then you need to unlock the password protection or hardware encryption with Seagate Secure software.

Case 3: The Seagate external hard drive has some disk errors

If your Seagate external hard drive becomes read-only not for the reasons above, you may need to have a check if there is any inner disk error. Some formatting errors will make an external hard drive read-only on Mac. If this is the cause, usually you will see a warning in Disk Utility that states it is only being mounted in read-only mode.

Solution 1: Fix read-only Seagate external hard drive in Disk Utility

Fortunately, there is a built-in tool called First Aid that can check and repair some minor disk errors. When your Seagate external hard drive becomes read-only due to logical disk problems, you can use First Aid to repair it then.

Here is the guidance to fix read-only Seagate external hard drive with Disk Utility:

Format
  1. Open Disk Utility.
  2. Select the read-only Seagate external hard drive on the left window.
  3. Click First Aid in the top center and choose Run to repair this disk.

Solution 2: Reformat Seagate external hard drive

However, if Disk Utility fails to fix read-only Seagate external hard drive, the last thing you can try to remove write protection from Seagate external hard drives would be reformatting. Reformatting will assign a new file system to this disk, consequently, the Seagate external hard drive issue could be fixed.

But before you go ahead to erase this disk, you should know that reformatting will wipe the files on this hard drive. Thus, you are advised to check if you have a copy of data back in the first place , or you can recover lost data from this external hard drive with iBoysoft Mac data recovery to avoid data loss.

If you're sure that you have data backup in hand, you can proceed to reformat this read-only external hard drive with the following tutorial.

  1. Open Disk Utility as you did before.
  2. Select the read-only Seagate external hard drive in the left sidebar.
  3. Click the Erase button in the top center of Disk Utility.
  4. Fill in name, format, and scheme when the pop-up asks.
  5. Click Erase to confirm this operation.

A final note

Seagate External Hard Drive Format

Besides Seagate external hard drives, Toshiba, WD, Samsung, or other brands' external hard drives will come across the read-only problem. It is common to see people complaining WD My Passport external hard drives suddenly became read-only on Mac. You can also use these solutions to fix this problem. But if you are unable to fix it with the solutions suggested above, you can only send it to local disk repair store for help, but that will cost a lot usually.

If you’ve run into issues with your hard drive, formatting is one of the first steps you should take to troubleshoot it. Formatting allows you to overwrite all the information on the hard drive, resetting the file structure and how the drive interacts with the operating system. It can also be used to prep a hard drive for use with another operating system.

In this guide on how to format external hard drives, we’re going to help you make sure your portable disk works with everything. We’ll show you how to format your hard drive on Mac and Windows computer operating systems, and explain key settings on both operating systems.

Before getting to that, though, it’s important to understand what hard drive formatting is. Let’s first talk about hard drive formatting, file systems and how formatting doesn’t necessarily erase all data from your drive.

What Is Hard Drive Formatting?

Most people associate hard drive formatting with erasing a hard drive. Though that’s true to a degree, it’s not the sole purpose of the process. Instead, formatting is used to get the hard drive to a state in which it can be used by the computer, which requires all written data to be erased from the drive.

The data isn’t erased completely, but we’ll touch more on that later. Most external drives come ready to use on your computer, but in rare cases, you’ll need to format your drive. In fact, that’s one of our recommended troubleshooting steps in our how to solve an external hard drive not showing up guide.

Outside of formatting for initial use, you may need to reformat your hard drive if you encounter errors. In the same way a fresh install of your OS can solve most issues, reformatting your hard drive is a critical step in troubleshooting problems. Beforehand, just be sure your files are backed up with an online backup service, such as Backblaze(read our Backblaze review).

Before getting into the formatting process, though, it’s important to go over what you’ll be formatting the drive with: a file system.

File Systems

File systems are what operating systems use to store information on a storage device. Unfortunately, there isn’t a de facto file system that all hard drives use. The one yours uses largely depends on the drive and the computer OS you’re using. Because of that, we’re going to go over the most commonly used file system options so you’ll know what’s what.

  • NTFS: This is what Windows uses by default. Like most file systems, NTFS is restricted once you move outside of Windows. You can read and write on Windows platforms, but macOS and Linux users will only be able to read data from an NTFS-formatted drive.
  • ExFAT: This isn’t exclusive to any OS. Windows and macOS can read and write data to ExFAT. Though not as prevalent as NTFS, you’ll often find flash drives and external solid-state drives formatted to ExFAT out of the box because multi-platform support and the lack of file size restrictions make it an ideal choice for plug-and-play setups.
  • FAT32: This is the older, uglier cousin of ExFAT. FAT32 also works across Linux, Windows and macOS, and in years past, it was the de facto option for flash drives. It can’t store files larger than 4GB, though, so it has fallen out of favor in recent years.
  • HFS Plus: Similar to how NTFS is default file system for Windows, HFS Plus is the default file system for Mac operating systems. It’s limited on Windows machines, but Apple users will be able to read and write to HFS Plus-formatted drives without issues.

We hope it’s clear now why understanding file systems is important. If you’ve checked out a sideloading guide, such as our Kodi sideloading guide, you probably saw recommendations to format to ExFAT or FAT32. That’s because those file systems work across platforms while NTFS and HFS Plus don’t.

Whichever file system your hard drive is shipped with, that’s what you have to use if you don’t want to remove all information from the drive. Alternatively, you could dump the files from your drive to a cloud storage service, such as Sync.com, format the drive and put your files back on it (read our Sync.com review, and check out our cloud storage providers comparison).

How to Format External Hard Drives

Now that we have formatting and file system basics out of the way, it’s time to show you how to format your external drive. We’ll show you how to do it on Windows and Mac operating systems using the Samsung T5, which is one of the best external hard drives, as you can see in our Samsung T5 review.

We chose the T5 because it’s formatted to ExFAT out of the box, meaning it works with a Mac or Windows computer straight away.

How to Format Your External Drive on Windows

Formatting a hard drive on Windows is a simple affair, especially if you leave everything as default. That said, if you want to change settings, you’ll need to know the details of each.

Before getting to those, you have to find the drive you want to format by following these steps.

  1. Open File Explorer
  2. Navigate to “my PC”
  3. Right-click the drive you want to format
  4. Click “format”

Windows will then open the formatting wizard. We’re going to run through each setting in the wizard so you know which settings you need to change.

  • Capacity: This shows the capacity of the drive. There’s a dropdown menu, but the full capacity of the drive is usually the only option unless you have partitions set up. If that sounds like gibberish, leave the setting on the default option.
  • File System: This is the file system with which you want to format the drive. There’s a default file system — usually NTFS for internal drives and ExFAT for external — so it’s best to leave that. If you want to change the file system, you can do so here. It’s important to note, though, that internal drives can only be formatted to NTFS.
  • Allocation Unit Size: The allocation unit size is how large each storage block is on the drive. In almost all cases, leaving the setting on its default is the best option, but you can read up on the math behind it if you’re trying to optimize your drive.
  • Volume Label: The volume label is what you want the drive to be named after it has been formatted. If the volume label is unnamed, Windows will automatically assign it a name.
  • Quick Format: The quick format box is toggled by default. That means Windows will delete the file structure of the drive, though the information is still accessible if you use hard drive forensics tools. Doing a full format takes longer, but it’ll overwrite your data and scan for bad sectors.

Though we went over the settings, the best thing to do is probably to leave them on their defaults. Once everything is set, all you need to do is click “start” and wait for the progress bar to fill.

How Do I Reformat An External Hard Drive For Mac

How to Format Your External Drive on macOS

Formatting and dealing with hard drive-related matters, in general, is easy in macOS. Unlike Windows, macOS gives you the tools to format, partition, restore and repair your hard drive from a single screen that can be found in your utilities.

To find the screen, follow these steps.

  1. Open Finder
  2. Follow the path “/applications/utilities” and click “disk utility”
  3. Find your drive in the left-side menu and click it
  4. Click the “erase” tab on the main screen
  5. Select the file system you want to use and give the drive a name

How To Format My Seagate For Mac Computer

After that, you’re done. macOS doesn’t give you as much control as Windows does, but as we explained, much of that control is irrelevant. The formatting process is simple, with Apple going as far as including step-by-step instruction above the options.

The only thing you may need to pay attention to is the security options. By default, macOS formats your drive the same way that a quick format does on Windows, meaning the file structure is erased, but the binary data is still there. You can fully erase everything by using the security options.

How to Fully Erase an External Hard Drive

As mentioned throughout this guide, formatting your external drive doesn’t erase all the information from it. Binary data needs to be written to the drive at all times, so instead of removing it, your OS deletes the file structure, meaning you can’t access the data on your drive.

For all intents and purposes, your information is erased. You can write new data to the drive, and your OS will show that all the space is available. If you’re disposing of a hard drive, though, someone can still access the data using a forensics tool. Essentially, those tools allow people to bypass the structure of the OS and piece together the files using the binary data.

As we said, the drive always needs to be filled with binary data. The only way to fully erase it is to overwrite what’s there with new binary data. Though the built-in utilities on Mac and Windows computer operating systems help, a hacker could reverse engineer the process to find the data on the drive.

There are few options to fully remove information. If you’re getting rid of the drive, a classic solution is to tap it a few times with a hammer to break the disks inside before recycling. If you need to remove data quickly and still want the drive to function, though, you’ll need a separate utility.

One of the most common is Darik’s Boot and Nuke. It’s an open-source project that rewrites the data on your drive using random processes to ensure it isn’t recoverable. You can boot to DBAN instead of your OS to start the process, which is ideal if you’re recycling or selling your computer.

Final Thoughts

We hope we’ve explained the differences between formatting and erasing an external drive. Formatting isn’t only used to get rid of data on a drive. It’s also used to make a drive compatible with a different OS. For example, The Western Digital My Book comes formatted to NTFS, but you can reformat it to ExFAT for use with macOS (read our Western Digital My Book review).

How To Format My Seagate Hard Drive For Mac And Windows

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If you’re looking to add to your external drive repertoire, read our external hard drive reviews. There, you’ll find our favorite portable disks, including the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD (read our SanDisk Extreme Portable review).

How To Format My Seagate For Mac Pro

Why do you need to format your drive? Do you have any more questions about the process? Let us know in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading.