Formatting external hard drive to exFAT.

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by WhyJay, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. WhyJay macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2012
    I'm reading everywhere (older articles) that if you format an external HDD on your Mac, it won't be compatible with Windows. Does this still hold true for Lion?

    Basically, if I wanted an external to work on both my Mac and PC (over 4GB file size), would I need to format the drive to exFAT on my Windows or could I just do it on my Mac?

  2. turbotoes macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2010
    You can do it on either, that's what I've done on my spare drive and works well.
    Don't forget that leopard can't read it though, if you have older macs...
  3. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    As stated above, you can format it either on MAC or Windows since the file system has full read and write access across both platforms.
    Bear in mind if you have any Windows XP machines, they will be unable to read exFAT without an update - available on the Microsoft support site.
  4. WhyJay thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2012
    Thanks for the response guys. I'm guessing they fixed something with the Lion release?

    Just to clarify, it is true that exFAT formatted on previous versions of OS X didn't work with Windows, right? And now it works, if formatted on Lion?
  5. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    It works so long as you use MBR when you format it (under Options). So long as I've done that, I've never had any trouble with using a Mac-formatted exFAT drive under Windows, even when formatted using Snow Leopard.
  6. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Or you could format it NTFS and get Paragon NTFS for Mac. You can even format it HFS+ and then get MacDrive for Windows.

    Both solutions will give you full read/write on both platforms.

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