Formatting of external drive for both Mac and Windows backup


macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 18, 2019
If you want to back up both Mac and Windows, is there a type of formatting for that?
Or is there only a formatting where you can write and read with one but only read with the other?


macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
I wouldn't trust ExFAT format as far as I could spit it... if you accidentally unmount the drive, you can lose all your data.

Also, I wouldn't rely on a single hard drive to backup both Mac and Windows systems. I'd use dedicated hard drives, and they are cheap as chips these days.


macrumors regular
Nov 11, 2011
I would too use different drives, and even more the one place for a backups.
If all you backup's are in the same house, and it burn down, you have no backup.. :)

But if you need a drive to work on Mac and Windows, I think ExFax is the best way, I havn't had trouble with it :)
Last edited:


macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
I'd do this with TWO drives.

Drive 1 -- Mac backup. I prefer and recommend either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to create bootable cloned backups. I DO NOT recommend Time Machine, ever.

Drive 2 -- Windows backup. I don't use bootcamp nor do I have Windows installed to "boot natively". But if you do, I've heard that there's something called "WinClone" that can clone a Windows installation to a backup drive. That's what I'd suggest.

I -WOULD NOT- recommend keeping both backups on one drive.
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macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
For Windows you'll likely need to use NTFS for your backup drive. For Mac you'll definitely need HFS+ or AFPS for Time Machine.

While there is software drivers you can install that allows Windows to read and write HFS+ and Mac to read and write NTFS, you cannot use the default backup applications to backup to these drives, only third party software.

That said I have a NAS setup that my MacBook Pro and my Surface Pro both can backup to the same drive, and the drive is formatted Ext3…