Selling stock HDD - what should I format it to?


macrumors 68000
Original poster
Nov 14, 2008
I'm planning to take out the 500GB HDD of my new late-2011 Macbook Pro and sell it, but what would be the best format option?

What I would like is to be able to sell the drive to either Mac or Windows users; in other words, is there like a "universal" format option to erase the disk and make it available to either users?

Why i'm asking is because a couple of years ago I tried to sell my early-2008 250 gb stock drive and chose the 7-pass option + Mac OS x (Journaled) if I'm not mistaken. And then I sold it to sb who tried to use it as an external drive but he said he couldn't and couldn't re-format it or get it to work with his configuration.

Why? Couldn't you re-format any HDD regardless of its current format? What option should I choose for my current drive then?



macrumors 68020
Jan 14, 2008
Even though it was HFS+ he should have been able to reformat it to make it work for him. My guess is he wasn't knowledgeable enough to do so.

If you want to be safe, format it FAT32. I believe the option is called MS DOS or something similar when formatting it through Disk Utility.


macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009

Why don't you keep the original HD as a "spare"? It's ALWAYS advisable to have a spare around, as a backup.

If you don't feel like getting an external enclosure for it, I would suggest one of these as an alternative:
(many items shown, they all work the same, just pick one you like that's cheap)

A USB/SATA dock will become one of the most useful and long-lasting peripherals that you ever buy. You can also boot up from these (as you would from an external USB drive) and use it to do maintenance on your "main" drive.

Another suggestion:
Download the free "CarbonCopyCloner" app and use it to create a "bootable clone" (of your new "main" drive) onto the docked drive. You will then have an instantly-bootable drive "close at hand" if for any reason you have problems with the internal drive....

Very "cheap insurance" against drive problems. All it will cost you is about $20 or so for the USB/SATA dock....
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