Can I Use Western Digital For Mac And PC?
Yes, both a Western Digital (WD) external hard drive. Desktop or Portable external drive you can use on a Mac and a PC.
You can also use a Western Digital external solid state drive (SSD) on a PC and for a Mac.
How you start to use your drive for both depends on the file system format the drive ships with.
If the WD shipped file system is not compatible with both operating systems. Then you’ll need to format your drive. Or use driver software on either the PC or the Mac. Depending on the file system format of the WD hard drive.
The WD External Drive Formats Versus Mac And A Windows Computer
It’s useful to be aware of. the file system formats Western Digital ships their external storage drives in.
Using WD For Mac Drives For Mac And PC
For example. Western Digital sells some drives like the My Passport drive. And the My Passport Ultra in a ‘for Mac’ guise.
All that means is. Those external drives are made and shipped with a drive file system format a Mac computer uses. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system.
It’s the original format the Mac operating system – Mac OS, used. And that formatting makes them a Mac hard drive.
For you to use those ‘for Mac’ hard drives for Mac and PC, you’ll need to change their format. Reformat to a format called ExFAT. Because both a Mac and a PC can read and write to an ExFAT formatted external drive.
And ExFAT works for all modern Mac’s. And that means Mac’s made in the last 15 years. Like the Mac Mini, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air as well as on a Windows PC.
Using WD ExFAT Drives For Mac And PC
Other WD external drives like the SanDisk Extreme Portable ship already ExFAT formatted. Both Mac OS x and the Windows operating system can read and write to an ExFAT external drive.
And that means you can use those drives right away on both computers.
Using WD NTFS Drives For Mac And PC
But most of the drives Western Digital makes and sells. They aim at the PC marketplace and they come NTFS formatted. External drives like the WD Elements, WD My Passport drive and WD Easystore for example.
An OS x Mac operating system can read an NTFS external drive. But can’t write to it. And that’s no good to you when you need your file or folders on a shared drive.
To fully use a NTFS formatted WD drive for Mac and Windows. You’ll need to reformat those drives to ExFAT.
Ways To Make A WD Drive Work For Mac and PC
For the Western Digital drive that come Mac formatted. Or NTFS formatted you’ll need to reformat.
Reformatting your WD drive to ExFAT takes only minutes and a bit of know how.
In Mac OS you plug in your WD drive into a USB port on your Mac Mini, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.
Check out this post on the site here. Formatting WD Hard Drive For Mac and PC. To find out how.
You then use your Mac’s inbuilt disk management software called Disk Utility. Disk Utility allows you to format your external hard drive. Or external WD SSD drive to the ExFAT file system.
You can find Disk Utility in your Mac’s Utilities Folder. The Utilities folder you’ll find inside your Mac’s Applications folder.
When Disk Utility starts up, Click on your WD drive where its name appears under the External heading. Then click on Erase. Put in a name for your drive, pick the ExFAT format and GUID Partition Map for scheme.
On your Windows computer you also plug in your WD external hard drive. Or SSD into your PC’s USB port. Then use File Explorer on Windows.
You can find File Explorer by clicking on your Windows logo. Bottom left of your Windows desktop. Type in File Explorer. Then click on your WD external hard drive’s name, right click. And then pick format from the menu.
It’s the WD Drive Utilities you’d use to reformat your WD external storage on a Mac or a PC. The WD Discovery software is included for free on the WD drives. You use WD Discovery to download the Drive Utilities and Security software.
Or you can download the software direct from the Western Digital’s site Support page.
Software So You Can Use WD For Mac and PC
Your alternative to reformatting is to use driver software on the Mac. Or on your Windows PC.
You pick the driver software you need depending on the file system format your drive is in.
On a Mac where you want to use an NTFS My Passport drive for file storage. For Example. You’d install and run NTFS driver software.
On a PC where you want to access a Mac OS Extended formatted drive. You’d run driver software that translates a Mac hard drive. So, your Windows PC can read and write to the drive.
Driver software leaves your external storage in the format it originally came in. The software translates. So, the computer you’re using the drive on understands how to write any file or folder to the external drive.
So, no matter which type of Western Digital external storage space you have. Or you’re planning to get. You now know you can use your drive between a Mac and a PC.
And if the WD drive you pick doesn’t come ExFAT formatted. You know that in a few minutes you can format it ExFAT on a Mac or on a Windows PC.
Then you can use your drive for any file or folder you have. And want to work on from your Mac or Windows PC.
About Paul Gregory
I’ve been a system administrator for various corporates for 15 years. And as admin I’ve helped many with their Mac’s and there many Apple devices.
I’m excited by watching users, armed with a little knowledge take control of their Mac’s and their files. And why not?
When I’m not at work or working on the site I like to chill with few beers. And watch a bit of car racing. From Formula 1 to stock car racing. The competition is my thing.