Format Toshiba Hard Drive For Mac And PC Title Image

A Mac user recently sent in a question to the site.

I recently bought myself a Canvio Basics.

I have a PC at work and Mac at home. I’d like to use my external hard drive for both. Can I do that? If so how do I do it?

Can you tell me how to format Toshiba hard drive for mac and windows?

A MacTakeAwayData User

And this article is all about how to do it.

Can I Format Toshiba External Hard Drive For Mac And PC?

Yes, you can. It doesn’t matter if you have a Toshiba Canvio Basics, Canvio Ready or Canvio Advance. You can change those NTFS drives reformat them on your Mac. And use your Toshiba external hard drive on both your Mac and on your Windows PC.

Format Toshiba Hard Drive For Mac And PC At A Glance

1. Connect your Toshiba Hard drive to your Mac.

2. Start Disk Utility.

3. Pick your external hard drive.

4. Format your Toshiba external hard drive to Mac OS Extended.

5. Next format to ExFAT.

6. Your Toshiba external hard drive is then ready to use on your Mac and PC.

How To Format Toshiba External Hard Drive For Mac And PC

I recommend that you format your Toshiba external storage on your Mac. MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iMac. Macs are sensitive about the formatting of their drives.

And by formatting on your Mac, you know your Mac will be happy about the external hard drive format.

Follow the steps below. These steps make your whole drive shareable.

And that means you can use your Toshiba to copy and paste to. Or drag and drop your files and data to both a Mac computer and a Windows computer.

Stop! Wait one second.

Formatting cleans off all the data on your TOSHIBA external drive.  If you’ve any file on your drive you want to keep. Copy them off first.

Otherwise, you’ll looking for data recovery software. Or the services of a data recovery company to recover lost data.

1. Connect Your Toshiba Hard Drive Into Your Mac.

Log onto your Mac. Plug in your Toshiba drive into a USB Port using it’s USB cable.

If your Toshiba external hard disk has a type A connector on the end that plugs into your Mac. You’ll need to get yourself a type A to USB C adaptor for your modern Mac.

A few moments after plugging in your external hard drive you should see it’s drive icon on your Mac’s desktop.

New Drive Icon On Desktop

The drive icon will have the name of your Toshiba drive underneath it.

Can’t see your Toshiba’s drive icon?

Then open a new finder window to set your finder preferences.

From the Finder menu pick the preferences menu item.

Finder Preferences
Finder Preferences

Picture finderwindowpreferences

Make sure you’re looking at the General tab.

Then put a check mark in the box to show ‘External Disks’ on your Mac’s desktop.

Finder Preferences Show External Disks

You can Click to find the latest Toshiba Canvio Basics Review

2. Start Disk Utility.

Disk Utility is part of your Mac OS X operating system. It’s your Mac’s disk management software.

You can find Disk Utility through a spotlight search.

Spotlight Search Symbol

Click on the magnifying glass icon at the top of your Mac’s desktop. Then type in Disk Utility in the search field. Then double click to start it up.

Disk Utility In Spotlight Search

3. Pick your external hard drive.

When Disk Utility opens, you’ll see its pop up window.

Take your attention to the left hand side of the pop up window. There you’ll see a list of the drives attached to your Mac.

Your internal Mac drive is there under the heading ‘Internal’.

You won’t be doing anything with your Mac’s internal drive so move on past. Look further down under the ‘External’ heading. That’s where you’ll see your Toshiba external drive listed.

You should see your Toshiba drive listed in several levels. Click on the arrow to the left hand side of your Toshiba external drive. That should expand the list.

Toshiba Internal External drive list

No expanded list. Then you’ll need to set your Disk Utility view to show you them.

Look at the top of your Mac’s desktop screen. And from the Disk Utility menu choose the View option. And from that menu Choose ‘Show all Devices’.

This tells Disk Utility to show you the drive and the volume.

Toshiba Disk Utility View

Go back to your pop up window. Expand the list by clicking on the arrow to the left of your Toshiba drive.

Then pick your external hard drive at the top level. Right where you see it under the ‘External’ heading.

Be sure to click on your drive at the right level.

What are the vast majority of formatting Toshiba hard drive errors caused by?

Not picking the drive at the right level at this stage of the formatting process.

4. Format your Toshiba external hard drive to Mac OS Extended.

Look across the top of your Disk Utility pop up window you’ll see a button for Erase.  Click on that.

Select Erase
Select Erase

Uneasy about clicking Erase? Don’t be we’re not formatting just yet.

The pop up window changes so you can put in the format settings for your Toshiba external drive.

Toshiba Format Pop Up Window

The first field you’ll see is Name. In there you put in a name for your Toshiba external disk drive.

The next field is format. Look at the end of the field and you’ll see up down arrows. Click there and this opens up a list of file system formats.

Toshiba File System Formats

From the list pick Mac OS Extended Journaled file system. This is not the final format for your drive. But you’ll need to pick this file format first to change the current file system to a Mac file system.

The next field is scheme. Pick GUID Partition Map.

Then click on Erase on the bottom right of the pop up window.

Disk Utility now takes a few minutes to format your Toshiba external drive.

And you’ll see a success message when it’s done.

5. Next Format To ExFAT.

Run through steps 3 and 4 again. But this time you’re going to pick the Toshiba hard drive format for Mac and PC.

It’s ExFAT. Because ExFAT is read and writeable by both the Mac operating system. And the Windows operating system. It’s a file system format both computers understand. And it allows you to store and exchange data between the two systems.

From the format option list, select the file system format of ExFAT.

Choose the GUID Partition Map for Scheme as before. Then click the Erase button.

And in a few more minutes, your Mac will format your Toshiba hard drive as ExFAT.

And you’re then all set to share your drive for both a Mac and a PC.

6. Your Toshiba Is Then Ready To Use On Your Mac And PC.

Your TOSHIBA external hard drive shows up on your Mac’s desktop. You’ll see it has the name you gave it under its drive icon.

Double click on your drive icon to open up a finder window on your external drive.

You can create folders. Copy files from your Mac onto your Toshiba drive. Drag and drop what data you want to your Toshiba external disk drive.

When you’re done working on your Toshiba drive on your Mac. Right click on its drive icon to properly eject your drive.

Then you’re free to plug your Toshiba external drive into your Windows computer. Your PC will see your Toshiba drive in Windows Explorer or File Explorer. You can work on the documents on the drive from your PC.  Or put more data, files, folders from your PC onto the drive.

Just like on your Mac. Eject the drive from your PC when you want to plug it into your Mac and work on your data there.

Why Format Toshiba External Hard Drive For Mac And PC?

Toshiba sells most of it’s external hard drives as a NTFS drive.

This makes those drives plug and play on a PC. But your Mac can only read the files on those drives. You can copy those files off onto your Mac. But you can’t update anything on those Toshiba drives.

Or put anything new onto a NTFS drive.

ExFAT is the file format to use these days when you want to share a drive.

Don’t pick FAT32. As it’s an old MSDOS format. Yes a Mac can read a FAT32 drive. But the file system is not as secure. Has file size restrictions, file naming restrictions and isn’t as reliable.

One thing though. You can’t use an ExFAT Toshiba drive on your Mac for a Time Machine backup. There is no compatible or shareable file system format that allows you to backup both a Mac and a PC.

You’ll need a separate Toshiba drive to back up your Mac. Or a drive large enough with a separate partition you use to back your Mac up to.

In Closing

Now you know how to format Toshiba hard drive for both Mac and PC.

And understand why ExFAT is the file system of choice when you want to share a drive.

Changing the format of your drive means you won’t need to buy. Or install separate driver software. And maintain that software.

While you’re here why not check out our other Toshiba external drive related articles.

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