WD Elements Partition Mac Title Image

You’ve a WD Elements external hard drive.

And you’d love to partition it.

You want a part of your WD Element drive you can use for your own Mac’s documents. And maybe another section for the kid’s PC games and stuff. Then you could share files.

Without worrying about getting a virus from their PC’s. And without them seeing what’s stored on the partition you have for yourself and your Mac.

Or you may be thinking of having a partition for your Mac’s music library. And have the rest of your WD hard drive for a Time Machine backup.

Whether your Elements drive is 1TB, 2TB, 3TB or 4TB you can partition it up and use it how you want.


You can find out how. Right here, Right now.

Ahead Of Partitioning Your WD Elements Drive On Your Mac

Western Digital formats your WD external hard drive as NTFS when it’s shipped to you.

What does that mean?

Before you can partition this drive on your Mac. You’ll need to change that.  Your Mac won’t partition a NTFS drive.

You’ll need to format your WD Elements hard drive first as HFS+. HFS format is known on your Mac as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system.

Before you format. If you’ve important files or data already on the drive. Likely put there by a Windows computer. You’ll have to copy those files off first.

WD Elements

Why? Because formatting and certainly when you partition. It wipes the data from your WD external drive.

Then to get your files back you’ll need data recovery. Not an easy thing.

After you’ve formatted your Elements drive. And partitioned it up the way you want. You can copy your data and any file you need back onto your Elements hard disk. Into the partition you want that data in.

Don’t know how to format your WD Elements external hard drive on your Mac?

You can find out from another article here on the site. Format WD Elements. Click this link.

Format your Western Digital Elements drive and then come back here.

Drive all formatted?  

Great now you’re ready to get on with the partitioning.

CLICK HERE: To Read A Review On WD Elements On Mac

How Do I Partition WD Elements For Mac?

1. Start Up Your Mac.

Log in and plug in the USB cable of your WD Elements hard drive.

You should now see your WD Elements drive icon on your iMac or MacBook’s desktop.

WD Elements Drive Icon

Having problems seeing your WD Elements drive on your Mac’s desktop?

Take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions Below.

It’s also best if you have your Mac computer connected up to external power.  You really don’t want your battery failing half way through your partitioning.

2. Open Up Disk Utility On Your iMac or MacBook.

To partition your WD Elements you use your Mac’s disk management software. It’s called Disk Utility.  You’ll have used the same software when you formatted your WD hard drive.

You can start up your software through a Finder window search.

Open a Finder window on your Mac.

Type Disk Utility into the search window.

Click to search ‘This Mac’.

Disk Utility Finder Window Search

Double click on the Disk Utility App.

When Disk Utility has started up.

3. Choose Your Western Digital Elements Drive.

To the left of the popup window, you’ll find your WD Elements drive listed. You’ll find it under the ‘External’ drives heading.

WD Elements Disk Utility External Drive

Click on your WD Elements at the top level of the list. (Important)

Can’t see the External Drive List or only one heading?

You can fix this by looking at the top of your Disk Utility popup window.

Click on View.

WD Elements Disk Utility View

Choose ‘Show all Devices’ this will show you the drive and the volume. All the levels. And you’ll be able to pick your WD Elements drive.

4. Click On Partition At The Top Of The Pop Up Window.

Select Partition
Select Partition

The next window you’ll see on your Mac, is where you set up the number of partitions you want.

WD Elements Disk Utility Partition Window

The large circle is how your WD Elements drive is partitioned now on your Mac. 

When you formatted your WD Elements external hard drive. You in effect, created one large partition.

Now you’re going to split this drive into different sections. And you do this by setting up your first partition.

Give your partition a name.

Think of a name that best describes what you’re going to use this partition for.  This makes it easy to find your partition later on your Mac’s desktop.

Next pick the format you want for this partition. Click up down arrows at the end of the format field. This opens up a list where you can choose the format you want.

WD Elements File System Formats

You Pick:

  • APFS (Apple File System). Or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for a partition you plan to drag and drop to. Or copy and paste to. They are only for Mac. A Mac format.
  • Mac OS Extended is also the format you choose for a partition you plan to use for Time Machine. Your Mac’s backup software.
  • But, at the Mac OS x Big Sur operating system release. You can now have an APFS partition format. (Apple File System.) And use it for a backup with Apple Time Machine. But a Time Machine backup on APFS, isn’t supported on earlier operating system releases.
  • ExFAT for a partition you plan on sharing between a Mac and a Windows PC. Both a Mac and a Windows computer can freely see and share an ExFAT partition.

Then set the size you want for your partition where the next field says size.

Great that’s your first WD drive partition done.

5. Click On + To Create Your Second Partition.

WD Elements Disk Utility 2nd Partition

And now you do exactly the same.  Give your second partition a name. Set the partition format you want.  Set its size.

WD Elements Disk Utility Change Partition Size

You can move the segment to set the size.

If you want a third partition. Click on +. Then you do the same again.

Don’t worry if the overall size in TB doesn’t seem quite right.  Writing file systems on partitions uses up space.  Your Mac will work it out and show you what you have left to play with.

It’s best not to create too many partitions. Two maybe three partitions should be your max.

6. Click Apply When You’re Done.

Now your Mac will take a few minutes to build your partitions. And each partition’s file system. Once they’re done you can close your Disk Utility window.

How Do I Find And Use The Partitions On My WD Elements?

Your partitions will show up as file icons on your Mac computer’s desktop.

WD Elements Partitions
Drive and Partition Icons

You double click on each, and that will open up a Finder window.

WD Elements Finder Window Open On Partition

Then you’re free to use them.

You can copy and paste to the Finder windows from your Mac. Create folders. Or attach your Time Machine partition to Time Machine for a backup.

You can find out how to set up a backup with Time Machine in this post here. WD Elements Time Machine (How To & Use For) Your Mac Backup.

And that’s it. You’ve done your partitioning. Easy, and it all took less than five minutes to do.

Partitioning WD Elements Frequently Asked Questions

I Want To Partition But I Can’t See My WD Elements Drive On My Mac’s Desktop

There are a few possible causes and solutions.

a. Check your Finder window Settings (since Mac OS Ventura). In earlier Mac releases it’s called Preferences.

Finder Settings

And be sure you have the External Disks box checked.

Finder Settings Show External Disks

Then your WD Elements external drive should show up on your desktop.

b. Check your USB cable. Try a USB cable you know works. It’s surprising how often a dud cable can cause your Elements USB drive not to show up.

c. Try plugging in your WD Elements drive into another USB port on your Mac.

d. Shutdown and restart your Mac. This will clear any software problems on your USB ports.

For more solutions check out this post here. WD Elements Not Showing Up On Mac.

How Do I Partition WD Elements For Mac And PC?

Want a partition you can share between a Mac and a Windows PC?  You follow the steps in this post.

And you make sure the partition you want to share you partition with the file format of ExFAT.

Some older articles on the web suggest FAT32. But there are file size restrictions with FAT32. And it’s not as robust. These days you use ExFAT.

Both your Mac and your Windows PC will see an ExFAT partition straight away. And you’re free to copy and paste. Drag and drop files from a Mac or a PC to an ExFAT partition.

But …

You can’t use an ExFAT partition as a Time Machine backup partition.

How Do I Partition WD Elements For Time Machine?

The steps in this post will allow you to create an Apple Time Machine partition.  Just make sure you create the partition as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Or APFS if you’re only using on a Mac running the latest OS x.

And be sure it is large enough for your backup.

Have 200 GB to backup?

Then you should think of having a partition at least 400GB in size. This will give you plenty of room to store your backups and to grow into over time.

In Closing

Thank you for reading this post WD Elements Partition Mac. And walked through the 6 steps to partition fast.

And you’ve your Western Digital hard drive all partitioned up on your Mac. How about getting a second one?

Because if the only copy of your documents, or music, or photos are on your WD drive. That leaves you vulnerable.

It pays to have a copy of your important files in more than one place.  Just in case.

You’ll find other documents here on the site about the WD Elements external hard drive. Please take a look.

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