Format Usb On Mac For Windows

Now, let’s take a look at some ways you can format your USB drive on Windows 10. Method 1: Format USB Drive using File Explorer. This is the easiest way and simply requires you to plug in your USB Drive, open the Windows File Explorer and right click your drive to view a number of actions that you can perform. The Mac/Windows-compatible ExFat format allows larger file sizes than the old FAT32. Attach the drive to your Mac. Launch Disk Utility (from Applications Utilities Disk Utility ). Select the drive in the left-hand sidebar. From the Format menu, select ExFAT. From the Scheme menu. When you format your USB drive on a Mac computer, you should first consider which device you wish to connect the data storage device to and which operating systems are running on these devices. This is important, since the various types of system software – such as Windows, Linux, or macOS – may or may not support different file systems.

USB drives are extremely convenient to use for carrying data around. They come in various capacity options, and easy to slip into your pocket or handbag, and they're far more durable than physical disks such as CDs, DVDs, and BDs. The only challenge with USB drives, however, is to know what file system to use when formatting them. This is especially important when holding big files or making bootable install disk.

The three most popular ones for formatting a USB drive are FAT32, NTFS, and exFAT, all of which are compatible with Windows-based computers as well as other devices. Let's look at each of these in detail and then get into how to format your USB drive with the appropriate file system on a Windows 10 PC.


File Allocation Table 32, shortened to FAT32, was introduced with Windows 95 and is one of the oldest of the Windows file systems in use today. It is also the most widely used file system in the world because of its compatibility with multiple devices like smart TVs and media players.

However, it has one limitation in that you can't store file sizes that are larger than 4GB. That's a hard limit so even if you have a file like a Windows 10 ISO that's about 4.1GB, you can't store it on a USB drive that has been formatted with the FAT32 file system. This file system is generally recommended if you need to use the USB drive with different types of hardware because of its wide compatibility.


NTFS is a Microsoft format that debuted with Windows NT, but it was only made available in consumer versions of Windows since Windows XP. The NT File system is the default one that your hard drive is formatted with when you install Windows. It offers several features that are neither found in FAT32 or exFAT, such as a change journal for recovery after errors or crashes, security using file permissions, encryption support, and more.

The biggest advantage is that the partition and file size limits are extremely high, which is the major difference between FAT32 and NTFS. The ideal use for these is for cloning system drives and other large chunks of data. It is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux, but doesn't work with the majority of other hardware devices.


exFAT, Extended File Allocation Table File System can be considered an upgrade to the conventional FAT32 format because it has higher size limits and is more lightweight. Incidentally, a larger number of hardware devices can be used with USB drives that are formatted with exFAT than with NTFS, making it a good alternative to FAT32. As such, if compatibility with other devices is a concern, it's a better option than NTFS.

Now that we have an overview of the basic differences between the three file systems, let's learn how to go about formatting a USB drive with one of them.

Format USB to FAT32/NTFS/exFAT in Windows 10 or Windows 7

The process is fairly simple and only involves a couple of clicks and menu option selections, but you will need to make sure that all the data on the drive is backed up before formatting it. By definition, formatting a drive erases all data on that drive, so be sure to back up any data that's already on the USB drive.

Once you have secured your data, follow the steps shown below to format your USB drive in Windows 10:

Step 1: Insert your USB drive into your Windows PC and open File Explorer.

Step 2: Right-click on the drive and select Format… from the contextual menu. A small window will pop up.

Step 3: Depending on what the purpose of the USB drive is, choose the appropriate file system. For greater compatibility, FAT32 is best, but if you want to put large media files, then exFAT is preferred. NTFS is great if you're only using the drive on other Windows systems. Your purpose of use should be the main deciding factor when picking a file system, considering each one's limitations on size limits vs. compatibility.

Step 4: Set the other parameters like Quick Format. When the box is not ticked, it will check for bad sectors, which is a good idea if your drive was corrupted before formatting.

Step 5: Click on Start, and your USB drive will be formatted to the file system that you selected in Step 3. Once you see 'Format Complete' on your screen, you can eject the drive and remove it from the computer. It is now ready to use.

How to Format USB to FAT32/exFAT on Mac

Creating Windows 10 bootable USB on Mac is a common task for people who have multiple computers at home. You have to format the drive to exFAT or FAT32 if the burning process failed due to the wrong partition scheme. The good news is that formatting USB on Mac is also as easy as on Windows 10.

Step 1: Insert the target USB drive into Mac and you should see the drive name on Finder sidebar.

Step 2: Find and open Disk Utility from Launchpad.

Step 3: Click on the USB drive name in Disk Utility app and click 'Restore' button displayed on the top menu. At this time, a couple of formatting options available. There are: Mac OS Extended, MS-DOS(FAT) and ExFAT.

Step 4: Select one of the format from drop-down menu and click 'Erase' to start formatting USB to FAT or ExFAT on Mac.


This is the easiest way to format your USB drive in Windows 10 or Mac. Alternatively, you can also use the DISKPART command line utility in Windows CMD to do this, but it requires some level of technical knowledge and is not generally recommended for new or inexperienced users.

How to format and create a USB drive or pen drive that is compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7 or Mac or Linux.

A file system is a method and structure of data used by an operating system, called Windows, Linux or Mac OS, for reading media files such as disks, removable drives, etc.

Types of File Systems

It is vital that we are aware that each developer implements a series of file systems for their operating system, for example, we have the following:


  • FAT
  • FAT32
  • NTFS
  • exFAT


  • ext2
  • ext3
  • ext4
  • ReiserFS
  • Swap

Mac OS:

  • HFS +
  • MS-DOS (FAT)
  • exFAT
  • APFS (Present in the new edition of macOS High Sierra)

Each system manages its file system and in this way, USB drive with NTFS can only be recognized in Windows environments but not in Linux or macOS environments, even if it is accepted in macOS we can not make changes to it.

At this point, another question arises, what type of file system to use that is compatible with these three operating systems?

In technical terms, it has been recommended that the file system of the USB drives be FAT32 thanks to the fact that it is an old file system and that it has evolved to FAT32 at present, but there is a format that is much better regarding security, reliability, and compatibility: exFAT.

Let’s see in detail what is and what covers each of these file systems.


This format is one of the most compatible, but due to its useful life, it has been in force since the 90s, it has a series of limitations that can affect the pace of updates we are experiencing today.
Being a format with so much active time is compatible with virtually any operating system.

As mentioned, it has its limitations such as the inability to host files larger than 4 GB or that partitions with this file system cannot have more than 8 TB capacity.


exFAT is in a way a more modern and dynamic FAT32 which was developed in 2006 and is present in most modern operating systems.

By default, all traditional operating systems, Windows, Linux or Mac OS are compatible with exFAT, and its use is highly recommended for external drives, such as USB devices or external drives, thanks to its simplicity and multiple features.

Now we will analyze a little more in detail the fields of action where these two file systems are compatible to know which is the best option to choose.

Device Support

This is the first fundamental field since if the USB device formatted with FAT23 or exFAT is not compatible with the device where it has to be connected it will be impossible for it to be recognized and to access its contents.

In this field, we can say that FAT32 has an advantage over exFAT because, being an old file system, it is compatible with all operating systems and devices such as game consoles, Smart TV, multimedia players and others.

ExFAT, although it is currently compatible with more than 95% of the devices on the market, can still find individual limitations in some Linux distros or Android devices.

In some Linux distros the exFAT file system will not be recognized immediately, so we must install the several utilities by executing the following line:

Then update the packages running the line:

Format Usb For Mac And Windows Exfat

Reading & Writing Speed

Another of the pillars in a file system is the ability with which this can access the content and read or write it since this depends on optimal performance which is a highly required value today. Undoubtedly in this regard exFAT outperforms FAT32 to be a much more recent technology which is compatible with USB 3.0 which can have a transfer rate up to 5 Gbps.

In the previous graphic of flexense we can see the performance of exFAT on FAT32, and in the following link we will be able to look in detail multiple operations carried out by this software developer called Flexsense

Size of Supported Files

Format Usb On Mac For Windows Computer

Undoubtedly on this field wins exFAT because, as we mentioned above, FAT32 only allows files with a maximum capacity of 4 GB in partitions that do not exceed 8 TB of storage while exFAT is virtually unlimited in this aspect to support 16ZB files.

How To Format a USB drive with exFAT

Starting from the detail that exFAT is the most practical and functional file system, unless we are not going to use files of more than 4 GB, this is the process of formatting the USB drives with exFAT.

It will first be necessary to install the exFAT tools by executing the following command, as we have mentioned before:

Later we run the fdisk -l line to list the active disks in the system.

There we will locate the USB drive which has the extension /dev/sd** (Replace the ** with the indicated number)
Once the USB disk is identified, we will execute the following syntax:

Format usb for mac and windows scheme

As we understand, we have the freedom to select the best file system for our USB drives to have the best capacity and performance.

Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.