Sep 01, 2011  I show you how to format a western digital (or any brand)hard drive for use on any device be it a Mac, PC, Linux, PS3, XBOX 360, etc.

  1. Format Wd Elements For Time Machine
  2. Reformatting Wd Elements For Mac Os
  3. Format Wd Elements For Mac High Sierra

IsWD Elements Compatible with Mac?

And therelated question can you use your WD Elements on a Mac?

The answeris yes. Your WD Elements drive can work great on your Mac.

But thereare a couple of things you need to know and do to get it set up just fine.

You’lllearn here the things you need to know about using your WD Elements for Mac.

And some ofthe potential pitfalls.

Plugging in your WD Elements USB Cable into your Mac

Your WD Elements portable hard drive has a USB 3.0 type A connection to your Mac.

Why is thatimportant?

Is your Macan iMac 2017 or later? Or MacBook Pro 2016 or newer?

Or MacBookAir 2018?

If youranswer is yes then your Mac will have a USB C (Thunderbolt) port on it.

You’ll beable to use your WD Elements drive. But you will need an adaptor to plug theUSB cable from your Elements drive into your Mac.

Theseadaptor cables are easy to get from Amazon.

And shouldyour Mac be an older Mac with USB 2.0.


The USBcable provided will fit. And your WD elements drive will work at USB 2.0 speedto match your Mac.

You’ve Plugged in and WD Elements not Showing up on Mac?

You’ve loggedin and connected up your WD Elements external hard drive on your Mac. You wereexpecting to see the drive icon on the desktop.

But it’snot there?

The firstthing to check is your Finder Window Preferences.

Open up afinder window. Go to preferences.

In thefinder preferences pop up window be sure you’ve checked the ‘Hard Drive’ and ‘ExternalDrive’ boxes.

Then yourWD Elements external drive’s icon should appear.

What if your WD Elements is Still not Showing up on Mac?

Using Your WD Elements On Mac?

Your WDElements drive is bus powered.

What doesthat mean?

It meansthat your Elements drive takes its power from your Mac. Your USB cable bothpowers your Elements drive. And transfers your documents backwards andforwards.

Great. Becauseyou don’t have to worry about carrying another power plug and its cable aroundwith you. Particularly when you take your Elements drive out and about withyour Mac.

But becauseyour WD Elements drive gets its power from your Mac check your Mac is chargedenough. Or plug in your Mac so that your Mac doesn’t run out of power part waythrough a large transfer of files.

Is Your WDElements Drive Read Only on your Mac?

When shipped to you your Western Digital Elements drive is in a format called NTFS. NTFS is a PC format that a Windows PC uses. Your Mac can see and read your NTFS Elements drive.

But whenyou want to put documents on the drive, or update any files on the drive yourMac says no. You can only read your Elements external hard drive.

Don’t fretyou can change the formatting. Byreformatting your WD Elements for your Mac.

How do IFormat WD Elements for Mac?

Format Wd Elements For Time Machine

To use yourWD Elements drive on your Mac you need your Elements drive in HFS+ format. Thisformatting is also known as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system. Don’t worry about the name.

Just know that this is a file system that your Mac uses for a Time Machine backup.


And if youwant to copy and paste files.

Or drag anddrop files from your Mac onto your WD Elements drive.

It’s theformat you use when you want to use your WD Elements drive just for yourMac. Because a Windows PC can’t see aHFS+ drive when it’s plugged in.

To set upyour WD Elements drive to work on your Mac you’ll need to format it for Mac.

You’ll find my article on how you format the WD Elements hard drive here.

Click overand in a few minutes you’ll have the formatting all done.

How Can YouUse Your WD Elements Drive without Reformatting?

Formattingwill erase any documents you have on your WD Elements drive. So if you’ve put files on there from yourWindows PC. And really what you want to do is use the drive without changinganything on there.

There issoftware you can use that leaves your Elements drive in NTFS formatting. Butmakes it read and writeable from your Mac.


It’s theoption to choose when you mainly use your WD Elements drive on your Windows PC.And sometimes you use your Elements drive on your Mac.

Using YourWD Elements Drive on Your Mac and a PC

Yes you canuse your WD Elements drive for both a Mac and a PC if you want.

And particularlyif you want to use for both without using special software. And its easy to do.

You justconnect up your WD Elements drive to your Mac and format it to ExFAT.

There aresome articles around on the web suggesting FAT32. And yes you can set your Mac to format yourElements drive to FAT32. FAT32 is compatible with Mac and Windows. But thesedays the FAT32 file system is outdated, not as sturdy and has file sizerestrictions.

ExFAT is freelyread and writable by both your Mac and Windows PC. Both operating systems cansee an ExFAT file system. And use the files, photos, movies, music, in fact anyfiles that are on there.

You can find out how to Format your WD Elements external hard drive for Mac and PC using my article here.

Your WDElements Drive Not Working on Mac?

Havingproblems with your Western Digital Elements drive working. And then not workingon your Mac?

1. When you formatted your WD Elements did you check that the format scheme was ‘GUID Partition Map’? You’ll have problems with formatting the drive without setting the scheme right. Because NTFS is set up differently. And a set up hang over from NTFS will mean odd problems with your Elements drive.

2. You should try repairing your Elements drive in Disk Utility using the First Aid option. That may solve your problem.

If thedrive is in a poor state First Aid may well tell you to erase the drive.

Which meansstarting from scratch and loosing the files on there.

3. Did you download Drive Utilities from the Western Digital site onto your Mac?

Yes, DriveUtilities allows you to run a check on your WD Elements drive. And you can seeif the software reports any errors on the drive.

But didyour problems with the drive show up after you downloaded this software?

Check thatyour version of the Western Digital software is compatible with your Mac’soperating system.

You could haveproblems with your Mac OS clashing with the WD Drive Utilities software.

If you’reone of those having problems with your WD Elements drive working and then not.And for no real reason you can see. Then uninstall the Western DigitalUtilities.

You can dothat by using the WD Uninstaller in your Application’s folder.

And your onand off issues with your WD Elements drive should go away.

Why won’t MyWD Elements Drive Backup?

Having problemswith your Time Machine backups failing to your WD elements drive? This seems another type of conflict with theWD Disk Utilities software.

Check thesoftware version your using. Is it for your version of Mac OS?

Tryuninstalling the WD Disk Utilities. Then see if your Time Machine Backup issuesdisappear.

Last Words

Yes, WDElements is basic storage for your Mac. And it usually works great on Mac. Butif you have problems use my tips here. And have your WD Elements for Mac andlose your issues.

You candiscover other articles on the site all about your WD Elements drive.

Why notcheck them out.

So, you just bought an external hard drive or a portable SSD and wanted to use it on your Mac. But somehow, macOS doesn’t allow you to write data to the drive.

That’s all because it’s been initialized with Windows NT File System (NTFS), which is primarily for PCs. Apple Mac machines support a different file system.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to format your external drive for a Mac compatible file system i.e. Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Just follow this easy step-by-step guide and you’re all set.

Important note: If you have useful files stored on the external drive, be sure to copy or transfer them to another safe place prior to formatting. The operation will erase all data and your files will be gone for good. You could use a recovery program like Data Rescue to retrieve them, but the odds of recovery vary.

Pro tip: If your external drive has a large volume, like mine – a 2TB Seagate Expansion. I highly recommend you also create multiple partitions. I’ll also show you how to do that below.

Most External Hard Drives Are Initiated with NTFS

During the last several years, I’ve used several removable drives, including a 500GB WD My Passport, 32GB Lexar flash drive, and a few others.

Three weeks ago, I bought a brand new 2TB Seagate Expansion to backup my MacBook Pro before I updated to the latest macOS, 10.13 High Sierra (also see those High Sierra issues I encountered).

When I connected the Seagate to my Mac, the drive icon showed up like this.

When I opened it, the default content was all there. Since I wanted to use it on Mac, I clicked the blue logo with the text “Start_Here-Mac”.

It brought me to a webpage on Seagate’s site, where it clearly indicated the drive was initially set up to work with a Windows PC. If I wanted to use it with Mac OS or Time Machine backup (which is my intent), I’ll need to format the drive for my Mac.

I then right-clicked the external drive icon on Mac desktop > Get Info. It showed this format:

Format: Windows NT File System (NTFS)

What is NTFS? I’m not going to explain here; you can read more on Wikipedia. The problem is that on macOS, you can’t work with files saved on an NTFS drive unless you use a paid app Paragon NTFS for Mac.

How to Format an External Drive to Work with Mac (from NTFS to Mac OS Extended)?

Note: The tutorial and screenshots below are based on macOS Sierra 10.12.5. They might be different if your Mac has a different version.

Step 1: Open Disk Utility.

The quickest way to do this is a simple Spotlight search (click the search icon on the upper right corner), or go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.

Step 2: Highlight your external drive and click “Erase”.

Make sure your drive is connected. It should show up on the left panel under “External”. Select that disk and click the “Erase” button, the one highlighted in red in the screenshot below.

Step 3: Select “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” in Format.

A new window will pop up asking which file system you’d like to format the external drive to. By default, it’s the Windows NT File System (NTFS). Select the one shown below.

Pro tip: If you want to use the external drive for both Mac and PC, you can also select “ExFAT”. Learn more about the differences between these file systems from this thread.

By the way, you can also rename your external drive.

Step 4: Wait until the erasing process is complete.

For me, it took less than a minute to format my 2TB Seagate Expansion.

You can also check to see if the format was successful. Right-click on the icon for your external drive on Mac desktop, then select “Get Info”. Under “Format”, you should see text like this:

Reformatting Wd Elements For Mac Os

Congratulations! Now your external drive has been formatted to be fully compatible with Apple MacOS, and you can edit, read, and write files to it as you want.

How to Partition an External Hard Drive on Mac

If you want to create multiple partitions on your external hard drive (in fact, you should for better file organization), here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Highlight your drive and click “Partition” in Disk Utility.

Open the Disk Utility app and highlight your external hard drive. Make sure you select the disk icon right under “External”. If you select the one below it, the Partition option will be greyed out and become unclickable.

Step 2: Add partitions and allocate volume for each one.

After clicking “Partition”, you’ll see this window. Located on the left is a big blue circle with the name of your external drive together with its volume size. What you need to do next is click the add “+” button to increase the number of partitions on your external disk. Then allocate the desired volume to each partition. You can do that by clicking the small white circle and dragging it around.

After that, you can rename each partition and define a file system for it.

Step 3: Confirm your operation.

Once you hit “Apply”, a new window pops up asking for your confirmation. Take a few seconds to read the text description to make sure it reflects what you intend to do, then click the “Partition” button to continue.

Format Wd Elements For Mac High Sierra

Step 4: Wait until it says “Operation successful.”

To check whether the operation is really successful, go to your Mac desktop. You should see multiple disk icons show up. I chose to create two partitions on my Seagate Expansion — one for backup, the other for personal use. You can find more info in this post: How to Backup Mac to an External Hard Drive.

That wraps up this tutorial article. I hope you find it helpful. As always, let me know if you have any issues during the formatting or partitioning process.

Coments are closed
Scroll to top