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How to Setup a New External Hard Drive or SSD in Windows and Mac OSX

This guide is really important because often times, diagnostic software and backup copies are stored on external hard drives and SSDs [Solid State Drives]. Diagnostic software can contain large amounts of data, especially if there are programming and data files.

Although most diagnostic software is designed for Windows, there are many Mac OS users that switch between Mac and Windows or use only Mac and run a Virtual Machine running Windows.

If you plug your External Drive into your Mac or Windows and it doesn't show up, most likely the issue is the drive just needs to be initialized, partitioned or correctly formatted.

Windows uses NTFS and Mac OS uses HFS and they're incompatible with each other. However, you can format the drive to work with both Windows and Mac by using the exFAT filesystem.

Important Warning: Initializing and formatting a hard drive will erase ALL the information on that drive. Please pay attention and make sure you select the correct drive


How to Setup a Hard Drive in Mac OSX:
Disk Utility is much like the Disk Management Console in Windows with many similar elements. The biggest difference is the type of partitions available and selecting the best partition scheme.

1. Plug in your hard drive, Go to the [Applications] folder, then [Utilities], then the [Disk Utility] app


2. Select the drive you need to format, then click [Erase].

Important Warning: Initializing and formatting a hard drive will erase ALL the information on that drive. Please pay attention and make sure you select the correct drive

3. Name your hard drive and then under Format, select [exFAT]. Your hard drive is now correctly formatted to work with both Mac and Windows.

Tips: Always backup your data! I cannot stress this enough. You never know when an error could occur and you lose your data. I've learned this the hard way!




How to Setup a Hard Drive in Windows:

This will work with most versions of Windows including XP, Vista, 7 8 8.1 and 10.

1. Plug in your hard drive, Go to the [Disk Management Tool].
Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Create and format hard disk partitions or using the Windows search bar, search the keyword "format disk"
2. Right-click on the external drive's partition or unallocated space you want to format and choose [New Simple Volume…]

Important Warning: Initializing and formatting a hard drive will erase ALL the information on that drive. Please pay attention and make sure you select the correct drive
3. Select a volume size, assign a drive letter, then click [Next]
4. Select [exFAT] as the file system, then name the hard drive, then click [Next] and then [Finish]

5. Your hard drive is now correctly formatted to work with both Mac and Windows.

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