How to Format a Mac Hard Drive for Windows: Convert APFS to NTFS Like a Pro

Are you switching computers and would like to convert your hard disk from APFS to NTFS? Read on to know how to format a Mac hard drive for Windows easily.

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Sep 14, 2021 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

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Do you have a hard drive on Mac and you can’t seem to format APFS drive to NTFS on Windows?

Well, just like you, lots of people find it hard to convert an Apple hard drive to Windows. This is because Mac uses APFS file format while Windows support the NTFS system instead. Since both the schemes are not compatible, we need to first format APFS to NTFS on Mac/Windows. In this post, I’m going to teach you how to format a Mac hard drive for Windows in the NTFS format.

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NTFS vs. APFS: Know the Basic Difference

You might already know that APFS is the file system that is used in Mac hard drives while NTFS is a Windows-compatible scheme. Before we learn how to convert an external hard drive from Mac to PC, let’s consider some basics.

NTFS: NTFS (New Technology File System) is a proprietary file system that is used in almost all Windows versions and was developed in 1993. It is a more acceptable file system and can be used on Linux and macOS (read-only) as well.

APFS: APFS, which stands for Apple File System, is exclusively used to format internal or external hard drives for Mac. It is a newer and more advanced file system (released in 2017). Therefore, compared to NTFS, the following features are better in APFS:


Why You Might Need to Convert an Apple Hard Drive to Windows Format?

Ideally, you might wish to format an APFS drive to NTFS on Windows due to the following reasons:


How to Convert APFS to NTFS on Windows?

Now when we have covered the basics, let’s learn how to format a Mac hard drive for Windows by following a stepwise approach. Please note that when we format an APFS drive to NTFS on Windows, its existing data is deleted. Therefore, before you convert an Apple hard drive to Windows, make sure that you take a prior backup of your files to avoid their loss.

Step 1: Connect the Drive and Delete the EFI Partition

To convert the APFS drive to NTFS on Windows, you can just connect the drive to your computer. Afterward, press the Windows Key + R to launch the Run prompt and enter the diskmgmt.msc command to load the Disk Management application. You can also go to Control Panel > Computer Management to launch Disk Management on your system.

Run Prompt Disk Management

Once the Disk Management application is launched, you can view the connected APFS drive with its EFI Partition. From here, you can just select the EFI partition, right-click, and choose to Delete the Volume.

Delete EFI Partition

Since the EFI file system is uniquely related to the APFS partitioning scheme, we need to remove it before we format the drive.

Step 2: Format the Drive with DISKPART

Great! Once the EFI partition is deleted, you can easily clean the connected drive. To do that, you can just launch Command Prompt on your computer as an administrator. Afterward, just type and enter the “DISKPART” command to load the Disk Partition module.

Launch Diskpart Module

Now, you can just enter the “list disk” command to get a list of all the connected drives and partitions on the system. From here, please note the key identifier for the connected disk (like disk 2/3). Subsequently, you can select the disk by entering the “select” command followed by the identifier (like select disk 2).

Clear Drive via Diskpart

After selecting the connected disk, you can just enter the “clean” command that would remove all the existing data and configuration files from the disk.

Step 3: Convert an Apple Hard Drive to Windows NTFS Format

Once you have wiped the existing data on the connected APFS hard drive, you can again launch the Disk Management application. As you would locate the connected Mac drive, you can view a “Not Initialized” message adjacent to it. Therefore, to format the APFS drive to NTFS on Windows, you can right-click the disk space and choose to Initialize it.

Disk Management Initialize Disk

This will open a basic wizard that you can follow to initialize the hard drive by setting up an appropriate partitioning style (MBR or GPT).

Disk Management Select Partition Style

After initializing the drive, you can view its status on Disk Management, but it would be unallocated. Therefore, you can again right-click the unallocated space and select the “New Simple Volume” option.

Disk Management Setup New Volume

There you go! This will open a new wizard on the system that you can follow to convert the Apple hard drive to Windows format. From here, you can select NTFS or exFAT as the preferred file system and grant the disk preferred space.

Disk Management NTFS Formatting

You can now follow this wizard and format the APFS drive to NTFS on Windows automatically. In the end, your hard drive would be ready, and you can use it without any hassle.


Pro Tip: Restore your Lost Data with Wondershare Recoverit

As you can see, when we format APFS to NTFS on Windows, the existing data on the drive would be deleted. Therefore, if you have lost your important files in the process, then consider using Wondershare Recoverit. By following a simple click-through wizard, you can get back all kinds of lost files using Wondershare Recoverit.

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Conclusion

As you can see, it is pretty easy to convert an Apply hard drive to a Windows supported format. I have provided a step-by-step solution to format APFS to NTFS on Windows that anyone can follow. Though, if you have lost your data in the process, then you can just use Wondershare Recoverit to get it back. Feel free to explore the data recovery application or share this guide with others to teach them how to format a Mac hard drive to Windows easily.

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