Seagate external hard drives are among the world’s most popular external memory devices. With a long work history and millions of satisfied customers, these drives are among the most reliable, cost-effective, efficient, and high-quality products.
If you have decided to purchase an external hard drive from this company, you must prepare it for further use according to your operating system and device. Some hard drives come preformatted; sometimes, you need to format your external Seagate hard drive yourself to make it usable.
We will show you how to format a Seagate external hard drive on Mac and Windows devices. Stay tuned for a bonus tip to help you save your valuable data.
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Should You Format a New Seagate External Hard Drive?
Every new external hard drive requires formatting so you can use it to read/write your data. Some Seagate external hard drives come preformatted to a specific format type. However, you may not like the format and wish to change it.
In most cases, you should format your drive to fit your operating system and preferences. You can also format your HDD to create different partitions for your data.
Formatting is necessary if you have purchased a used Seagate external hard drive since you will delete everything previously stored on the disk.
What Happens When You Reformat Your Seagate Hard Drive
Before reformatting your drive, you should learn what happens to it during the process. First, you’ll permanently delete all the data you have stored on the disk, so create a backup beforehand to avoid losing it.
Your Seagate hard drive’s file system will also change, but you can choose the desired format during reformatting.
Reformatting your drive can detect possible issues with your device and fix them accordingly. This process will give you a “brand-new,” usable, issue-free external hard drive.
There are several different types of reformatting your hard drives. For instance, you can perform Quick and Full Format on Windows depending on data deletion preferences.
- Quick Format – this option will delete the data from the drive once. It will not permanently damage the files and make them unrecoverable. You can choose this method if you only want to give your drive a fresh start.
- Full Format – this process may take longer to complete, but it will completely overwrite your drive with zeros and ones. Full Format will do this a couple of times, making data recovery impossible. This format type is ideal if you want to sell your drive and don’t want anyone to access the data you have stored on it.
Mac offers similar options, but you can choose the volume of the format. For instance, there are several levels between the Fastest and Most Secure options. The latter will also permanently delete your data, making it undiscoverable and irreparable. It is the best option if you want to get rid of your data forever, as is the case with Full Format on Windows.
How To Choose the Right File System Format for Your Seagate External Hard Drive
You can use different file system formats on your external Seagate hard drive according to your preferences and needs. Below are some of the most used and their primary purposes.
|File System Format||System Compatibility|
|APFS (Apple File System)||The Apple File System is the default and most-used format for Apple devices. It is perfect for professional and private use as it offers numerous features and high performance.|
|HFS+ (Mac OS Extended)||Hierarchical File System is also an Apple-based file format, replaced by the abovementioned APFS. It is perfect if you have an older Mac device or operating system.|
|FAT32||FAT32 is a universal format for Mac and Windows devices. Most external hard drives use this file system because it is the easiest to maintain and control. It is perfect for larger and smaller capacities.|
|exFAT||This format is ideal for sizable files and partitions as it is a fast-performing format. It is compatible with most operating systems and devices and is perfect for professional use (such as videographers, vloggers, etc.).|
|NTFS||The New Technology File System is the most-used format worldwide. You can mostly find it on Windows devices, but it is also compatible with other operating systems. NTFS is excellent for professional and personal use.|
You can choose a file system format according to your preferences and needs. For instance, if you own a Mac computer and want to use your Seagate external hard drive for professional purposes, you can opt for exFAT. On the other hand, you can use APFS if you don’t need professional features, although it primarily suits SSDs.
Similarly, you can use exFAT or FAT32 on your Windows device if you use your external hard drive for professional purposes. However, opt for NTFS if you don’t need a feature-packed option.
How To Format a Seagate External Hard Drive on Mac
Method 1. Format a Seagate External Hard Drive for Mac Using Disk Utility
If you own a Mac device and want to format or reformat your Seagate external hard drive, you can do so using the built-in Disk Utility tool. This solution allows you to manage your storage units, format, reformat, and delete files from them, and keep your HDD healthy and secure.
Thus, if you have purchased a Seagate external hard drive, follow the steps below to format it using Disk Utility on Mac:
- Connect your Seagate external hard drive to your Mac device.
- Open the Disk Utility tool by clicking Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
- In the upper left, select click View and select Show All Devices.
- You will see all the available disks in the left sidebar. Choose your Seagate drive and select the Erase option.
- Change the drive’s name and choose a preferred file format.
- Click the Erase button.
- Disk Utility will (re)format your Seagate external HDD shortly. Once the green checkmark appears, the process is complete.
Method 2. Format a Seagate External Hard Drive for Mac Using Terminal
If you are familiar with lines of code and want more control over your formatting, you can use Mac’s built-in Terminal. However, be careful when formatting disks with this command-line utility to ensure the best outcome. Here’s how to use the Terminal to (re)format your Seagate hard drive on Mac:
- Connect your Seagate external hard drive to Mac.
- Go through Finder > Applications > Utilities. Find the Terminal application icon and double-click it to launch the Terminal.
- Input the
diskutil listcommand and press Enter.
- Find the disk you want to format and remember its name.
- Input the
diskutil eraseDisk format name /dev/identifiercommand, ensuring you replace “format” with the desired file system (such as APFS), “name” with your drive’s label, and “identifier” with a corresponding one.
- Press Enter to complete the process.
This method may seem complex and overwhelming, so we recommend Disk Utility if you are a beginner.
How To Format a Seagate External Hard Drive on Windows
Here are three different situations on how you can format seagate external hard drive on Windows:
Method 1. Format a New Seagate External Hard Drive on Windows 10/11 Using Disk Management
Like Mac devices, Windows has a built-in tool for better, more efficient drive management. It’s called Disk Management. It is easy to use and lets you format, reformat, delete, update, and control your internal and external disks. You can format your external Seagate HDD by following the guide below:
- Connect your Seagate external hard drive to Windows PC.
- Open Disk Management. To do this, right-click (or long-press) the Start button and select Disk Management.
- Find your Seagate HDD and right-click it.
- Choose the Initialize Disk option. Opt for MBR if you have less than 2 TB of memory or GPT if you have over 2 TB.
- Right-click the Unallocated space and select New Simple Volume.
- Follow the steps on the screen to complete the process.
Method 2. Reformat a Seagate External Hard Drive on Windows 10/11 Using Disk Management
You can also use Disk Management to reformat your Seagate external hard drive. Here’s how to do it:
- Right-click the Start button and open Disk Management on your Windows PC.
- Detect your Seagate external hard drive and right-click it.
- Choose the Format option.
- In the dialog box, select the file system, rename your Seagate external hard drive, and click OK.
Method 3. (Re)Format a Seagate External Hard Drive on Windows 10/11 Using CMD
Another tool involves code lines, similar to Mac’s Terminal. You can use Command Prompt on your Windows device to (re)format your Seagate external drive by following the steps below:
- Search for Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
- Once you open the program, type
diskpartand press Enter.
- Input the
list diskcommand and press Enter.
- Find your Seagate external HDD and run the
select disk 2command, ensuring you replace “2” with your external hard drive’s number.
- Input the
cleancommand and press Enter. That will delete all the data from the drive.
- Type the
create partition primarycommand and press Enter.
- Run the
format fs=ntfscommand to format the drive (ensuring you specify the desired format).
- The last part is to
assigna letter to your drive by inputting the assign command and pressing Enter.
How To Recover Data From Accidentally Formatted Seagate External Hard Drive
Before reformatting your drive, back up your data to keep it safe and avoid losing it. What if you can’t access your Seagate external hard drive’s content or accidentally format it without backup? You may be unable to extract your data the traditional way.
That is when recovery software solutions come into play. Since numerous options are available, choosing a reliable tool with a high success rate can be challenging, so we are here to help. Wondershare Recoverit – Hard Drive Data Recovery is one of the best tools for safeguarding all your data before or after reformatting your Seagate external hard drive.
When your data is lost from the Seagate external hard drive, you can try this Seagate recovery software and retrieve the lost files. Here are the steps on how to use it:
- Download Wondershare Recoverit and run the program.
- Connect your Seagate external hard drive to PC.
- Select Hard Drives and Locations and choose the Seagate external hard drive from which you want to recover data.
- Recoverit Seagate Recovery will immediately start a thorough scan to search all the lost files and data. You can pause this process if you see all the files you wish to restore.
- Preview the files and select those you want to retrieve. Click Recover.
- Choose where you want to save your files.
You will regain access to your files in just a few minutes.
If you have a new Seagate External hard drive and need help getting it up and running, the first step you should take is formatting it. You now know several Seagate hard disk format tools to complete this process. Moreover, you can use some of our methods to reformat your Seagate external hard drive to delete data or fix a RAW drive.
Don’t forget to have a backup plan in case of accidental data loss or other unexpected scenarios. For instance, you can use Wondershare Recoverit to save your precious data before or after reformatting the Seagate external hard drive on Windows and Mac.