How To Format Seagate External Hard Drive on Windows or Mac

Format your drive with the correct file system to create new space for files and data.

formatting seagate external hard drive

Any computer uses a drive. It is used for storing files and programs on your computer. But there are instances when you need to format your drive. The more storage space you have, the faster your computer is! So whether your computer is experiencing lag or is suffering low storage.

Unlike Seagate internal hard drives, most new Seagate external hard drives come preformatted as exFAT. But, you may need to format the drive if you are using it with a new computer or if you want to erase the data on the drive.

Part 1. What Will Happen if You Format Seagate External Hard Drive?

The answer is simple, once you format Seagate's external hard drive, all the data stored on your disk will be deleted. These include files, folders, or programs. Additionally, the drive will go back to its original format causing device incompatibility. That is why it is important to back up important files to prevent losing them.

Part 2. How To Choose the Right File Format for Formatting Seagate External Hard Drive?

Choosing the right format for Seagate hard external drives is essential as it will determine what file format suits your computer’s needs. It will also boost your computer's performance and improve its operating system.

Check this table for comparison:

File Format
System Compatibility
NTFS (NT File System) NTFS enables individual compression of files and folders to prevent system slowdown. While it is compatible with Windows, it can only be read by Mac.
exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) exFAT is a lightweight file system with a large limit on file and partition sizes. It is compatible with all versions of Windows and modern macOS versions.
FAT32 (File Allocation Table 32) Compatible with both Windows and Mac but not recommended for Seagate external hard drive with massive storage
APFS (Apple-borned file system) A file system compatible with mac0S 10.13 and higher versions

Part 3. How To Format Seagate External Hard Drive on Windows?

Free Download

For Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11

Free Download

For macOS X 10.10 - macOS 13

Seagate internal drives are not preformatted and must be formatted before use. Drives that will be bootable are formatted during the process of installing the operating system A drives that will be used for storage needs to be formatted. Remember that doing so will erase all your data. Backup is necessary to avoid data loss.

Here are three different situations on how you can format seagate external hard drive on Windows:

Situation 1: Format a new Seagate External Hard Drive

Do these steps when Windows as you to initialize your PC once you connect a new drive to it:

Step 1: Open Disk Management. To do this, right-click (or long-press) the Start button and select Disk Management.

Step 2: Select Initialize Disk. Then, Choose MBR for drives under 2TB while choose GPT for drives over 2TB.

Step 3: Then, right-click the unallocated space and choose New Simple Volume. Follow the on-screen wizard to create partitions on the Seagate external hard drive.

reformat seagate external drive disk

Situation 2. Reformat a Drive

Normally, Disk Management is used to reformat a drive. Just follow these simple steps and you’re good to go:

Step 1: Open Disk Management.

Step 2: Right click the partition then choose Format.

Step 3: Choose a file system then name your file volume after. Once done, click OK.

formatting seagate external hard drive partition

Situation 3: Format a Previously Formatted for Mac Drive on Windows

There are cases where a drive is previously formatted for Mac. At this instance, Disk Management will show three partitions. One of these is the EFI System partition which cannot be removed in Disk Management. Use DiskPart to delete this partition. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Open Disk Management.

Step 2: Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.

Step 3: Enter “diskpart” in the Run box dialog.

Step 4: Click Enter.

format seagate external hard drive efi

Step 5: Enter these series of commands to convert the EFI partition to basic partition:

  • “list Disk”
  • “sel disk 0"
  • "list partition"
  • "sel partition 1"
  • "SET ID=ebd0a0a2-b9e5-4433-87c0-68b6b72699c7"
formatting seagate external hard drive convert

Step 6: Use  "delete partition override" command to delete the EFI system partition.

Step 7: Delete other partitions and then create a new one.

Part 4. How To Format Seagate External Hard Drive on a Mac Using Disk Utility?

Formatting a Seagate external drive for Mac can be done in a few minutes. Just be sure your Mac computer is connected to the Seagate external drive and you choose the correct formatting options. Check the steps below:

Step 1: Connect your device. Then, open Disk Utility by clicking Open Finder. Select Applications then Utilities.

Step 2: In the upper left, select click View and select Show All Devices.

seagate external hard drive disk utility

Step 3: Choose the unindented entry where you can see Media.

seagate external hard drive media

Step 4: Input the name of the volume, format and scheme.

format external hard drive erase

Step 5: Click the Erase button to start the formatting. Once finished, click done.

Step 6: Check the formatted drive by selecting the indented entry.

format seagate hard drive erase finished

Part 5. How To Recover Data From Seagate External Hard Drive?

Local damage, deletion, formatting, corruption, system error, or virus attack are possible reasons you need to recover your Seagate external hard drive. Please do not fret. With the help of Recoverit Data Recovery, you retrieve lost or damaged data with its 96% recovery rate. 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:

Free Download

For Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11

Free Download

For macOS X 10.10 - macOS 13

Step 1: Launch Wondershare Recoverit then select Seagate External Hard Drive

To recover data from the Seagate hard drive, you need to select the device and click "Start" .

format seagate hard drive start

Step 2: Scan Seagate Hard Drive

Recoverit Seagate Recovery will immediately start a thorough scan to search all the hidden files and data . In case the data gets lost in partition, the software can easily find a solution.

format seagate hard drive scan

Step 3: Preview and restore files from Seagate drive

Once the scanning process is done, you can view all the recoverable files listed by file type or file path. You can preview them and select those you want to recover. Click "Recover" to restore lost data.

format seagate hard drive recover


It is undeniable that Seagate devotes itself to making quality external hard drives. However, data loss is unavoidable, even for Seagate external hard drive users. Good thing, WonderShare developed Recoverit- a professional data recovery tool that can retrieve data from all devices or media deemed unrecoverable by other companies.

Free Download

For Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11

Free Download

For macOS X 10.10 - macOS 13

You May Also Like

Other popular Articles From Wondershare