By AOMEI / Last Updated May 25, 2020

Format USB drive for both Mac and PC use

I bet some of you have this dilemma: you have a USB drive and want to use it on both Mac and PC. If you format the USB drive to HFS+ File System, it will not be supported by Windows computer. And if you format it to NTFS, it will not be fully supported in Mac Operating System. Here is a question: how to format USB drive for Mac and PC on Windows? Or in other words, how to make external hard drive compatible with Mac and PC?

Format USB drive to FAT32 or exFAT

As a matter of fact, there are two File Systems that can be both supported by Mac and PC Operating System: FAT32 and exFAT. Then which File System should you choose?

FAT32 is more compatible. Besides Windows and Mac, it can also compatible with various devices like PS3, PS4, Xbox One, etc. However, you cannot store large files over than 4GB on FAT32 formatted USB drive and the volume has 2TB restriction. As for exFAT, it is less compatible. But it breaks the limitation of 4GB in File size and 2 TB in volume size.

Therefore, if you want to use your USB drive with more devices, you can choose FAT32. If you need to store large file over 4GB, choose exFAT. In short, choose one according to your situation.

How to format USB for Mac and PC on Windows 10/8/7?

Next, I will introduce you two detailed ways to format USB drive for Mac and PC on Windows. One is using Diskpart tool and the other is using AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Format USB via Diskpart tool

Diskpart is a built-in tool that can manage your hard drives. You can use it to format disk including internal or external hard drive.

Step 1. Press “Windows” + “R” to open Run dialogue. Type “diskpart” in the Run dialogue, and hit Enter.

Step 2. In Diskpart window, input the following commands and hitEnter after each command.

  • list disk

  • select disk n, where “n” is the disk number of USB drive.

  • list partition

  • select partition m, where “m” is the number of partition going to be formatted.

  • format fs=exFAT

Tips: If you need to format it to FAT32, replace the last command with “format fs=fat32”.

Diskpart Format

Step 3. Type “exit” to close this window.

With Diskpart tool, you can format USB drive very quickly. However, if you use it to format partition over 32GB to FAT32, the error message that the volume is too big will appear. That is to say, you cannot use Diskpart to format volume larger than 32GB.

Therefore, if you need to format the USB drive which is larger than 32GB, you can use a third party free software – AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Format USB drive for Mac and PC via freeware

AOMEI Partition Assistant, a free powerful format tool, is specially designed for Windows operating systems. It can support almost all file systems including Ext2, Ext3, NTFS, FAT32,exFAT, etc. You can use it to format USB drive quickly and securely. With this software, you can format USN drive to FAT32 without the limitation of 32GB partition size. Let’s see how to format USB drive for Mac and PC on Windows.

Step 1. Download AOMEI Partition Assistant and launch the software. In the main interface, locate the USB drive, right click it and choose Format Partition.

Format USB

Step 2. In the pop-up window, choose exFAT or FAT32 among the listed file systems. Then, click OK.

Format Partition

Step 3. You’ll return to the main interface. Click Apply to submit the operation.


You can use both Diskpart and AOMEI Partition Assistant to format USB drive for Mac and PC on Windows. It is obvious that you can have less limitation to format USB drive with AOMEI Partition Assistant. You do not need to worry the 32GB partition size limitation with AOMEI product when you format USB drive to FAT32. The Pro edition has more advanced features, you can format USB drive using CMD, migrate OS from MBR disk to GPT SSD or HDD, convert system disk between MBR and GPT partition style, etc. You can upgradeto it if needed.