Formatting WD Elements for Mac by Quick Workarounds

Trying to format WD Elements for Mac but failed? Find quick workarounds to formatting WD Elements for Mac from this page.


By Dervish / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Why do we format WD Elements for Mac?

Most WD Drives come formatted in the NTFS (Windows) or HFS+ (Mac) format. If you own a WD Elements drive in NTFS, it will be only readable but not writable on Mac. How frustrating it is! There is a common need to make WD Elements drives usable on both Windows and Mac so that you can transfer data between the two environments. To achieve this goal, you are supposed to format WD Elements for Mac to FAT32 or exFAT which is compatible on both Windows and Mac.

Format WD Elements failed on Mac, how to fix it?

However, when trying to format WD Elements for Mac, some users encounter such errors:

The drive cannot be dismounted

This error occurs when another program or service is actively using WD Elements, such as a file transfer to or from the drive, or security software scanning the drive for problems. You can fix the error in following ways:

● Close all obviously open programs or files.
● Boot your computer into Safe Boot.
● Temporarily disable any anti-virus and other security software running on your computer.
● Format the drive using another USB/FireWire/eSATA cable and on another computer if possible.

Not enough space on device for requested operation

If the WD Elements to be formatted contains a GPT partition, Disk Utility will produce the error: “MediaKit reports not enough space on device for requested operation. Operation failed...” To solve this problem, you have to erase the partition first and then format the drive with Disk Utility. You will get a prompt that erasing WD Elements will delete all data stored on it and cannot be undone.

When you suffer from WD external drive format failed on Mac, you must be wondering whether there are workarounds to formatting WD Elements for Mac. The answer is “Yes”.

Quick workarounds to formatting WD Elements for Mac

Connecting the WD Elements drive to a computer running Windows operating system, you will get quick workarounds to formatting WD Elements for Mac. Find efficient methods of WD external drive format for Mac here:

Note: Formatting will erase all data on the disk, please save important data by online backup or local backup beforehand.

Method 1: format WD Elements for Mac via Command Prompt

1. Hit Windows Key + X on your keyboard, and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.

2. Type diskpart and press Enter.

3. Type list disk and press Enter.

4. Type select disk # (ex: disk 2) to select the WD Elements drive to be formatted and press Enter. You may get indication from the size of the disk.

5. Type clean to remove all information on the drive and press Enter.

6. Type create partition primary to create a partition and press Enter.

7. Type format fs=exfat quick to format the partition as exFAT and press Enter.

8. Type assign letter=# (ex: letter=G) to assign a drive letter and press Enter.

9. Type exit and press Enter twice to exit Diskpart and Command Prompt continuously.

Command Prompt


Command Prompt is unable to format a partition over 32GB as FAT32. Due to the big capacity of WD Elements drives, you are recommended formatting them as exFAT.

Method 2: format WD Elements for Mac with a free format tool

AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard as a comprehensive partition manager can assist you in formatting WD Elements for Mac and it is free of Command Prompt’s limitation. Learn detailed steps below:

Step 1. Download, install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. Right click the WD Elements drive that you need to format and hit “Format Partition”. 

Format Partition

Step 3. Reset the partition label, file system and cluster size (smaller cluster size makes less wasting of disk space, and we usually recommend you use the default size if you don’t know which one is better) in the pop-up window. Select exFAT as file system here and click “OK” to confirm the changes.

Format Partition Settings

Step 4. Click “Apply” to view pending operations and then “Proceed” to commit the operations.

Format Partition Preview


● Before formatting a WD Elements external drive, you’d better back up all the important files and data because formatting will destroy all data. The free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard could help you create a backup for those data.
● Wait for the format process to be finished before you start a new task on your computer.
● “The volume is too big for FAT32” problem is solved in AOMEI Partition Assistant. You are able to format a 500GB, 1TB, 2TB WD Elements external drive to FAT32, thus making the drive readable and writable on Mac.
● If you want to use AOMEI Partition Assistant command lines to format WD Elements external drive as FAT32, you may upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.


To format WD Elements for Mac, FAT32 and exFAT are recommended file system because they are supported by both Windows and Mac. Two methods mentioned above apply to formatting WD Passport for Mac as well. However, AOMEI Partition Assistant is superior to Command Prompt as to FAT32 capacity requirement, let alone other powerful functions. You are capable of fixing the error of inaccessible boot device on Windows 10 SSD with AOMEI Partition Assistant. Give it a shot and you won’t regret!

Dervish · Staff Editor
Dervish is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; He is delicated to offering users easy and effecitve solutions for issuses related to disks and partitoins. In his spare time, he enjoy wathcning films, playing footable, traveling and so on.