I have a 160GB external hard drive connected via USB I pulled it from a windows pc to MacBook running MacOS High Sierra, I want to format the hard drive to a file system that should work with Windows, MacOS and Linux operating system.

The hard drive is currently NTFS formatted, into 3 partition which I want to get rid of and just keep single partition.

I am just going to backup my media , doc, zips and tars

Any Help will be greatly appreciated.

  • You can add NTFS compatibility to both Linux and macOS thru 3rd party applications. However formatting the drive as exFAT might be simpler but you may lose some of the advanced features of modern file systems provided with each platform. Depends on your use case. Storing media, just go with exFAT, backing up systems? Might want to consider other options... Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 13:42
  • Teetering on the edge of voting to close for being too broad. As @SteveChambers stated, there are many 3rd party apps to read non-native file systems. You also have a file system (FAT32) that can be read by all. The question is...what exactly do you want to do? There's no wrong answer and one method isn't better/worse than the others, but the choice has to be yours.
    – Allan
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 14:36
  • @SteveChambers my macbook do have read write capability for NTFS, but as the first word in question says I want to format hard drive and I want to get rid of partitions as well. Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 2:56
  • Understood, and you could reformat as NTFS but like @Allan mentioned your question verges on too broad. It would be helpful for you to include what you need to do with the drive. Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 14:41
  • @SteveChambers well. I have mentioned in the post that I want to keep backup, that wouldnt be accessed often. Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 4:13

1 Answer 1


Are there any data on the 160GB external? If yes back them up. Then format the drive in Exfat.

  • data is there but I dont care. Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 9:05

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