Best portable hard drive for mac and windows

In this guide we list the best external hard drives with both traditional hard drives and faster and more expensive solid state drives.

Best external drives Reviews and buying advice | PCWorld

Still, the best external hard drives are also dependable and rugged, so you can safely store your data without worry. The best external drives will also be light enough to carry in your bag, with large capacities so that you can keep your data safe when travelling.

There's a huge range of external hard drives on offer, so we've put together this list of the best external hard drives to help you find the perfect one for your needs. Not only is your data kept protected from knocks and drops with the rugged shell, but it's also got bit AES security features and NFC Near Field Communication features as well. Essentially it allows you to unlock the drive to get to your files quickly and easily by tapping the supplied NFC card onto the drive's body.

Pretty neat! It is a good performer when it comes to data transfer speeds but doesn't come near the top of the leaderboard. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't reach the top speeds of solid state external drives, but for external hard drives based on traditional HDDs, this is the drive to consider. If you'd rather have an external hard drive that took advantage of solid state drive SSD speeds, then the Samsung Portable SSD T5 is definitely the best external hard drive for you.

Samsung has a brilliant reputation for external SSDs, thanks to products like the T3, and the T5 builds on its predecessor by adding a fast USB Type-C connection that ekes out every last drop of performance from the solid state drive inside. Of course, it's also backwards compatible with USB 3. It's expensive, but it's well worth the cash.

How to Format External Hard Drive for Mac & Windows (MS-Dos or ExFat?)

The Adata SD will suit those looking for a rugged storage device that can provide ample capacity without costing too much. Thanks to the solid state drive that resides in this external hard drive, it's a lot faster than external drives that use traditional spinning hard drives - so you're getting great transfer speeds as well as rugged protection. It also comes in capacities up to 1TB, so you don't have to worry about missing out on storage space just because it uses an SSD - this drive really does hit all the right notes. If you're looking for the absolute largest capacity external hard drive, then the WD My Book Duo 4TB is the one to get, offering a huge 4TB you can also get versions with up to 20TB of storage space over two hard drives.

If you don't mind sacrificing some of the ample storage space you can set the drives up in a RAID array, so you have file backups of your files should one of the drives die. This USB 3. Originally created to replace FAT16 File Allocation Table , it has since been used because it is compatible with modern and older systems. While its compatibility is a result of its long history, its file size and partition limitations really show its age. Even the filenames in FAT32 are limited, only allowing up to 8 characters.

Instead, it has very large file and partition size limits, like NTFS, but none of its extra features to maintain its svelte file system. Linux is also supported, but you will need to install appropriate software to take full advantage of it. It does work on the current-gen of gaming consoles, such as the PS4 and the Xbox One. Please see below on how to reformat your external hard drive on Mac and Windows.


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Step 2: If you have already written any data to the drive, back it up before proceeding to the next step. Step 3: In the Finder, choose Go, then choose Utilities. Alternatively, you can search in Spotlight for Disk Utility and click on it. Which hard drive format do you use? Let us know in the comments below! Click this link for more information. It's HardDriveWeek! The first time you plug in an external drive, Time Machine will ask if you want to use it as a backup drive. While you can customize backup options in System Preferences, such as asking Time Machine to exclude certain folders, there's no action required on your part if you're happy with the default settings.

The next time you plug in your drive, Time Machine will automatically set to work creating a backup. Unless your drive is never going to leave your home or office, you should also consider its physical durability. Rugged, waterproof drives are a good option not just for surfers and BMX riders, as their marketing seems to suggest, but also for people who are carrying their drives to and from school or work, where they might occasionally get spilled on or dropped on the floor.

Check out our favorite rugged drives.

Understanding Formats

Finally, you might want to consider how the drive will look when it's plugged into your Mac. Some drives come in a variety of colors. Many others feature copious amounts of aluminum and industrial-chic styling to match the design cues of your MacBook or iMac. We've selected a few of our favorite drives for Macs below; for more, check out our main list of best hard drives. You can also read our full list of hard drive reviews , as well as our top SSDs.

Certified waterproof and dustproof. Comes with USB 3. Cons: Warranty limited to two years. SSD option is still unreleased. Pros: Comes in a variety of large capacities. Three-year warranty. Cons: Requires external power adapter. Pros: Slick, faceted design.

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Solid-feeling aluminum enclosure. Useful LaCie Toolkit software handles backup and restore, as well as mirroring. On-the-mark performance. Cons: A little hefty. Toolkit utility requires a download. It's geared to macOS users, but it will please anyone with an eye for style in their gadgets. Pros: Fabric-covered enclosure. Small and light. Data protected by password and AES hardware encryption. Cons: Fabric cover a bit slippery to grip. Seagate Toolkit a separate download. Plus, a fabric coat adds appeal. Pros: Excellent performance. Includes USB 3. Android-, Mac-, and Windows-compatible.

Cons: While a comparable good per-gigabyte value, the drive itself is expensive. Pros: Excellent connectivity options and transfer speeds.

How to share an external hard drive between Mac and Windows

Solid build quality and attractive aluminum finish. Easy disassembly. Cooling fan can be disabled. No software required for Macs. Hardware RAID controller. Cons: Expensive.