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Formatting the external LaCie hard drives

November 23, 2010 by Sue Weier

Your LaCie drive should be formatted as FAT32 when you check it out from the InfoLab.   See the table below for information about each type of format.  Below the table are instructions for formatting the drive from a Mac or Windows computer.

Note that when you use the drive in Windows, you should use both of the USB cables.  One USB cable transfers the files, the other provides power to the device.

Pro: Mac OS & Windows can read and save on the drive
Con: Files must be smaller than 4 GB in size.

Pro: Files can be larger than 4 GB in size.
Con: Mac OS can not save to the drive.  The drive can be read in Mac OS, and files copied off the drive.

Mac OS:
Pro: Files can be larger than 4 GB in size.
Con: The drive can only be used on Mac OS.  The drive will not even appear on a Windows computer.

Formatting instructions

To format the LaCie drive in Mac OS:

  1. From the hard drive of your Mac, open Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Administrator (or Disk Utility)
  2. Click on the LaCie drive in the left column
  3. Click on Erase
  4. Select a format, based on the table above:
  5. Use FAT if you want FAT32 formatting and the ability to use the drive on Mac OS and Windows.
  6. Use Mac OS Extended to use the drive on Mac OS.
  7. Provide a name for the drive if desired
  8. Click Erase
  9. Click Erase again when asked to confirm
  10. If you are asked if the drive should be used for Time Machine, click Don't Use


To format the LaCie drive in Windows: (remember to use both USB cables)

  1. In My Computer, right click on the LaCie drive.
  2. Click Format
  3. Change the File System dropdown menu
  4. Use NTFS to use the drive on Windows, without a file size limitation.  The other file system choice is exFAT.  This format is not the same as FAT32 or FAT.  exFAT drives can not be read in Mac OS.
  5. Click Start.
  6. Click OK when asked to confirm the format request.
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