How to format, password protect external hard drive for Mac & Windows PC usage?

Posted by Admin to Bitlocker for Mac on November 21th, 2017

How to format external hard drive for Mac and Windows PC usage?

1. Format external hard drive with FAT32/exFAT file system.

Although FAT32/exFAT file system is developed by Microsoft, but macOS also can read/write external hard drive with FAT32/exFAT file system.

2. Format external hard drive with NTFS file system.

Although NTFS file system is developed by Microsoft, but macOS can only read NTFS external hard drive and cannot write NTFS external hard drive, you need to install extra NTFS for Mac app if you want to write NTFS external hard drive on Mac.

How to encrypt/password protect external hard drive for Mac and Windows PC usage?

As far as we know, there are many cross platform encryption solutions (such as TrueCrypt), but BitLocker is more secure than other drive encryption software. Although Microsoft just developed and released Bitlocker for Windows and there's no Mac implementation, but with the help of M3 Bitlocker Loader for Mac, Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive can be readable on Mac.

Tutorial to encrypt/password protect external hard drive with Bitlocker on Windows

Step 1: Insert external hard drive to a Windows computer.

Windows 10 Professional/Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Professional/Enterprise, Windows 7 Ultimate/Enterprise, Windows Vista Ultimate/Enterprise, Windows Server 2008/2012 are available for Bitlocker drive encryption. If you only have Windows 7/8/10 Home edition, please refer to: How to enable Bitlocker in Windows 7/8/10 Home edition?

Step 2: Format external hard drive into FAT32/NTFS/exFAT file system. If there is data in external hard drive, please go to step 3.

Step 3: Right click external hard drive in My Computer or This PC and select "Turn on Bitlocker".

Step 4: On the "Choose How You Want To Unlock This Drive" window, choose "Use A Password To Unlock This Drive" option and then click Next.

Step 5: On the "How Do You Want To Store Your Recovery Key" window, click Save The Recovery Key To A File.

Step 6: In the "Save BitLocker Recovery Key As" window, choose a storage location and then click Save.

Step 7: On the "Are You Ready To Encrypt This Drive" window, click Start Encrypting.

Tutorial to encrypt/password protect external hard drive with Bitlocker on Mac

Step 1: Download and install M3 Bitlocker Loader for Mac.

Step 2: Insert an external hard drive into Mac computer.

Step 3: Launch M3 Bitlocker Loader for Mac.

Step 4: Click "Encrypt" button in toolbar.

M3 Bitlocker Loader for Mac

Step 5: Select the partition which you want to encrypt and click Encrypt.

Encrypt drive with M3 Bitlocker Loader for Mac

Step 6: Enter the password.

Step 7: Save the recovery key.

Step 8: Complete Bitlocker drive encryption.

Tutorial to read/write Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive on Mac

Step 1: Download, install and launch M3 Bitlocker Loader for Mac on your Mac computer.

M3 Bitlocker Loader for Mac

Step 2: Insert a Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive and then click "Unlock/Open" icon to continue.

Step 3: Enter the password (or 48-digit recovery key) to unlock Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive.

Unlock Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive on Mac

Step 4: After Bitlocker protected external hard drive is unlocked and mounted in read-write mode, we can copy, delete, transfer, edit files from Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive.

Read/Write Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive on Mac