How to Format a Drive or Partition with the HFS+ File System

This brief guide will show you how to use Disk Utility to format a drive or partition with the HFS+ file system.

If you’re formatting a USB drive (external hard drive or memory stick), memory card etc, make sure it’s plugged in. This tutorial will use a USB Thumb Drive as the example. Launch Disk Utility by selecting Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility. Select the drive you want to format from the list on the left. Important: Make sure to select the correct drive. You do notwant to format the incorrect one, as formatting will erase all the data on that drive.

Click the Erase tab, and from the Volume Format: list, select Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Give the drive a name (in my example I named it USB Thumbdrive). When you’re ready, click the Erase… button.

You’ll be prompted with a confirmation screen. Click Erase.

The status of the format will be shown in the bottom of the Disk Utility window.

Once completed, your drive might be listed as MS-DOS (FAT), and it may not be named correctly. Ignore that.

If you select the partition itself (under the drive in the left column) you may notice that the name isn’t “correct” either. Ignore that too.

Your drive will appear on your desktop, correctly named. If you get the info on that drive (select the drive and click Apple Key + i) you’ll see that it’s formatted as HFS+.

Comments [4]

  1. What does it serve to format in HFS? what's the difference between that and a regular MAC OS Extended format?

    Sorry…you guessed it I'm a newbie to macs.


  2. pls i want to know more about the formating system including laptop if possible you sent me manual or handout on it through my E-mail.


  3. I appreciate the guide thanks for posting.

    Just a note though: I realize you used a flash drive as an example, but theres no reason to reformat a drive under 4gb to HFS+. Leave it Fat32.

    Fat32: 4gb max file size limitation (on a single file), but read and writable on both Win/Mac.

    HFS+: no file size limitation, but only read/writeable on macs or windows with MacDrive software

    NTFS: no file size limitation, readable on both mac/win, but only writable on Mac.

    If there is a reason for reformatting a small drive to HFS, I'd love to know. Maybe the journaling feature of the file system?

  4. Hey guys can anyone tell me how to format the drive having os x files?

    I have imac with 500 gb hard disk, & i divided in to two partitions,

    one with 127 gb having only Mac os files,

    & another one is having my all data…..

    nw i want to format the drive containing mac os file system…..

    Whenever i use disk utility & choose that drive all the options in"'Erase" tab get disabled except "Erase free space"

    What to do guys?

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