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About File System Formats

Mac Users

You can customize the storage device by reformatting and/or partitioning it with separate file system formats. For optimal performance in Mac OS environments, format and partition the storage device as one large Mac OS Extended volume.

Mac OS Extended (HFS+): Mac OS Extended refers to the file system used by Mac OS X. HFS+ represents an optimization of the older HFS file system by using hard disk space more efficiently. With HFS+, you are no longer limited by block size.

FAT32: FAT32 is an older format with a maximum single file size limited to 4GB. Since performance is far from optimal, use FAT32 only if you are going to share your LaCie storage device between Mac and Windows computers.

See the table below for a comparison between HFS+ and FAT32.

Mac File System Formats
Use HFS+ if:
…you will be using the storage device on Macs only. Performance is far superior when compared to FAT32. HFS+ is NOT compatible with Windows.
Use FAT32 if:
…you will be using your storage device with both Windows and Mac computers.


Windows Users

FAT32: FAT is an acronym for File Allocation Table, which dates back to the beginnings of DOS programming. Originally, FAT was only 16 bits, but after the second release of Windows 95 it was upgraded to 32 bits, hence the name FAT32.

FAT32 is supported by Windows 7 and Windows 8 but the volume size is limited to 32GB and the individual file size is limited to 4GB.

Technical info: FAT32 can reduce the performance of your LaCie product.

NTFS: This acronym stands for New Technology File System, and it is the native file system for Windows 7 and Windows 8. NTFS offers several features that are not available with FAT32: file compression, encryption, permissions, auditing, and mirroring drives. The minimum supported volume size for NTFS is 10MB with a maximum of 2TB when initialized in the MBR format. For greater flexibility, use the GPT format with NTFS to remove limits on file and partition sizes. Volumes created in NTFS are native read and write for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Mac OS X 10.5 or higher can read and write to the NTFS partitions with the help of third-party drivers.

See the table below for a comparison of NTFS and FAT32.

Windows File System Formats
Use NTFS if:
…you will be using the storage device only with Windows 7 and Windows 8. NTFS performance is significantly better than FAT32. This file system is also compatible in read-only mode with Mac OS 10.3 and higher.
Use FAT32 if:
…you will be using your storage device with both Windows and Mac computers. Maximum single file size is limited to 4GB and performance if far from optimal.


Formatting Instructions

The steps listed below will help you to format and partition a storage device. For more information on choosing the optimal file format, refer to About File System Formats.

Caution: Formatting will erase everything on the storage device. LaCie highly recommends that you back up all data on your storage device before performing the steps below. LaCie is not responsible for any data lost due to formatting, partitioning, or using a LaCie storage device.

Important Info: Formatting the LaCie partition will delete the included User Manual and utilities. Copy all data, including documentation and software from the LaCie partition, before formatting your storage device. User Manuals and select software may also be downloaded from

Note: Refer to your operating system's documentation for more information on formatting and partitioning your storage device.


Windows Users

  1. Make sure the storage device is connected to and mounted on the computer.
  2. Right-click on Computer and choose Manage. From the Manage window select Disk Management.
  3. From the list of storage devices in the middle of the Disk Management window, locate your LaCie device.
  4. By default, a partition is already created on the device with LaCie software utilities. Follow your operating system instructions to reset the existing partition.
  5. To create a new partition, select New Simple Volume. Follow the on-screen instructions when the New Simple Volume Wizard appears.

Mac Users

  1. Make sure the storage device is connected to and mounted on the computer.
  2. Select Utilities from the Go menu in the Finder menu bar.
  3. In the Utilities folder, double-click Disk Utility.

    Disk Utility will display the message Select a disk, volume, or image. All connected storage devices, partitions, or disk images will be displayed in this column. Storage devices in this column may have multiple listings. The top name is the name of the physical device's manufacturer, and includes the formatted capacity.

  4. Select the storage device in the left-hand column.
  5. Click the Erase tab.
  6. Choose a format from the drop-down window. See About File System Formats for more information on choosing a file format.
  7. Give the volume a name.
  8. Click Erase… and confirm your selection in the popup window.
© LaCie 2022 Last modified : Jun 06, 2014