How to get Windows to recognize an external hard drive formatted for Mac

I’ve had this external Western Digital Passport drive for over a year and at some point I connected it to my Mac and formatted it. Now, whenever I try to connect it to my PC laptop running Windows XP or Vista I get a little popup that says “Installing device driver software, click here for details” and then it says the disk is installed but for some reason it doesn’t show up anywhere! I go to My Computer and right click to refresh the view but the drive never shows up…

I got pretty frustrated after searching online for how to fix the WD Passport and get my computer to recognize it but nobody had the answer. When I called Western Digital a tech support guy from India answered and just said “your drive is broken because it is old” but I knew this was not the case, my computer could recognize it! Windows even showed it under device manager and said it was running fine! What a wasteful answer, I hate to think how many people just throw away their drives after a response like this even though there is nothing wrong with the product :(

So anyways, I persevered and found the answer. If you have an external hard drive, any drive, that was formatted on your Mac and now you want to use it on your PC just do the following:

  1. Right click on Computer (windows vista) or My Computer and select “Manage” as shown above
  2. A new window will popup called “Computer Management” and you will click Storage > Disk Management
  3. Now you can see your different drives! Note that some of them are for your actual computer… be careful not to mess with these. I could tell which one I wanted to convert back to Windows because it had no Volume name and the size matched what I knew was the correct size of the drive
  4. Right click on the external drive and click “Delete Volume” then you will see it turn black below. Right click again and choose “Format” then follow the instructions.

Keep in mind the volume will now only work for Windows and if you take it back to your Mac and format there you’ll have the same problem again. This is a quick and easy fix that should be a LOT easier and intuitive (and is easier on a Mac). Hope this helps you salvage your hard drive!