How to reformat a backup drive

Macworld Australia Staff
6 January, 2013
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I am recently new to the world of Macs, having purchased an iMac about a month ago. I have also purchased a Seagate GoFlex Desk External Hard Drive, which I want to utilise as a backup drive and a drive to which I save graphics files. I went through the installation process for the Mac using the software on the disk.

When I try to back up to it I receive an error message: “The backup disk is not in Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Format, which is required.” I have been unable to find anything to assist me with this problem. How do I address this issue?

A further issue I have is with the mouse. When I am viewing emails I sometimes forget and tap the mouse. This results in the display being enlarged somewhat. How do I reverse this?

– Dallas Franklin

Welcome to the Mac world, Dallas. Yours is a common problem, as many external hard drives are still only formatted for Windows use. But it’s one which is easy to resolve by reformatting the drive.

Have a look at for instructions. In Step 2, you want to choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

Regarding your mouse zooming, you can turn this off by going to System Preferences > Mouse. Then, under the Point & Click tab, un-tick the ‘Smart Zoom’ option.


5 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Janine Taranto says:

    I am reformatting external hard drive to Mac os extended journaled format and it says it will take 2 days and 9 hrs. Should it take this long

  2. Macworld Australia Staff says:

    Hi Janine
    Dave Bullard was the author of that original post and he says it definitely shouldn’t take that long. His suggestion is that you should probably stop the process if you can and start again. Hope that helps.

  3. Moa says:

    Did you get any answers? I’m in the same situation and I can’t find any help! :( /Moa

  4. Moa says:

    with the seagate back up I mean..

  5. Macworld Australia Staff says:

    Hi Moa – did you see the reply in the comments? Dave Bullard wrote the original piece and his suggestion is to stop the process and start again, if you can.

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