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If the external hard drive is already apfs formatted after erasing how do I get it to be Mac OS extended? I fixed this but have a new question  

Why do I want to change it from apfs to Mac OS extended? 

expanding on the post from Ask Damien group. Computer is running slow. We are removing NFTS software that current external is using, copying data to new external, reformatting old external to Mac OS journaled  

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Now I’m having a problem with the old external HD. The finder won’t stop accessing the external. I’ve tried forcing the finder to quit. I’ve tried relaunching finder. Nothing is working. 

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This is pretty straightforward, once you know how. :) The reason you can't just use Erase and select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) is because the Drive is APFS. You need to click the Partition Button instead and change things there. If your an existing HD is formatted as a Mac OS Extended (Journaled), you can covert it to APFS from the Erase Section; you just can't do it the other way around. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) is the most universal and easiest to work with, as that Partition Type has been around forever. For example: 


See how APFS is available on a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) HD? You can go Mac OS Extended --> APFS via the Erase Section, just not the other way around. OK, let's begin. I'm currently on Big Sur, but the steps should be same though the screens might look a bit different.

Part 1

The first thing I want you to do, if you haven't already, is turn on the feature that allows you to see HDs and other "Mounted Devices" on your Mac Desktop. 

  • Open the Finder. The easiest way is to click the Smiley Face on your DockBar:


Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.31.00 PM.png

  • Then head to the Finder Menu and select Preferences:

Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.32.35 PM.png

  • Once there put checks next to these items and change the bottom to "Macintosh HD" if you want:

Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.33.29 PM.png

  • From there, just click the Red Circle in the upper left corner to apply the changes.

After you make this change, things like the Macintosh HD, any External Drives, Memory Cards from Cameras that are in a Card Reader and even portable DVD Disks will all appear on the Mac Desktop. This makes accessing them a breeze and is one of the things that has always puzzled me on why this feature isn't turned on by default. For example:


Screen Shot 2020-11-01 at 11.32.41 AM.png


Part 2

Now the fun begins! Let's get that new Hard Drive prepped for use on the Macintosh!!

  • Click your Applications Folder, then open Disk Utilities.
    • Head to  Applications Menu >> Utilities >> Disk Utilities.

Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.27.22 PM.png

  • This is where your Disk Utilities might look slightly different. Anyway, here is mine:

  • While in your Disk Utilities Module, please make note of any additional Hard Drives listed in the left column. Pay special attention to the Hard Drives listed under the "External" Section. For this process, it is much safer to only have one EHD Mounted / Listed!
  • Select your new HD that you want to change, make sure you pick the correct one:

  • Then click "Partition" up at the top and click the two arrows on the right where it says "Format." Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Do NOT choose Case-sensitive, the normal one is perfectly fine:

  • Give the new External HD a obvious name:

  • Then click Apply. A Pop-Up Box will appear asking permission, click Partition or OK, or Apply.

  • Let Disk Utilities do its thing...

  • When completed, you should see "Operation successful" at the bottom. Click Done.

  • Now the new External Hard Drive should appear on your desktop. If you want to verify things, Right-Click and select "Get Info." You should see the name of the HD and the Partition Type being Mac OS Extended (Journaled):

  • Now you should be able to move a simple file to the new drive as a test and be able to read that file.

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I’m really nervous for the old HD now. I can’t get finder to stop reading it. It’s been reading for the past hour and I can’t force quit finder. I don’t want to force eject the HD in fear of losing the data I have not copied yet. 

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Now, the next step is the most critical one, and that is COPYING YOUR IMAGES FROM YOUR EHD THAT IS PARTITIONED AS NTFS!! The second most important part, is to leave the computer ALONE WHEN TRANSFERRING YOUR FILES!

No e-mail, no Netflix, no Facebook, no Web Browsing, Pinterest, etc. I'd actually close out all programs and such and get your computer down to a basic level. We want 100% of your computer's attention being dedicated to this data transfer. If something were to happen and you get an error message, we can always cancel the data transfer and try again. This is why we COPY and not Click-and-Drag. Doing it that way is deleting the source file as it moves the file. There isn't an "Undo" in that case, which would be bad if that were to happen and you didn't have another backup source. :D

  • I want you to open that NTFS Drive, and use the Keyboard Shortcut, Command Key + A.  This should highlight all the files. Then Right-Click and select COPY.

  • Open the New External HD and Right-Click and select Paste. There should be a number of files next to the word Paste. In my example, I have 7 main root folders on my External HD. 

  • After the data transfer is complete, verify access to the files on the new drive. Randomly spot check files. THEN after you are 110% sure you have everything, follow the same steps on the NTFS EHD and convert it to Mac OS Extended (Journaled).


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11 minutes ago, Jessv said:

I’m really nervous for the old HD now. I can’t get finder to stop reading it. It’s been reading for the past hour and I can’t force quit finder. I don’t want to force eject the HD in fear of losing the data I have not copied yet. 

Yes, you should be. I will bet that Translation Program is getting in the way. By default, you should be able to READ a NTFS Drive, just not write to it. You might have to reboot your computer then remove that blasted software. Then try my steps above.

What you could also do is just try 1 or 2 files from the NTFS Drive to see if they copy over.

I wish I got to you before your friend telling you to use that Translation Software. That was terrible advice. I'm not going to sugar-coat things, you are in a really fucked-up situation and could lose everything. The more I think about it, let's try just a few simple files that you can afford to lose.

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I can’t copy anything from the old yet unfortunately because finder is accessing it. It’s been making read sounds and spinning for the past hour and I can’t get finder to stop accessing it. So I’m stuck with where to go from here.
So it’s safe to just reboot while the finder is accessing the HD? I’m so nervous I’m going to lose the data on that thing. 

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Sounds like you don't have a choice. Reading a drive is a lot less painful than when writing to a drive if it loses power. I'd do a Shutdown.

I want that NTFS Software REMOVED. Deleted!! Kill-Kill-Kill!!! Not just closed.

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I'm so used to Thunderbolt 3 Speeds, WHICH ARE WAAAAAAAAY FASTER THAN USB 3.0, that I forgotten how long it takes doing what you are doing over USB connections. Your 2 hours would be like 20-30 minutes if you had Thunderbolt Drives. :)

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Yeah, prices have increased. This is due to the Chip Shortage that's still ongoing, Import Tariffs on Electronics from China, and overall Inflation. My 12TB TB3 Drive was around $700 when I bought it, but there is a 18TB Available now for less than $1000.

I'm starting to get a little low on space, and am thinking about going the NAS Route with 10gbps Ethernet, but I will do that with the next computer. Chances are I will build my own NAS Unit, or go with a Synology Model at some point. We shall see. I'm not shooting Professionally anymore so it's not like I'm going to eat up the remaining 5TB of data anytime soon.

How's that data transfer going? You good?

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Nice! I wish I had the patience to learn more about computers. I find it interesting though! 
data transferred, I took a nap. 
going to reformat the other external. 

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