This is another one of those “Andrew is an idiot” posts that I’m sharing with the world in case someone else comes across this problem with an obvious solution.

I’m in the process of migrating from my MacBook Pro back to Windows for a variety of reasons I won’t get into here. This means transferring a bunch of information I’ve been keeping on external drives formatted for Mac to my Windows computer.

So I went into Disk Utility on the Mac and reformatted one of my external drives as ExFat instead of MacOS Journaled. A drive formatted for ExFat can be read by both Windows and MacOS, so that’s what you need if you’re doing a big transfer.

I then spent the better part of the day copying and pasting stuff from one external drive on the Mac to the new one and let the copying and pasting run in the background. I have about 2TB of stuff sitting on those external drives so it took the better chunk of the day checking on it off and on.

This morning everything was transferred and good to go, so I plugged the drive into my Windows machine.

Nothing happened.

Weird. I tried connecting the hard drive directly to my computer rather than using a USB hub. Still nothing happened. I tried restarting my Windows laptop, but that didn’t fix it either.

So I plugged the drive back into my MacBook, did a double tap to bring up the properties, and sure enough the damned drive was formatted MacOS Journaled.

Now I could’ve sworn I formatted this thing as ExFat, but I learned a lesson. Always double check before you do a big data transfer. I formatted the drive again, triple checking that it was ExFat this time, and now I’ll be spending another day copying and pasting things in the background.

Lesson learned. Always double check.