Can a My Book Essential for Windows be reformatted to be used on a Mac?

My boyfriend has a My Book Essential, USB 2.0, 1 T for Windows. He wants to use it on his new Mac (Mac only, not Mac and Windows), and he has followed every step possible to reformat it, update the firmware and remove the virtual disk. After following every WD website’s recommendation, drive doesn’t work properly: it’s too slow to transfer information (read and write), even though the same disk works really fast when formatted NTFS.

Is it possible to reformat this My Book Essential to be used on a Mac or isn’t it just not possible?

I had the same problem with the Western Digital My Book Essential 1TB External Drive that I bought. It kept failing when I tried to reformat it for my Mac as Mac Extended (journaled). I was ready to return the drive because it was so frustrating! 

I called WD customer support and they walked me through it over the phone: 

This is what worked perfectly: 

Use the Apple Disk utility software that comes with your Mac. 

PARTITION your Mac as 1 Partition and while you are in that same window, SELECT OPTIONS. 

THIS IS THE KEY: There are 3 radio buttons in the popup window for formatting options. The drive was preset as the bottom button PC formatting and you have to chose the middle button which is for Mac. 

Click apply and finish formatting your drive. Works perfectly. 

One other thing, it is a good idea not to have any applications running when you format the drive. 

Hope this helps.

Thank you for your answer. We had done that already, only difference is that we chose GUID partition table (first option) instead of Apple Partition Map (second option), since the GUID partition table is the one recommended by Apple for Intel based computers. Even after doing that, the disk doesn’t behave properly when formatted for Mac, although it works perfectly when formatted for PC. Any further ideas?

I am fresh out of ideas! I would try to sell this one and get another one for MAC. Maybe someone else out here might add some advice for ya!

After formatting the drive, I ran a drive test. It says that the volume header needs minor repairs. The speed of the drive is 2 MB/2 at the most when copying to the drive. That means that 100 MB need nearly 16 hours to be copied to the disk.

I did some homework for you. You have a bigger problem than I thought! See below!

I have found out how to repair the startup disk using the  OSX install disk. For anyone who needs to know here’s a  copy of the Apple Help Article:

Testing and repairing your startup disk
If you have problems with your startup disk, you can use Disk Utility to test it for errors
and repair it. To repair your disk, you must start up from another disk, such as your
Install Mac OS X disc.
You may be able to test your startup disk without starting up from another disk. Open
Disk Utility, select your startup disk, and click First Aid. If the Verify Disk button is
available, click it to test your disk. You need to start up from another disk only if Disk
Utility finds errors or if the Verify Disk button is dimmed. When testing your startup disk,
Disk Utility may report errors when there are none. Starting up from another disk and
then running Disk Utility gives more accurate results.
You can always test and repair disk permissions on your startup disk without starting up
from another disk.

  1. Start up your computer using another disk.
    To use the Install Mac OS X disc, insert the disc and restart your computer
    holding down the Option key, then select the Install Mac OS X disc and click the
  2. Open Disk Utility.
    If you’re using the Mac OS X Install disk, follow the onscreen instructions until the
    menu bar appears with the Utilities menu in it., and then choose Utilities > Open
    Disk Utility.
  3. Select the startup disk in the list of disks and volumes, then click First Aid.
  4. Check the S.M.A.R.T. Status at the bottom of the window. If you can’t see it, be
    sure you selected the  hard disk your volume is on, and not the volume itself.
  5. If the S.M.A.R.T. Status is “About to Fail,” back up your files on the disk as soon
    as possible and replace the disk.
  6. If the S.M.A.R.T. Status is “Verified” or “Not supported,” click Repair Disk to repair
    the disk.
    If Disk Utility tells you to look for links to corrupt files in the DamagedFiles directory, two
    or more files occupy the same space on your hard disk and at least one of them is likely
    to be corrupt. Examine each affected file in the DamagedFiles folder, which at the toplevel
    of the affected disk. If you can replace it or recreate the file, delete it. If it contains
    necessary information, open it and examine its data to make sure it has not been
    If Disk Utility cannot repair your disk or reports “The underlying task reported failure,” try
    to repair the disk again. If that doesn’t work, back up as much of your data as possible,
    reformat your disk, reinstall Mac OS X, and restore your backed up data. If you continue
    to have problems with your disk, it may be physically damaged and need to be replaced.
    See an authorized Apple dealer for more information.



Thank you for this information. The S.M.A.R.T. status is “Not supported” and it remains like that after the Disk Utility successfully “repairs” the disk. Should I be trying another kind of software?