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Formatting FAT32 tips?

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July 30, 2007 10:19:08 AM

So I am formatting a few of my drives to FAT32 because there is a mac user on my network that needs to write to my drives. There are 4 250 gig drives in an external enclosure connected by firewire.

Any tips?

I have a few questions. I'm using Partition Magic to do this, but it doesn't allow my primary partition to exceed ~200gig and i'd like to use all 250. Whats up with that?

Third, whats the best cluster size? Should i change it in PM or leave it as the default?

Thanks in advance

More about : formatting fat32 tips

July 30, 2007 12:35:57 PM

If you use XP to create a partition, the maximum will be 32 GB.
I read that it will mount bigger volume than 32 GB (don't know the maximum).

FAT32 is quite old and restricted.

Your solution is to have more than 1 partition per drive
or try to find if a driver that will Read/Write.

Use Partition Magic and test your drive under XP by Reading/Writing files (lots or big).

I used Google "mac driver write ntfs":
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/how-to-read-and-write-ntfs-windows-partition-on-mac-os-x.html
http://www.ntfs-3g.org/

You can post back your result!
July 30, 2007 12:52:58 PM

I can format FAT32 up to 200 gigs with Partition Magic, but I want to use all of my 250 gigs obviously. When I got the drives they were formatted for FAT32 using all the space of each drive(250 gigs X 4 drives).

Also, I've been getting a "delayed write failed" error and never got it when i had the drives as FAT32, could be ironic, but i've read elsewhere that others have this problem with externals and ntfs...
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July 30, 2007 1:21:26 PM

well i figured out the 200 gig problem...i created to partitions on the drive and then "merged" them with partition magic. Why it wouldn't let me just make one big partition is beyond me...
July 30, 2007 2:15:51 PM

Fat32 is limited to 32gigs thats why.
July 30, 2007 2:25:36 PM

not true...its limited to 32 gigs IF formatted from XP...I'm not using XP to format, im using Partition Magic and yes I definitely have a 250gig FAT32 drive set up...
July 30, 2007 3:18:53 PM

Theoritically speaking FAT32 can support up to 2^32 sectors, IOW 2TB if each sector is 512bytes and the max file size is 4GB. Depending on the program you use to format the partition it can limit the maximum size of the partition (like XP limits to 32GB). I haven't used Partition Magic for a long time so I'm not so sure, have u tried format the partition into extended partition yet (as you don't use those drive for OS anyway)? Or format from your Mac (I don't have one so I don't know). I think you can also ask Norton, PM's author, for help.
About those ntfs writers for *nix I've only used them on Linux: NTFS-3G with FUSE runs about one third the speed of windows (as it's a library that runs in user mode), the kernel driver can only read (for now) but as fast as windows' one.

PS: About cluster size, the bigger it is the more space will be wasted (as a 1byte file also takes up one cluster). But if your files are mostly large file then it doesn't matter much.
July 30, 2007 5:59:54 PM

But if the number of clusters goes too high, utility programs (eg. Scandisk) have problems and crash/corrupt the drive. Also the FAT gets VERY large.

Mike.
!