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Format large HDD as FAT32 ?!!?

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August 20, 2008 12:03:29 PM

Hi,

I have a HDD of 250GB with one primary partition on it (also 250GB in size) which I'd like format in FAT32 because it's way more universal than NTFS. No windows can only format drives up to 32GB in FAT32, so does anyone know how to fix this?

Cheers

More about : format large hdd fat32

August 20, 2008 1:05:28 PM

The only way I know of to fix this is to partition the drive into multiple 32GB partitions.

--
br3nd064
a b G Storage
August 20, 2008 1:34:07 PM

XP only allows formatting FAT32 to 32 GB. There are other options for formatting it as larger than 32 GB. Look at this knowledge base article from MS: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314463
Related resources
August 20, 2008 1:45:36 PM

Use floppy drive to boot your system or if u don't have one try with bootable usb flash drive.
Try with win98 startup disk and use fdisk.exe to create partition.
Faulty the fdisk utility will display wrong partition size (maybe negative) but thats ok. Reboot and again with the same startup disk run format.exe
After an hour or 2 you are done.
Don't worry about wrong partition or format numbers win98 reports.
Last boot normaly to windows and u will have your 250GB drive FAT32 ready.
Maybe u need to assign a drive letter from "computer management" "disk managment".
Hope this helps.
August 20, 2008 1:52:26 PM

hope you realize that with fat32 you will not be able to have file's that are 4GB+ in size
August 20, 2008 2:09:11 PM

captaincharisma said:
hope you realize that with fat32 you will not be able to have file's that are 4GB+ in size

I think not.

OP: what does "way more universal" mean?
August 20, 2008 2:20:30 PM

there is a way to format large hard drives as FAT32, but i'm not sure how. i know it's possible though. i bought a 500GB external drive and it was formatted as FAT32 originally.
August 20, 2008 2:24:38 PM

kaison_gr said:
Use floppy drive to boot your system or if u don't have one try with bootable usb flash drive.
Try with win98 startup disk and use fdisk.exe to create partition.
Faulty the fdisk utility will display wrong partition size (maybe negative) but thats ok. Reboot and again with the same startup disk run format.exe
After an hour or 2 you are done.
Don't worry about wrong partition or format numbers win98 reports.
Last boot normaly to windows and u will have your 250GB drive FAT32 ready.
Maybe u need to assign a drive letter from "computer management" "disk managment".
Hope this helps.


Thanks for the input, kaison. However I have not told the entire 'story' about this drive. In the past it was a drive in my PC and now I want to use it as USB drive. In the beginning it had one NTFS partition (for the OS) and one FAT32 partition. With Partition Magic I was able to repartition the whole drive to the status as I reported in my original post, without losing a single file on it.
Now the drive works fine and I could remove all files to empty it, but I want a very clean erase so I'd like to format it. I guess with FDISK you can only format if create a new partition too, so that's not what I want to do. FORMAT however looks good to me, but the problem is I can't find any application that runs in DOS, only Windows versions.

@ russki: FAT32 is 'way more universal' because I can run on Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix,... NTFS sucks because Windows is the only one that can read and write it properly.
August 20, 2008 2:29:03 PM

well hope you don't plan to rip 4-8GB dvd's on there cause fat32won't let you because ofthe limit. NTFS may only be for windows but it is way better than fat32
August 20, 2008 5:13:54 PM

captaincharisma said:
well hope you don't plan to rip 4-8GB dvd's on there cause fat32won't let you because ofthe limit. NTFS may only be for windows but it is way better than fat32


I've already made images of +4GB DVD's in the past on a FAT32 drive and there was no problem with it. This because every GOOD image making utility offers the possibility to split the image in parts of 4GB and the virtual drive has no problems with mounting them it either.
a b G Storage
August 20, 2008 5:51:13 PM

Also FAT32 format gets fragmented alot faster than NTFS and takes longer to defrag.
Linux flavors have NTFS support and work well I've used Mandrake with no problems for a couple years on an internal drive. Never tried it on the USB with Linux, which might be the problem.
Don't the new Macs have NTFS support under Tiger? I alway hear Mac people saying how much better Tiger is than XP or Vista.....
August 20, 2008 6:03:54 PM

there are also several ways to get NTFS to work with OSX. a couple filesystems in MacFuse as well as a program called NTFS for Mac OSX, so it's not really a problem nor is it "better".
a b G Storage
August 20, 2008 6:07:07 PM

Partition Magic will probably do it (it's been a few years since I used it) or PartedMagic (a free bootable Linux based partition editor) will definately do it (and a lot more).
August 20, 2008 6:28:27 PM

Why not use ext2 instead? You can use it inside windows with the ext2 driver.
August 20, 2008 8:39:06 PM

Thanks guys for all the replies, but I got the problem solved. Used FORMAT application on a bootable floppy created on a Windows 98 PC (XP made bootable floppies that could not run the DOS version of Format) and formatted the whole drive in FAT32

@ johnnyq1233: defragging has no large speed improvement unless you have a 15 year old drive. And even if you want to defrag, who cares about the speed, just do it at night and at regular times. Just admit, FAT32 is the best if you're formatting a USB HDD.
NTFS is just one of the stupid previleges of Windows, because let's face it, if a new format was required that could go beyond 2TB drives and handle files larger than 4GB, it would not have been very difficult to develop something that might have been called FAT64 that would run on all OS's just like FAT32.

@MrLinux: Do you have a Partition Magic that can format a +32GB in FAT32. I have PM 8.0 and in could not get it done (FAT32 was not in the options)
August 21, 2008 3:40:33 AM

DXRick said:
FAT32 has a 2T limit, not 32G. :sarcastic:  FAT12 has the 32G limit.

Read and learn: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table

The file system, yes, but Windows utilities won't format it for more than 32Gb... Except the older Win98 versions, where I think they do 127Gb.
a b G Storage
August 21, 2008 5:44:46 AM

@Nils...
The last version of Partition Magic I used was from before Symantec bought the company (don't remember the version), as I say a "few years back", it formated 80Gig drives to FAT32 without any problem...
Most products end-up as mutant-bloat-ware when Symentec get their hands on them; I now use PartedMagic for all partitioning and any formating that I can't do from within the OS...
August 21, 2008 5:26:10 PM

MrLinux said:
@Nils...
The last version of Partition Magic I used was from before Symantec bought the company (don't remember the version), as I say a "few years back", it formated 80Gig drives to FAT32 without any problem...
Most products end-up as mutant-bloat-ware when Symentec get their hands on them; I now use PartedMagic for all partitioning and any formating that I can't do from within the OS...


Did you format then on a Windows or a Linux platform? Because I guess Linux can still format large drives in FAT32.
October 8, 2011 3:44:35 AM

Nils said:
Hi,

I have a HDD of 250GB with one primary partition on it (also 250GB in size) which I'd like format in FAT32 because it's way more universal than NTFS. No windows can only format drives up to 32GB in FAT32, so does anyone know how to fix this?

Cheers



HI THERE, THIS IS THE EASIEST WAY THIS BLOKE DOES IT IN 30 SECONDS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKZQnDtr-mY
December 18, 2011 1:27:32 PM

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