Format large HDD as FAT32 ?!!?

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
23 answers Last reply
More about format large fat32
  1. The only way I know of to fix this is to partition the drive into multiple 32GB partitions.

    --
    br3nd064
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. hope you realize that with fat32 you will not be able to have file's that are 4GB+ in size
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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.....
  11. 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".
  12. 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).
  13. Why not use ext2 instead? You can use it inside windows with the ext2 driver.
  14. FAT32 has a 2T limit, not 32G. :sarcastic: FAT12 has the 32G limit.

    Read and learn: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table
  15. 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)
  16. Hey what about formatting it using linux if it will do larger than 32GB. Then exit and use it for what ever?
    Maybe try this free tool...http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Hard-Disk-Utils/HDD-Low-Level-Format-Tool.shtml
    Hope this helps.
  17. 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.
  18. @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...
  19. 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.
  20. format to fat32 in less than 5 seconds and MUCH MUCH faster than cmd / windows command promt!

    read and get the software here
    http://www.pendriveapps.com/format-fat32-larger-than-32gb/

    look at windows allocation table for fat32 here
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/140365

    anyway, the software will choose for you and the allocation table chosen is CORRECT.
  21. 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
  22. to format external hdd with size larger than 32 gb download GUIFORMAT from http://www.pendriveapps.com/format-fat32-larger-than-32gb/. Connect the external HDD and install the software run it to format HDD upto size 2TB in FAT32 format. Enjoy.
  23. Fat32 Format is a Portable GUI tool that allows you to Format a drive as Fat32 even if the volume is larger than the 32GB limit imposed by Windows. By default, Windows XP won't let you format a volume bigger than 32GB with FAT32. The Fat32 Format Utility easily works around this limitation and enables you to format a device up to 2TB in size. Useful for formatting large external USB Hard Drives as Fat32 that cannot be formatted using default Windows format tools.


    Format larger than 32GB – Fat32 Format


    Extracted Size: 72KB

    Authors Website: Fat32 Format

    License: Freeware

    Download: You can get this Fat32 Format Tool HERE
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