Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet

How To Change Your NTFS Hard Drive to Fat32

For some applications or uses , It is necessary to change the formatting on a hard drive to Fat32. This tutorial will help guide you to achieving this. I will be showing you how to do this by creating a partion on my drive and then formatting it.

If you would like to know how to create a partition , click on the following link to go to that tutorial. You do not need to format the drive after you have shrunk it , as you will only need to delete this partition again later.

How to Partition a Hard Drive in Windows

Before we get started , please read the following precautions and information.

  1. Fat32 cannot hold any continuous file over 4Gb.
  2. Security features available in NTFS format like permissions are not available in FAT32.
  3. Remember to remove/backup any data from the drive you wish to convert to fat32 as it will be lost when formatting.
  4. If the process is interrupted (power outage or system crash) just repeat all steps to complete the format.
Okay , now let's get started.

There are many ways this can be done. I prefer a little program called FAT32Formatter which is written by Tokiwa as this allows you to format a drive larger than 32Gb and because it's really easy to use.

Download Fat32Formatter HERE.
Original Release Page , click HERE

This program works on XP , 2000 , Vista 32 and Win7 32. It may work on other operating systems , but I tested it on these.

After you have downloaded fat32formatter , simply unzip it and run it. No installation is required.

Now run the program.

This is fat32formatter. On the top there is a drop down menu on which you can select the drive you wish to format. Now select the drive from the list.

Now on the graph , select the partition you want to format to fat32. It will turn green when selected.

The partition I created was very small (the green sliver on the far right of the bar). Double check that you have selected the correct drive and partition before continuing as all information on the drive or partition will be lost during this process.

Now select delete partition while the correct partition or drive is selected in green. After you have deleted the partition , the area selected will turn from green back to gray. The formatting options will be available once the empty space from the deleted partition is selected.

1) Select the size of the partition you want to create. The Max is automatically selected and should be fine for most users.

2) If required , select a name for the drive after it has been created. This step may be skipped.

2b) Check the Quick Format option if required. Not checking the quick format will mean that Fat32formatter checks the disk for bad sectors. This is not necessary if you know that the drive is good and if you have formatted the drive in the past. For a full explanation , click HERE to go to Microsoft's support page.

3) Click start to start the process.

This could take up to 10 hours depending on the size of the drive if "Quick Format" is not checked.

In Quick format this process should not take more than 20min.

Once this process has completed , your FAT32 Drive / Partition is ready for use.

If you found this tip useful , please remember to rate it.

Stephan Reichert

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how to remove write protection from sony hd-e1

PC & MAC use different file systems.
It sounds like your hard disk is formatted as NTFS. NTFS will allow a MAC to read from the disk, but not write to it. You need to re-format it using FAT32 (if your MAC is older) or exFAT(if your MAC is fairly new)..
FAT32 will allow a maximum partition size of 2TB(when formatted from a MAC) and a maximum single file size of 4GB.
exFAT will allow pretty much any file size.
NB:Formatting a hard drive DELETES ALL FILES on the hard drive, so backup whatever is important before you re-format it.
1. Open Applications > Utilities
2. Choose you hard drive from the list on the left
3. Choose the "Erase" tab and choose your desired format (FAT32/exFAT)
4. Type in a new name..Click "Erase"

Apr 10, 2014 | Sony HD-E1 1 TB 2.5" External Hard Drive -...

1 Answer

I brought a 250gb hdd for the xbox 360. The xbox 360 says that it is a unformatted storage device, the only thing i can do is formatted the hdd. but nothing happend I have formatted the thing 5 times. pleace help me.

Trying to format a large external USB or Firewire hard drive to the FAT32 file system? Can't do it? Only see an option for formatting the drive using the NTFS file format? Well if you answered yes any of those questions, then you're at the right place.
I was recently trying to format my 1 TB MyBook external hard drive in Windows XP to FAT32 instead of the overly forced-upon NTFS format. Why? Well because I needed to connect it to a NAS device and the NTFS permissions were causing the NAS not to be able to access the drive. Simple solution is to use FAT32, no security, no problems. Though it's sometimes useful to format a USB drive in NTFS format.
Also, formatting a drive in FAT or FAT32 will allow it to be read by other operating systems, such as Mac, Linux, and older versions of Windows such as Windows 98.
Unfortunately, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 will only format a removable drive in FAT32 if it's less than 32GB! Hmmm...that pretty much cuts out ALL modern external hard drives!
However, Windows can format a drive that is larger than 32GB in FAT32, but you have to use the DOS command prompt. However, if you have a drive that is 1TB or larger, you may still get an error saying "The volume is too big for FAT32".
In that case, you can use a free program called SwissKnife that will allow you to format an external hard drive that is up to 2TB in size. Let's go through both methods. In case you are having problems getting your external hard drive to show up in Windows, read my article on how to change the drive letter for an external drive in Windows.
Format external drive in FAT32 using DOSOpen a command window by going to Start, then Run and typing in CMD.

Now type in the following command at the prompt:

format /FS:FAT32 X:
Replace the letter X with the letter of your external hard drive in Windows. Windows will go ahead and begin formatting the drive in FAT32!

Format external hard drive in FAT32 using SwissKnifeSwissKnife is a nifty little program that is completely free and that you can use to format many types of external drives such as USB, Firewire, PCMIA, SATA and SCSI. You can also use it to create partitions on an external hard drive and it formats faster than Windows.

So next time you want to format a hard drive in FAT32 and Windows only gives you an option for NTFS, make sure to follow one of the two method mentioned above. Enjoy!

Mar 02, 2011 | Microsoft 20GB Hard Drive for Xbox 360

1 Answer

My macbook recognizes hard drive fine but no other devices will. I'm wanting to run the hard drive through either PS3 or a Cyclone HDMI adapter so i can watch my movies on my tv, i've formatted the drive to FAT32 but still no joy. My friends hard drive (also iomega and FAT32) is recognised straight away by both devices.

You may need to change the partition map scheme. I imagine it is using the GUID partition and should be the Master Boot Record. The best way to do this is to select the drive in Disk Utility, then choose the Partition tab. Change the Current partition to one, click on the options button, choose Master Boot Record (MBR) then click OK. Then on the format drop-down menu change the format to Free Space, then click Apply and OK. Then the drive is ready to format with FAT32 that your PS3, etc. can recognize. To do this click on the Erase tab, choose FAT32 in the Format drop-down menu, name the drive, click apply and OK. The drive should now work cross-platform on Macs, PCs, and media devices. Please let me know if you have any questions.


Gene Gilbert

Jan 20, 2011 | Iomega Computers & Internet

1 Answer

Hello, my Iomega 34579 1 TB USB 20 Hard Drive was working ok in my MAC but I've plugged it into my pc and it does'nt work, what do I have to do?

You probably formatted it as HFS+ to work with your Mac. Windows cannot do anything with that format. If you are wanting to use the drive with both Windows and Mac, you are going to have to format the drive as FAT32. There is a 4GB per file size limitation with FAT32. Otherwise there isn't anything that you can do.
To format your drive as FAT32 with a Mac OS X, Version 10.4 and above:
1. Make sure you have copied any needed files to another location. 2. Select Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility
In the left hand column, click on the drive icon for the Iomega drive or disk.
Make sure you click on the high level orange drive icon, not the second level volume icon.
3. Select the Partition tab. 4. Change Volume Scheme from Current to 1 Partition. 5. Click on the Options button. 6. Select Master Boot Record as the partition type. 7. Click the Format drop-down menu and select MS-DOS File System as the format type. 8. Click OK. 9. Click the Partition button

Dec 08, 2010 | Iomega 34579 1 TB USB 20 Hard Drive

1 Answer

Hello, I bought WD My Book Essential 1 TB but whenever i connect it to my Samsung DVD player it doesn't get recognized. Any help? Thanks

Most probably the format of your hard drive is NTFS. Samsung DVD players only recognize FAT32 formats. If you have the patience and resources try to change the format of your hard drive to FAT32. Better yet since it is a 1TB try to create a partition one NTFS and one FAT32 because FAT32 cannot go beyond 4GB for files.

Hope this helps.

Jul 30, 2010 | Western Digital Passport WDXML800UE...

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