How to Format External Hard Drive to FAT32 in Windows

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 some 3rd party programs that will allow you to format an external hard drive with the larger size. Let’s go through the different 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 in FAT32 using Drive-Specific Tools

Before we get into using the command prompt and other third-party programs, it’s worth mentioning that some of the hard drive manufacturers have created their own tools for converting a drive which is larger than 32 GB to FAT32. Here is a list:

Seagate DiscWizard 

Western Digital FAT32 Formatting Tool

Format External Hard Drive in FAT32 using DOS

Open a command window by going to Start, then Run and typing in CMD.

command prompt

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 fat32

There seems to also be an issue when using the command line besides the size limit problem. Namely, it can take forever to format the hard drive for some users. Not sure why, but I’ve seen it enough times and it can be very frustrating to wait 5 hours and then have the whole format fail. If the format is taking longer than an hour, just cancel it and try one of the methods below first.

Format in FAT32 using Verbatim SmartDisk FAT32 Utility

There is a free utility called Verbatim FAT32 Tool which will allow you to convert your hard drive to FAT32 in seconds. I use to recommend a program called SwissKnife, which I mention below, but it’s no longer free and no one really needs to spend $10 to convert a hard drive from NTFS to FAT32. There are lots of other free tools and this Verbatim one is one of the better ones.

Just download it, unzip it and run the tool. It’s a standalone EXE file, so you don’t even have to install it on your system. Choose the drive you want to format, give it a Volume name and click Format Drive!

verbatim smartdisk

It’s a painfully simple program to use and it works really well. If you don’t even want to bother with the command prompt, just download this free tool and use it.

Format in FAT32 using FAT32Format

FAT32Format is another free tool you can use to get the job done. Choose the drive, the allocation unit size, give the volume a label, choose whether you want to do a quick format or not and then click Start.

fat32format

 

I would suggest not checking Quick Format so that way the entire drive is completely overwritten and you’re starting from scratch. I’ve tried this program and it was able to convert my 1TB hard drive to FAT32 without any issues. It did take longer than Verbatim, but I didn’t choose Quick Format, which probably would have been faster.

Format in FAT32 using FAT32Formatter

Another option is the FAT32Formatter program from Tokiwa. Using this program, you can see the different partitions on the hard disk and format just one partition to FAT32 instead of the whole drive. It’s probably best not to have a mix of NTFS and FAT32 partitions on one drive, but you can do it if you want or if you need to for some reason. This program will allow you to do that.

fat32formatter

Format in FAT32 using SwissKnife

SwissKnife is a nifty little program that used to be free, but not anymore, which you can use to format many types of external drives such as USB, Firewire, PCMIA, SATA and SCSI. The link points to the CNET page, which still has the older free version you can download. You can also use it to create partitions on an external hard drive and it formats faster than Windows.

swissknife

With SwissKnife, you may run into an issue where after the conversion to FAT32, you are left with only a small percentage of the original disk size. For example, if you format a 1TB drive, you might perform the conversion and end up with only 500 MB of space. This can be fixed by first reformatting the drive in NTFS format by performing a quick format.

Once you format the entire drive using NTFS, make sure to view the available space in Explorer and that it matches the size of the hard drive. Once you do that, go ahead and use SwissKnife to perform the conversion to FAT32.

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 methods mentioned above. Enjoy!

Comments [319]

  1. Cool tutorial. I think partition magic software will do it much easily. What do you think?

  2. after near 2 hours format of a 1TB external HDD in DOS promt, computer promted awfuly: Volume is too high for FAT32 !!

    Who was said Bill Gates is clever?

  3. thanx, 2nd method worked a charm, i was worried i wouldnt be able to get my hard drive hooked up to x box 360, but all is now restored. now i just need to download all i lost. boooooooooooo

  4. Thanks a lot! I didn't know how to make windows give a letter to my external unformatted disk. Now it's done.

  5. I used swissknife to do the partion. it will only format 429mb of my 1tb drive, any suggestions?

  6. mine wont work says, this volume is write protected

  7. Yeah this swissknife thing will only format 400gb ish of my 1tb drive, anyone got any ideas?

  8. many thanks for your information. i been facing this problem for long time and always borrow a Win ME to do the format of FAT32. Now i can do it easily at home.

  9. mine is 160 GB hard disk extrenal … command prompt still told me it is too big !!!

    Tried the Swissknife option … each time i click on the USB H: (External drive in question), the program crashes …

    cant really understand ….

    on the other hand windows option only give me NTFS option …. any help guys…

    thanks

  10. I have the same problem as Brian Ferris.

    By dos – says too big ( after going through whole procedure !)

    and Swiss Knife hangs.

    I can't find any other way of trying to do this!

    I must add though that my disc was previously an NTFS fromatted disc – does this make a difference?

    Thanks for reading – many more thanks if you can help !

    Andy

  11. Check this link out i found guys, it just helped me split my 300g wd into two 139g fat32 partitions for my nas drive and it worked like a treat, Here is the link

    ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index.htm?fat32format.htm

    Those that get stuck basically just save the formatfat32 file to the C drive then go to command prompt type cd.. until it just says c: then type in this fat32format x: (x being the drive number you want to format), then press Y.

  12. Thanks that seems to work. And very fast! – How come it is so swift?

    Many thanks to everyone for helping me to feel normal again!

    Andy

  13. I tried the Swiss Knife as well, but I can only get 429 GB out of a 1TB External HDD, even if I do it in NFTS.

  14. Heh guys,
    Thanks for the life saving tip. I need my 640Gb volume in FAT32 to hook up to my satellite pvr that only accepts that format.
    For those who get the "you don't have enough priviledges" rigamarole when you try to format, before you double click the cmd.exe, just right-click the cmd.exe to get to the menu and select "execute as administrator".
    Then open a command windows and proceed as above.

    This works in Vista, I'm assuming it's valid for legacy versions too. :-))

  15. Oh and BTW. Give DOS time to work. It's veeerrrryyy sloooow but will get there.

  16. I had the same problem. I really tried to make something (everything, that here is written), but I could not reformat my external hard drive (WD-500 GB) to FAT32. Suddenly, absolutely unexpectedly I have found out a site and could make it, reformat my external hard drive to FAT32. It was to make easily, but has borrowed time.

    Here is the link
    http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/index.html

  17. Did anybody can give me the link for download swissknife ? thank you.

  18. Thank you so much for this, now I can use my huge ext hard drive with my PS3!

  19. Thanks for this valuable advice; after 'struggling' through all kinds of non-working solutions format my WD 1Tb as FAT32 so I could use it to browse photo's and watch video on my flatscreen (via USB); both the 'tokiwa' solution (post 18) and formatfat32 (post 11) did the job and incredibly fast too!

  20. I tried this with a 200 GB HD on Windows XP Pro x64…

    C:Documents and Settingsmark>format /FS:FAT32 f:

    The type of the file system is RAW.

    The new file system is FAT32.

    WARNING, ALL DATA ON NON-REMOVABLE DISK

    DRIVE F: WILL BE LOST!

    Proceed with Format (Y/N)? y

    Verifying 194466M

    [*** two or three hours later, I get this message… ***]

    The volume is too big for FAT32.

  21. Paul (#18) THANKX!!! i did it – after days of trying with dos and swiss i finealy did it!!!! thank you

  22. Found this link in another forum, posted by a guy asking the same question. It's to the Western Digital knowledge base entry "How do I format an external USB or FireWire hard drive as FAT32 in Windows?" WD offers a small utility that can convert the drive to a single FAT32 partition.

    http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/endus

    Quote:

    Western Digital has a Windows based utility that will reformat a Western Digital external USB or FireWire hard drive back to the factory default FAT32 partition. When run, this utility can only create a single FAT32 partition for the full capacity of the hard drive.

  23. Keep in mind that with a 1 TB disk formatted with FAT32 the smallest allocation on the disk will be 4 KB. Any smaller files will still take up 4 KB. So if you have lots of small files you are wasting disk space.

    FAT32 also has a limit of 65 K entries in a directory (FAT16 was 512 files).

  24. do u have any idea why i can't copy MKV files (about 4 G and up in size) on my FAT32 formated 1 T EXTERNAL HD ?

  25. Excellent tech tips on how to format an external drive that are easy to follow and actually work! You are to be commended!

  26. John FAT32 only excepts file of 4GB and less(NTSF any size), you need to split the MKV files down and if play on the PS3 it does not read MKV files, best 2 use MKV2VOB for this

  27. Hi,

    I started by formating using DOS and yes got the dreaded message after a few hours, hey got to try it for yourself. I have a 100 GB External HD that I used the Swissknife software to reformat and a 500 GB WD HD that I used the software that 'willfull' mentioned, so thank's for the tips, a great help.

  28. One of the downfalls of fat32, cant store files larger than 4gb on it. Sux and i dont think there is any way around it

  29. So… If I reformat my external hard drive, in either the cammand prompt way or with the swissknife program, I will lose everything on my external hardrive?!?! that's not cool.. 🙁

    If this is so, is there any way around this?

  30. You have saved my life.

    I have had to back up my data off my PS3 as it is borked. I was having a nightmare as my external HD was formatted to NTFS and i was believing my luck was out.

    Than You

    xxx

  31. John, as far as I know, it's a limitation of the FAT32 filing system. You need to keep your file size below 4gb or they won't appear.

    I can verify that I just used post #18's link and it worked beautifully to format a 1tb external hard drive to FAT32 for use with the PS3.

  32. @John, FAT32 will only support a filesize of 4Gb

  33. FAT32 Harddrives only support 4 Gig files and lower.

  34. People with problems with SwissKnife hanging. I had that same problem where SwissKnife would hang and then it gets an error. So for everyone that is having this problem, this is what I did that works. Hook the drive up to your computer, then find it in My Computer and right click it then go to Format, then NTFS and select (quick format). It should do it in just a min or two. Once this is done you can open up SwissKnife and format it with no problems. Hope this helps someone…

  35. ALRIGHT!!! LOOK HERE !!!!

    okay.. so.. I'll save everyone a lot of time!
    go to http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/index.html
    download the formatter (its a really small file anyways)
    Plug in your hardrive. (take off any files on your hardrive and save them to something else (computer or other hardrive, or whatever) since all data will be lost).
    Load the formatter program.
    Select your physical drive.
    Click the middle big rectangle box, then hit delete partition.
    Hit the big box again, then start.
    (It takes a looooonnnnngg time for it to reformat (overnigth for me), but I plugged it in to my XBOX 360 afterwards with an .AVI file, and it worked like a charm! Havn't tried it with MP4 file yet, but I'm sure it'll work. If not download a free converter on download.com and convert your files.) ENJOY!!!

  36. i tried using DOS but later they asked for "current volume label". mine is 320GB so how?

  37. MY 1000GB DRIVE IS NOW A 429GB DRIVE THANKS TO TRYING TO FORMAT IN FAT32?? PLEASE PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME HERE. I WANT MY 1000GB AS FAT 32. 🙁

  38. Will is right!!!!!!!!!

    Finally, I f-ing solution! G-damnit I was getting frustrated! Like other people, that idiotic SwissKnife was only seeing my brand new Seagate 1TB drive as 500GB. WHY???? Yet idiotic Windows XP was seeing the full 1TB. Usually, non-Micropoop programs beat the snot out of MS programs. Not in this case. What an absurd problem with SwissKnife. It's like SwissKnife is a program that performs a whole metric ass-ton of functions. ALL it does is format, and it cant even do the most basic one correctly? (especially since 1TB drives are so incredibly common, and this is exactly what a lot of people want to do them).

    And yes, before you start ragging…..of course I updated and tried this on the lastest version.

    So after lots of trial-n-error involving numerous configurations of external HD cases, ect…..I FINALLY found this place, used FAT32formatter, and now I am up and running with a FAT32 formatted HD. So simple even a Microsoft employee could do it.

    One thing though, if you choose the normal format instead of the "fast", then it will take all night. So do it before bed, and within 10 (ish) hours, you are done.

    Why was this cool and easy program so damn difficult to find? I tried Google searched, nonags, and all the usual spots, and I found this place by complete accident.

    🙂

    Dont you just love happy endings? (knock on wood)

  39. cheekong…when it asks you for the volume label do this:

    1.Go on my computer

    2.Look at the name of the hard drive (like mine says FreeGate Drive)

    3. Thats your volume label

  40. Solution for those who are having trouble with "get 429 GB out of a 1TB External HDD" using :

    Two System of Steps:

    First Steps: Format it to NTFS using WINDOWS –> the control panel–> Administrative Tools –> Computer Management –> Disk Management –> Format all of it to NTFS (I used Quick format)

    Second Steps: Re-Format it to FAT32 using SWISSKNIFE, swissknife will recognize the whole 1TB now –> right click on the NTFS partition –> format –> Format all to FAT32 (also used Quick format)

    First it will not display FAT32 conversion. Unplug the external HD safely, replug it back in pc/latop so it'll recognize it as FAT32. Finish.

    I found this out after hours….of finding how Not to do it. Just want to share how I did, to save some people time.

  41. question for all… will formatting to fat32 cause me to lose my current data on my external hard drive? Do i have to back up the data on another hard drive?

  42. I eventually reformatted my 100gb seagate external drive to FAT32 BUT IT STILL WILL NOT WORK WITH MY XBOX360, it just says there is no storage device connected.

  43. FINALLY FOUND WHAT WORKS!!!!!!!!

    Formatted my new External Seagate 1.5 Terabyte drive with this utility. Here are the cool things about it.

    -formats any size hard drive or flash drive

    -fat32 or ntfs

    -graphical

    -it just works (awesome)

    http://www.download.com/HP-USB-Disk-Storage-Forma

  44. Jolted,

    That link doesn't work either.

    First brings me to the HP Site where I need to type a model.

    Please help

  45. I had the same problem with it only showing 429Gb, and i can't get it to show the full terabyte no matter what it's formatted as. How do I get it back to showing its original size.

  46. Ha Ha Ha, I have spent hours trying all these different ways to format my Verbatim external Hard Drive back to a FAT32, none of them worked. Then I typed into google Verbatim FAT32 found this program that took 1 second maybe 2 to download. And 8 seconds or was it 10 to fix and return my external drive back to a FAT32.

    http://www.verbatim.com/downloads/format.cfm

  47. Hi Jolted

    Thanks. Works like a charm. Fast and very user friendly.

    Cheers

    Simon

  48. I had the same problem with a 1TB Seagate that would only go to 429GB. I tried the Swissknife but it didn't work. The Fat32formatter worked great and I ended up with a Fat32 partition at 930GB. Close enough to 1TB. Thanks for all the help.

  49. i have the same problem as matt. i just formatted my 500 gb external hard drive to fat32, and my xbox360 says no memory unit detected…can anyone help me out

  50. 18. Paul. Thanks for the tip, I am also using external WD 500GB HD, infact with your idea about website for software formatter triggered me different way, I have thought to visit the website of Westerndigital (www.westerndigital.com)and downloaded their format utility software. As soon as I finished the downloading to my MS Windows XP, I activated the program and in no less than 10 seconds my external WD 500GB "MY Passport Essential" HD was restored to the original factory FAT32 format.

  51. Could I lose my data if I reformat an external hardrive to Fat32 containing pictures, music and movies?

  52. I have seagate 1.5TB external hdd. Things I tried are:

    Partition Magic: only formats 199GB

    EASEUS Partition Master: 499GB

    Swissknife: Did nothing at all 🙁

    And finally thanks to Paul, this tokiwa things debugged version worked like a charm for me.

    http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/index.html

  53. Thanks Paul tokiwa fat32formatter worked like a charm, ps3 is cranking my external 500gb now thank you so much!

  54. I can confirm the tokiwa formatter in comment #58 by tirmis, worked on my Seagate 1tb to full capacity in FAT32. I just used the debug version.

    Wii + HBC + MplayerWii + External USB HD (loaded with media) = awsome! Works great.

    And i just found a HD loader for the wii to play backups off of the External Drive without burning! Have not tried that yet, but the Mplayer sees the drive and plays the files!

  55. the format32 formatter did really work! I am really thankfull to all those people who said to use format32 formatter.

  56. I figured out how to SwissKnife V3 after 3 days of hard work.

    When opening SwissKnife V3 right click on it and run as administrator. It formated 120gb in less than 8 seconds. I am trying to format a 1tb but it only did half of the drive.

  57. Thanks this really helped alot. i knew i could use cmd, but i didint remember how exactly. i first did the format a while ago so i could fit bigger files on the harddrive all at once. but then my xbox 360 which i used for watching movies couldint read it. so i needed to put it back. or im just going to make it read ntfs.

  58. I'm trying the format in DOS now. Thank you so much! This has saved me money, tons of time reading (even) more, And let me do it without using the dreaded partition magic. That program is cursed!

    Soon I will have all my media fully accessible via Windows, OSX AND my xbox360! Could this mean compatibility, finally?

    Wonderful. Thanks again!

  59. Ok the FAT32 format in DOS didn't complete. I woke up to the blue screen of death (atapi.sys) and another one of 0x0000007f. Not to worry- happens all the time in my house!

    I later tried to format with bootable 'Super F Disk', and it has worked properly! Unfortunately, my xbox360 still doesn't see it! 🙁 (It's a promedion 'powered by hitachi' 160GB USB/Firewire hard drive from about 6 years ago)

    I keep getting strange messages though when copying mp3 files to the hd, that if i continue, i will lose data such as "Macintosh application info" and "Macintosh multimedia resources". This makes me think i should maybe change it back to NTFS… though first i will drag the old mac from out of the cupboard to see it it reads/writes to it…

  60. If you are trying to format a large external HDD like 1TB, do not use Swissknife as it will only format 429GB which is just a waste. Use FAT32formatter, its so much easier to use and it will do the entire Harddrive, it may take a couple of hours to do the full format (not quick format) but it does it all, unlike the piece of crap that is Swissknife.

    Thank you to the people who suggested the FAT32formatter first just passing it on now.

  61. Follow the fat32format link, i will work like a charm.

    Any body has any clue how to convert my mkv 1280*536 to a format and resolution my YAmaha dvd player will read?

    i am trying different sizes with anyvideo converter.

  62. Wow thanks. i have been searching all over the net for this solution. Partition magic never did work for me and this is the fist solution that has worked

  63. Okay so I have tried just about everything from all the sites and my PS3 still won't read the drive..

    I only converted a 40g drive to fat32 using the swissknife; I created a PS3 folder, then the 4 subfolders PHOTO, MUSIC, VIDEO, GAME

    I transfered a few movies (avi) into the video folder but nothing shows up not even an option to view all for a usb.

    Is there something that I am missing?? Any help would be much appreciated.

  64. I'd just like to point out to people who are considering formatting a large hard drive as FAT32 that the FAT32 file system does not support individual files larger than 4GB. Worth noting this before you go ahead and change it, make you there is a reason for you to have fat32.

  65. Thank you so much for this. I had been facing much difficulty with the maxiumum 32 gig issue for reformatting to FAT32, but using SwissKnife saw my 500GB hard drive reformat in less than a minute. Your article was just what I needed.

    Thank you!

  66. an external harddrive formatted to fat32 will let you put files on there which are 4gb or less. if you are wanting to play mkv files via your ps3, it is better to use a media center program called 'JAVA PS3 MEDIA SERVER' and set it up properly. this program is able to stream mkv files to your ps3 in actual mkv format and ovbiously wont matter how big the file size is as it is only streaming.

  67. Hi All,

    This REALLY works.

    I have 1.5 tb iomega prestige usb 2.0 hard drive.

    I wanted to format it to fat 32.

    I have tried everything from dos utility to swissnife and all others. They were running for 6-8 hours and were not working. I was stupid.

    Then I realized that iomega should have something. I went to their site and downloaded fat32 format. It formatted my 1.5 tb in 10 seconds. I mean 10 seconds.

    So my suggestion is go to your hard drive manufacture's site and download it or ask for their help.

    I hope this helps.

    Thanks,

    Kalpesh

  68. Thanks. This helped me to format an external 2.5" drive in an enclosure, which I plan to connect to my PS3 as a media drive.

  69. SwissKnife lit up Comodo Firewall like a Christmas tree when installed, and then didn't work, which might have been the firewall.

  70. I found another way – System Rescue CD can do it. SRD is a version of Linux bootable from a CD that includes tools to manipulate hard drives. It can backup hard drives, just about any format except one, NTFS, which is in beta. It can also resize partitions. VERY useful if you bought a computer with an OS installed and you want to create another partition for backups (for instance, when using Norton Ghost).

    To get SRD to work takes a bunch of steps though, you have to download the CD image file (.iso) burn it (I have a hard time finding it every time in Nero), then boot it. Assuming you get to the command prompt, you type wizard and return. Then either type gparted at the command window that pops up, or select it from the menu. At this point it my memory gets a little fuzzy, but I think you (right?) click on the partition and select FAT32. Now the part that took me the longest time. You have to click on APPLY. With gparted, you tell it everything you want to have happen, and the order you want it to happen, and then it does them all when you select APPLY. Nothing will happen if you don't click on APPLY.

    The Xwindows/Linux can be daunting for anyone who has never used it. Also note that to backup up a hard drive you need to 'mount' it first. Right before you type wizard there is a comment about it. Search the web, or ask a Linux-knowing friend, or read and re-read the SystemRescueCD website.

    Hope this helps … Michael

  71. After using the second method, the computer has crashed and rebooted with the message "missing operating system". I would like to know how this has happened and why. And how to rectifiy it.

    I am very dissapointed with this because i tried the first and second method, the first did not work saying "volume is too big" and second has crashed the computer.

  72. I was able to format my external HDD to FAT32 using DOS. SWEET!

  73. hi i have a seagate 500gb external hard drive and i want to be able to play files through my xbox 360. will the fat32 format work or whats the best way?

  74. I tried Swissknife on my Vista Laptop and on our Windows ME machine and had no success in formatting an 500 GB external hard drive to FAT32 for PS3. I used this program (FAT32Formatter) on our ME machine and it is simple and it works! Thanks to those who recommended it! It took a few hours because I didn't click the Quick Format box. My husband hooked it up to the PS3, so when I got home he was already using it with the PS3 Backup Utility.

    http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/index.html

  75. Everyone, try post 18. I recognized my 250gb seagate and formatted it in under 2 seconds. Now my PS3 is able to recognize it.

  76. hahaha….I read all these posts trying to convert my iomega 500gb hard drive from NTFS to FAT32.

    Instead of trying any of these, I went to iomega website – they gave a fat32 formatter software which did the job in less than a minute…Perfect! Done!!

  77. Here's an easy way to format a large drive in Windows XP: codingassistance.blogspot.com/2009/06/format-large-hdd-as-fat32.html

  78. Quote:

    "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!"

    (-_-)

    actually that pretty much cuts out almost "All" modern disks internal or external

    good luck purchasing anything less than a 40GB;

    except the new SSDs are available in less than 32GB

    I absolutely don't care for NTFS one bit, I find the security permissions / denials a useless pain in the rectal area which is where M$ should insert NTFS, along with their "File Ownership" junk;

    I go out of my way to avoid using NTFS, and use FAT / FAT32 as much as possible;

    Programming the 32GB FAT32 limit was just plain rude!

    just like the programmed 128GB RAM limitation of 64-Bit windows, when they know full well that 64-bit address space is way larger than that

    I use a Symantec Enterprise Product (BESR 6.52) to create all my FAT32 disk partitions (use windows to create a 20GB FAT32 primary partition and use copy drive in BESR with the options to expand volume to fill empty space)

    though technically I may be in violation of the EULA in "working around, any limitations in windows…" but as far as I'm concerned, I need large FAT32 external disks and it's none of their business how I created them.

    and if I decide to install one or more of those large FAT32 disks internally oh well.

  79. Fat32Formatter works with Windows 2003 too. Sweeeeeet!!

  80. Thank you! the second one worked for my 500GB Seagate external hard drive; which needed to be FAT32 for backing up PlayStation 3

  81. Just bought a 160GB external HD and couldn't get system to recognise it despite repeated banging of head against wall. Used disk management to give it a drive name and did as suggested up there at #18 and ran the Tokiwa and lo and behold I now have a hard drive where I can watch all my movies from that since it is FAT32 formatted, so I can watch em all through my PS3. Good job!

  82. Great job, couldnt get the Sumvision Cyclone working as NTFS made the video jump. This tutorial saved my bacon, thanks!

  83. Microsoft Windows [Version 6.0.6001]

    Copyright (c) 2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    C:UsersGerry>format /FS:FAT32 F:

    Access Denied as you do not have sufficient privileges.

    You have to invoke this utility running in elevated mode.

    C:UsersGerry>

    anybody help me

  84. Wow, this has completely messed up my brand new LaCie 500GB hard drive…

    I had the hard drive on and I was only fiddling around in the programs (SwissKnife and fat32formatter), I didn't even format anything…

    Now when I turn on my HDD and go to Computer (Vista), everything in that window freezes unless I turn off the HDD.

  85. The Dos seems to work fine for me on my 500GB (really 470GB)

    for Vista users, Search cmd, then right click on cmd.exe and pick Adminstarer rights. follow and its done =]

    done after afew hours… DOS is a much slower way but effective

  86. I also tried the Dos method and after about 3h format , It said drive to large to be formatted.

    I'm downloading Swissknife now to try it. Will post experiance

  87. Thanks, I needed to format my WD HDD to FAT32 for xbox360 to play xvid/divx movies.

  88. As Ben Wintle said above…..
    http://www.verbatim.com/downloads/format.cfm

    I tried all of the suggestions offered, which worked to some degree, but the Verbatim option worked quickly, flawlessly and painlessly.

    I formatted my 1TB external LaCie HD with a Samsung drive using the Verbatim software in about a minute and it formatted the ENTIRE HD leaving me 966GB of usable FAT32 formatted space. I wanted my HD formatted to FAT32 to use via the USB cable to attach it to my Pioneer DVD player in order to view .avi files because the only format my player will recognize is FAT32.

    Forget the other suggestions…..I'm sure some have success with one or the other…..but the Verbatim option takes 2 minutes of your time, works as it should and cuts the frustration level down to zero.

  89. USE THE POST 37, IT WORKS!!!!! I HAD A 1.5TB IN NFTS. I FOLLOWED POST 37'S INSTRUCTIONS AND NOW ITS A FULL 1.5TB DRIVE IN FAT 32!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!

  90. I downloaded this swissknife program and when I open the exe file, I can't find the program anywhere on my computer. It unpacks then disapears

    Any ideas?

  91. I wound up using the following link. Took just a few seconds and my 320gb HD was formatted to Fat32

  92. hey thanks! formatting my drive now to fat32, but it's taking forever though… i should have just formatted it to ntfs first so that there wouldn't be any files then format it to FAT32… right? that would be faster right?

  93. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!

    I downloaded paragon's software, it was like 100MB to download, took forever to install and it wouldn't even format the external drive.

    It took me longer to remove paragon's software than it took for me to download swissknife, install it, and format the new drive alltogether. 🙂

  94. I have a problem with my old PS3-40GB HDD. I want to use it like external HDD drive, because I have a new PS3 HDD 320GB Seagate. After formatting my old drive with fat32format.exe can't use it with PS3. PS3 don't recognize it.The power led and acces led(Rack ASUS for 2.5 HDD) is blinking. When I connect to my computer everythings is fine, and I can use it like others divece with USB.

    The power uf USB from PS3 can be the problem?

  95. this goes to PAUL, u really removed my misery as ur advice to go the site tokiwa, a formatter. I almost lost hope on how to format my hard drive, but then as i read comments on how to format external hard drives, specially ur comments, it really help me a lot and now i can watch & download movies through my PS3. Thanx a lot PAUL & GOD bless.

  96. I got a 1TB omeaga or what ever it's called… And I dont really need 1TB to be FAT32, so what I did was to use my windows xp cd, split the HDD into two, one with 32GB the other with what is 900 something… The one with 900 something GB have NTFS formated where I store all my stuff. when I want to hook my HDD to the xbox, I simple put the things I need into the 32GB FAT32.

    Hope you understand, btw I used the first guide to format in FAT32.

  97. Post 43 works a treat. I have a 1TB seagate external hard drive and is now fully formatted in FAT32. Cheers. Save downloading more programs

  98. Hello,

    If anyone like me had trouble useing the SwissKnife program on a 1 TB or more HDD, and not being able to format in DOS I found a solution that worked for me.

    First, I used my Windows XP CD, to split my HDD into two Disks, 'D' and 'E'. 'D' I made 32 GB and 'E' I made the rest, 960 GB.

    Then I used DOS to format Disk 'D' (32 GB) in flesystem FAT32.

    My Disk 'E' (960 GB) I formated in NTFS, where I can store all my things.

    When I want to watch a movie useing the xbox, I put the movies, music or what ever, in the Disk 'D' where FAT32 was installed and it works perfectly.

    Use Disk 'E' to store all the movies, music you got! 🙂

  99. The DOS directions worked amazing. he just left out the step where i had to name the drive. but that was simple enough to do and then it was exactly on. good guide. thanks for making this.

  100. FINALLY!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU Ben Wintle (#50).

    This program works GREAT! After hours of trying a stack of successful links and programs. This program is a dream! Fast, simple and WORKS!

    Formatted a 2.5" Fujitsu 160GB using Vista in about 10 seconds.

    http://www.verbatim.com/downloads/format.cfm

  101. Thank you, Will, for sharing that very important program.

    I went through the process of clearing a backup drive (took all night) before trying the format tool. (Only to see it lacked FAT32 and instead had something else FAT. (Which did not work.) Went to Download.com. Found SwissKnife. (Which acted like it was doing something. But, in fact, did nothing at all. Then, crashed after several attempts to reload it.)

    Followed it up with finding this help site and tried the DOS approach. Got some sort of message about not having the authority to run such a process. (What the??? Never heard of 'elevated mode', before.)

  102. (Meh…scroll clicked Submit too soon.)

    If it hadn't been for Fat32Formatter, I don't know what I would have done in order to backup the PS3 drive. Thank you very much. This program should be submitted to TwoCows and Download to make everyone life a litle easier on this issue.

  103. Omg i owe u a lot! i bought a 500gb HD and it wasnt working with my xbox and i was downloading everything, then when i read this and did what u instructed, it works now with my xbox, Thank you so much. 😀

  104. I was struggling with formatting my external hard drive until I found these instructions. I knew it would be simple. Thank you.

  105. I used swissknife to try and convert his 500GB HDD into FAT32 so that it would be compatible with his PS3

    Swissknife came up with a blank error message (literally a blank notice which i could only click ok on) and then "stopped responding" and now the HDD is corrupted and buggered

    EPIC TUTORIAL : /

  106. go to cmd and type DISKPART
    hit enter
    Next type LIST DISK
    hit enter
    type SELECT DISC 1 (or whatever number disc yours came up as)
    then type each comand in individualy:
    SELECT DISK 1

    CLEAN

    CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY

    SELECT PARTITION 1

    ACTIVE

    FORMAT FS=FAT32

    This takes care of the "disc is too big" problem

  107. The Fat32Formatter found at http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/index.html works for converting a 250gb WD My passport Essential portable HD. It is simple. It is straightforward. Plus plenty of people have made comments on how to use it if you can't get it working. My ps3 has recognized it and I have been able to back up my data without a problem. I also used a WD Scorpio Blue 250gb 2.5in SATA HD running at 5400rpm for the internal upgrade for my ps3.

    **I did not use the quick format and used the regular formatting for my external in Fat32Formatter.

    For ps3 users:

    Make sure you buy an external HD that you can then use with your bigger brand new internal HD. When you use the back up function it will take at least an hour (mine took 1hr 7min for backing up 40gb) to back up & reinstall. I bought 2 250gb drives. When you start up your ps3 it will prompt you to format your new HD. You will notice almost immediately that your user information is saved to RAM except for trophies. These are saved via the Sony server and all it takes to retrieve them is a simple Sync. Don't worry! All is well 🙂

  108. Dos says: hard drive is too big (Which is really dumb since it tells me after waiting for an hour)

    Swissknife keeps crashing.

    So what's the solution for formatting in FAT32?

  109. I was trying to format my 500GB western digital external so I could do a backup for my PS3 (in the progress of swapping my tiny 60GB HDD with my laptops almost-never-used 160GB), but most of the methods above didn't work.

    Using cmd method took 6-8hrs just to tell me the external was too big for FAT32. Swissknive and fat32formatter didn't work. For some reason Fat32Formatter opened and closed immediately. I tried on both, Windows XP and Windows 7.

    So I gave up with the 500GB external and tried with a 120GB Seagate external, but same story.

    In the end, the program that got the job done without any complains and took less than 5mins was:

    Partition Wizard Home Edition (FREE 32 & 64 bit, Win7 Compatible)
    http://www.partitionwizard.com/free-partition-man

    Doing a PS3 backup at this moment. =)

  110. Like most of you, I was trying to reformat my external USB drive (500GB) to FAT32 and the post-frustration search led me here. I can't help but add the inability to merely format a hard drive to a standard file system to my "What the #*%& is wrong you, Microsoft?!" list. Grrr.

  111. For all the PS3 upgraders…

    followed "Felix" advice for the Fat32Formatter… worked great was able to change the format on my WD 1tb my book essential in no time. Took only a couple of mins. to the many other ways ive tried which took at least 6 to 8 hrs and didn't even work.

  112. Thanks for the advice, SwissKnife has borked my 500gb external hard drive. Definitely not recommended.

  113. Thank You! I've successfully formated the hard disk to FAT 32! These tips are useful!

  114. Paul – thank you! The Tokiwa Fat32 exe was so easy and fast. I stopped the DOS attempt after 10 minutes of reading through the other posts.

  115. Thank you!!! This have been driving me crazy!

  116. +1 Kortnie, I was ready to scream until I found this.

    Thanks Paul!!

  117. Thank you!. I really mean it. After hours of frustration today, finally I was able to reformat the external hard drive to FAT32!

  118. Great article. Thanks! Was able to format my ext drive in FAT32. ~J

  119. Hey, thanks you, works so smoothly, :). Was able to format to FAT32 super fast!

  120. SwissKnife is one of the best freeware to date. Thanks

  121. in order not to lose all your data do you have to use another hard drive or is there a way to format and hold all your data?

  122. @Paul #18

    Thank you so much for this information…I tried and tried for hours to get my WD Passport Elite 500GB EHD to convert to FAT 32 so I can back up my playstation and NOTHING worked until I tried this. It did take me all night to do it but it was well worth the wait. I did not use the quick format option. After hours and hours of trying to do this I finally have it how I wanted it and now my playstation 3 is FINALLY backing up! Thanks much!

  123. Mine doesn't work…the format type is gray, so I can't select hard disk format. Under the current partition details, the partition is floppy and the size is 0 and the delete button is gray….HELP!!!! anyone. And I've tried so many other programs like partition manager, none of them recognizes my drive…so I can't really do anything…..REALLY NEED HELP….THANKS in advance!

  124. Madman, it would help if you said what program you're using. There have been 4 or 5 programs listed in the posts

    I have a WD 1TB Elements external drive and wanted to format it to FAT32. DOS, SwissKnife and WD's own utility wouldn't work. I used Fat32Formatter and it worked. After I was done, Windows XP SP3 showed it formatted RAW. After ejecting it and re-connecting it, it shows foratted as FAT32.

    I'm curious…How did the original poster get his 1TB drive formatted using SwissKnife?

  125. Most external HDs come formatted in FAT32. Go to the manufacturers website and get the software to reformat the external HD. Most of the manufacturers have a software bundle for each specific HD that includes a way to at least go back to original settings.

  126. Post 18 by Paul… God Bless you… I must be the 20ish to thank him but I just need to do the same.

    Fat32Formatter is definitely the software you are looking for. You'll find that it's slow but the result is perfect. The software looks like it's from another decade but the results are there. Remember to empty your Hard Drive before using Fat32Formatter though.

    You could always look for a manufacturer's software but Fat32Formatter is the universal solution for Mac/PC/Linux users who want their [insert name & size here] Hard Drive to be in Fat32 format.

    Again, thanks Paul and everyone who tried and gave their comments about the Fat32Formatter.

  127. 1st off I just wanna reach out & give you a great BIG HUG! All my aggravation has been lifted and it was quite a trying experience on my patience…Definitely post #18 FTW, for my 500GB Toshiba laptop HD that i bought a USB (Ācomdata for 2.5" SATA HDD)case for to use with PS3. It happens to be a very nice small sleek streamline BLK case that resembles that of a small 6oz. flask. Plus its thinner than an iPhone & only about a 1/2" wider & longer.

    Case in point is that its much smaller than those premade Ext. HD's out there. When all is said & done the price comes out to be about the same if not less than some of those premades. I have been reading this thread for a couple of days now going insane trying out all the different software solutions. I have tried numerous software, via links provided in this thread.

    The only one to work with out any difficulties is post #18… However there is still 7.37 GB of used space on it after formating, but i dont care because thats expected & it works…My hats off to you, "CHEERS"!!! On that note I will be celebrating by toasting a nice big warm glass of Remy X.O. in your honor… Thanks again…!

  128. I was having trouble getting full capacity from my 1tb ext HD, followed the steps in post 43 and it now works perfectly. Cheers

  129. mkss55442 I used so may programs that I can't even remember, any program that they mention here, I tried them all. But I did find a program from other website the application file is name as guiforformat, and it works perfectly just in 5s and I got it formatted to FAT32. Yeah and I'm really surprise too how did he got it works in DOS for 1TB, I tried that in my vista and XP computers, non of them works.

    But now I have another problem, that is none of the program can read my hard drive, I have a Clickfree 320GB, its a gift from a friend. Now that i can format to FAT32, I wanna do partition to split it into 2 storage, one is NTFS to store files, and the other is FAT32 to store all the movies and pictures, but non of the program can read my hard drive… I tried the disk management but don't let me do partition, all the "extend volume, shrink volume, delete volume" are gray, can't select…

    Appreciate if anyone here can help, if not I guess I just have to live with it…lol.. Thank you all for the suggestions

  130. Many people dont know this but u can format an external drive of up to 2TB if u have windows xp.

    1. Go to start menu and click up "Run"

    2. Type in "cmd" in the run box and click "Ok"

    3. A black box will appear

    4. In the black box you have to type in a command issueing the computer to format your external hard drive. It has been a while since I have done this so I cant remember the exact command but you can google it.

    It was something like "format fat32/ drive O" Thats not exactly it but it is very close to that and "O" would be the letter of my external hard drive so it would be a different letter for you depending on what usb slot you have your external hard drive plugged into.

    It took about 3-4 hours for my 1TB to be formatted but I didnt lose any storage space at all. On the other hand if you use SwissKnife you can lose up to 60% of your storage space. Trust me I know. LOL

  131. Tutorial not entirely right. Tried to format 60 GB (not 1 TB) and still got the "The volume is too big for FAT32."

    Start with SwissKnife instead.

  132. HerbDoctor post 11 perfect! Thanks!

    I suspected I'd get malware atleast, but to my surprise it seems that the ppl that made this prog were good ppl only looking for donations. perfect program, no catches…other than feeling guilty for not donating….

    You shall now be called HerbGawd420! ThanX again HerbGawd!

  133. Hey guys, I had the same problem as all of you, after doing the command prompt said file size was too big for format! and then I tried swissknife and the program crashed. BUT, I found a solution that ACTUALLY does WORK!

    Go to this site:
    http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index.htm?fat32f

    Herbdoctor also recommended this side in the older comments.

    Just download the fat32format.exe file, paste it simply in drive C: or D: (don't paste it into any complicated folders in those drives, just paste it into the drives themselves)…then follow the steps given on that site and BAM, it'll format in 3 seconds in a new FAT32 system.

    Good Luck Guys.

  134. just like many folks here who used swissknife to format to fat32 their 1tb external usb hdd, i also got out of my 1tb hitachi simple drive external hdd only 429gb, to my consternation. thank you to the fat32formatter (and the people behind it) and to those who shared the links and their experiences with it in this forum, i was able to get 931.51gb out of my 1tb, not bad at all. i intend to connect via usb this hitachi hdd to my ps3 as the latter has only 40gb in it. by the way, i used the "quick format" option in the program and was done in less than 90 seconds.

  135. Just use a Linux Live CD and Gparted. It will format any size, I did a 500 GB drive in 2 minutes!

  136. I almost read all the comments and took some ideas and will try all of them today, but if nothing works, I'll smash my external hard drive with a baseball bat and post the video on youtube…

    Wish me luck Guys….

    Mike….

  137. Did not work after 2 hours I get the message "Volume is too large for FAT32". Drive is still on NTFS and Swissknife would not work, kept getting error message when I selected an external drive. The program would simply close.

  138. Ok guyz, Im so happy i cant even type anything..

    Yesterday I came back from work, and used the fat32formatter, it took exactly 12hourz but its all done very very neatly, I formatted NTFS to FAT32, now I have 1TB of FAT32, and i connected it to my PS3 and itz working just WOW, I tranferred all my movies, songs, concerts, pictures etc…All is fine, please dont beat yourself using crap like DOS or wateva, just use the FAT32formatter and your done..

    Thank You all for ideas and advises and help,

    Iam very grateful to all of you who helped and need help….

    Mike….

  139. Linux "Gparted" can format Fat32, NTFS, FAT16 or any other file system, its free, and will do it in minutes, no need to install OS just use LIVE CD

  140. I recently bought a 320gb external for my PS3 and couldn't format it to FAT32 via Windows… THANKS, this worked!

  141. I tried the command prompt and mine said "Access denied as you do not have sufficient priveleges. You have to invoke this utility in elevated mode." Any advice?

  142. Question: As far as the 4 GB limit for FAT32 Format, does that mean that I can still import a FOLDER that has over 4 GB worth of information on it, as long as none of the singular-objects in the folder are over 4 GB, or will the folder's size stop it from copying?

  143. I just had the hardest time trying to format my external hard drive. This will also work with Win Vista Start>Accessories then Right-click on Command Prompt then choose: "Run as Administrator". After that enter: "format /FS:FAT32 X:" X is for the drive you want to format.

    Now this is where it got tricky I was asked for the VOLUME LABEL of the drive. I still don't know what the hell I did but some how I got it right. If I had to do it over, I am sure I couldn't do it. If you want to use this Instructions for Windows Vista make sure you know what your "volume label" is. Otherwise, you are going to spend a long time trying to format your external hard drive.

    The things we must go through as gamers to improve our PS3s

  144. Thanks Erick for the instructions for Vista! I was having trouble wondering why I had insufficient access… Vista is really a pain…

    Just to add on, the volume label of the drive means the name of the drive, for eg for WD drives, it could be My Passport or whatever you named your drive as.

  145. Post 11 worked for me. Thank you!

    I tried GUI version in the link provided. Gave an error (something like disk is not ready) but I pressed keep trying and it did the job.

  146. every time i try the first example it asks me for a volume lable, what is that?

  147. While formatting an external HDD, the laptop accidently got closed and formatting ceased. Now the computer does not find the external HDD at all. Is there any way that I can find this external drive any more.

    The external drive turns on when I plug in the USB cable but the computer does not recognize the external drive any more. HELP!!!

  148. YOUR “volume label” IS THE NAME OF YOUR EXTERNAL HARDDRIVE, LIKE MINE SAYS F:SLUGGER BECAUSE I RENAMED IT SLUGGER

  149. Thank You, the DOS method worked perfectly with my 1TB Iomgega HDD. Thank You Again. 😉

  150. By the way, the volume label is the name of your hard drive. example: Iomega HDD, Verbatim, Imation

  151. #43 was dead on… able to format a 1.5 TB Seagate as FAT32 and hooked it right into my PS3.

  152. #18 saved my PS3. Had a blu-ray drive failure and needed to back up my data. Partitioned it perfectly and now I'm safely scooping off my save games.

    BTW, you can do a split partition using #18 so that you don't have to format the whole drive in FAT32 if you're worried about file size etc. Just set the format size to less than the full drive size and then you can later use windows to format the rest of the drive.

  153. Thanks #18 it worked like a bomb it took me 5 min and my 1TB drive was converted to Fat32.

  154. Thanks to post #18 i finally formatted the remaining 1tb of my 1.5tb WD external HDD, FYI: it did not erase the data i had on the 400gb space the swissknife formatted. It just made a new drive F:, i don't know if thats ok, but now when i plug in my external HDD, it shows local disk E:(has 400gb) and local disk F:(has 997gb)

  155. Thanks for this informative article. I have a western digital 320GB hard drive. I had formatted that using western digital tools but the tool does not do more than 137GB for Windows XP. I have read all the comments here and tried all the 4-5 different utilities which were suggested by different people here but nothing worked. Finally I tried WD Fat32 Formatter. This tool has an option to restore Western Digital hard drive to factory default using Fat32 format type. it works half way and at the end gives an error "Read image error". I will appreciate if you guys have any other option.

  156. I forgot to mention one thing before. Previously I had to install this drive on an old computer and the BIO didn't support large drives so I reformatted that 320GB drive to 32GB. Now whatever utility I use, that recognise it as 32GB, not 320GB. What should I do to restore it to factory defualt settings?

  157. If you want to convert NTFS to FAT32 and you have free space on drive more or same then used space you can do a conversion without losing any data. With partition magic, create a primary partition fat32, copy your data on it then format the other partition to fat32. After that merge the partition. If the hdd is verry big make more fat32 partitions and merge them.

  158. before I used #18, my drive was F:, I only can see my HDD info from Disk Management, File System RAW, after I used 18#, I can see HDD from both my computer and Disk Management,File system is FAT32, drive change to E: I was so happy, finally I got done after so many methods used. But today I tried to plug in HDD again, I couldn't see from both Disk Management and MY computer, even when I want to run Fat32Formatter to reformat, I could not access from physical drive, it disappeared. What I should do now?????? Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  159. Tried using the DOS option to format a 500GB Western Digital Elements Portable. Waited for a few hours only to have the thing tell me that it is too big for FAT32. *#&$. So I tried the Tokiwa link in post #18, took awhile, but worked like a charm and I only lost about 640kb of disk space.

    WD has some programs at the support site for converting to FAT32, but those were a pain just to install. Ended up not using it at all.

    So now I've got a 500GB External HD hooked up to my Wii and the games are loading great!

  160. I have seen most of the above mentioned problems, but I have found a tool which has not let me down so far!! It is in German (instructions!), but the basic instruction is "hformat x:".

    Note that the drive must NOT be formatted before you start (if it is, use "Computer Management / Disk Management" to remove format)!

    Link to download:

    heise.de/software/download/h2format/40825

  161. Thanks for post 96!!!
    http://www.verbatim.com/downloads/format.cfm

    It literally took 10 seconds for the quick format to FAT32, the program itself is a two step process and the website includes a tutorial incase you're not sure what to do.

    I tried using the command prompt at first (format /FS FAT32 X:) but after 5 hours it said my device was too big.

    so yea.

  162. Thankyou very much! I could format my external HDD to fat 32…

  163. Thanks a lot.. hope it formats my hard drive in FAT32.. but ur tutorial was helpful!!!!!!!!!!

  164. Neither method worked for me. DOS says my 250gb hard drive is too big and SwissKnife crashed half way through the formatting process over and over again. I hate Sony…I'm going to Microsoft.

  165. Start, Run, Format….doesn't work. Error from windows. Anything else I can do to format in FAT32?

  166. Useful tutorial. Easy way to format to FAT32.

  167. The problem is that if you use Windows, after 2 hours of running, it will give you a message that the hard disk (320 GB) is too large to be formatted in FAT32. Hard disk is still NTFS. Gigi

  168. windows was unable to complete the format Help?

  169. Save yourself some time and use Fat32Formatter skip the rest and try it first It worked for me.

  170. I had my hardisk formatted by Euronics. The told me it's necessary to 'go into the computer…?!' After I found on WD site to download the program to format my WD hard disk to fat32. (WD service & support home). Anyway dvd reader doesn't work with WD3200 Hard disk. Thanks. Gigi

  171. Fat32Formatter 1.0 from Freewarefiles.com

  172. SHAME MICROSOFT SHAME. How can Microsoft's own operating system not format a disk to FAT32!

  173. Thank you Ben #50!!!! After a full day of trying 20 (exaggeration) different approaches – this worked!!! For future googler's the key word is how to format an external hard drive in Windows XP that was formatted for Mac before.

    Bless you Ben!

  174. For my Plextor 500GB HDD: the DOS / CMD did NOT work! Like many of my prdecessors, I got the message: The volume is too big for FAT32 ! And that takes a while, until the 100% of the HDD are checked!!

    However: SWISSKNIFE worked beautifully!

  175. It is February 8, 2010.

    This is a testimonial that the fat32formatter discussed in post #18 (and commented on in post 37, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 66, etc) works as discussed.

    I have a 1TB Hitachi simpledrive which was formatted in NTFS and an Oppo dvd-player that only supported USB drives formatted with the FAT or FAT32 file system; therefore, I needed to reformat my Hitachi hard-drive into FAT32, and fat32formatter worked superb.

    Tip: Check the quick format box- it took me less than two minutes to format my 1TB(931 GB) hard drive, and it works great with my Oppo dvd-player (and my Xbox as well as with my PS3). Without checking "quick format" it will take anywhere from 5-10 hours with minimal benefit. In my opinion, not worth the time, trust me, check the quick format box, you will be happy.

    It is noteworthy to state that the normal format mode does check your hard drive for bad sectors; however, you can do a quick format and then check your hard drive manual using the chkdsk command (just go to start menu and type chkdsk), and save yourself hours.

  176. I tried using Swissknife but it wouldn't do 1tb, tried a few others but finally found :-

    Easeus Partition Master Home Edition 5.0.1 at download.com

    It did it so quickly and easily that I couldn't believe it and it is a free program.

    http://download.cnet.com/Easeus-Partition-Master-

  177. Hi,

    download fat32format. copy exe file to directory and start cmd and change to that directory.

    then cmd>fat32format f (drive letter):

    and then enter.

    4sec and everything converted. check.

    C:>fat32format f:

    Warning ALL data on drive 'f' will be lost irretrievably, are you sure

    (y/n) :y

    Size : 1000GB 1953519616 sectors

    512 Bytes Per Sector, Cluster size 32768 bytes

    Volume ID is 7e4:23a

    32 Reserved Sectors, 238409 Sectors per FAT, 2 fats

    30516293 Total clusters

    30516292 Free Clusters

    Formatting drive f:…

    Clearing out 476914 sectors for Reserved sectors, fats and root cluster…

    Wrote 244179968 bytes in 9.72 seconds, 23.96 Megabytes/sec

    Initialising reserved sectors and FATs…

    Done

    C:>chkdsk f:

    The type of the file system is FAT32.

    Volume Serial Number is 07E4-023A

    Windows is verifying files and folders…

    File and folder verification is complete.

    Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.

    976,521,376 KB total disk space.

    976,521,344 KB are available.

    32,768 bytes in each allocation unit.

    30,516,293 total allocation units on disk.

    30,516,292 allocation units available on disk.

  178. I just bought a 1 TB WD external drive, i formatted it so i can use it with my ps3, will i still be able to use the 930 gigs or is the capacity 32?

  179. muchas gracias, muy util porque, y respondo al otro comentario, partition magic no deja …

  180. Swiss Knife – what a legendary piece of software. Windows or Partition Magic couldn't sort it out, this did first time. Bravo

  181. what if when you type in fs/fat32x or f it said specified drive does not exist

  182. Follow post 46. The HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool – v2.1.8 actually works. I was about ready to give up after trying SwissKnife and the Fat32Formatter and neither of them working for me. The HP thing got the job done.

  183. Great post, it was very helpful for me while converting a hard drive to FAT32. Thanks!

  184. Awesome, tried the command prompt option on a Hitachi 320 GB HDD and it worked like a charm, created folders named picture, video, music and games and it worked lovely. Thanks man!

  185. I just bought an external hard drive and it doesn't work on my ps3. will this make it work on it. also what is fat32?

  186. I have a 500GB Seagate. Thanks for the walkthrough. It worked perfectly and now I can play my songs and whatnot on my Xbox 360.

    P.S. The first method did not work so I used Swissknife. Just thought it was worth mentioning that the first method doesn't work (at least in my case) on 500GB drives.

    Much thanks!

  187. As this article is still coming up high on a websearch, I'd like to add another possible way to format an external hard drive as FAT32.

    It uses a little program called "h2format.exe" you can download from the site of a renowned german computer magazine (c't).
    http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/tilted-technology/14

    (If this link changes in the future, just search for h2format.)

    First, go to control panel, administrative tools, computer management, then disk management. Right click on the harddrive you would like to format and delete any partition already present (you've backed up your data already, haven't you?). Then right click on the the same drive again and create a primary partition, assign a drive letter (e.g. F:) but choose the option "Don't format the partition".

    Your hard drive does now have a drive letter but no file system. Open the zip file you've downloaded and copy "h2format.exe" into C:

    Now open a command prompt (Start – Run – type: cmd – Enter).
    Type: C:
    Type: h2format F:
    (Replace F: by the drive letter you've assigned previously.)

    That's it, it should work perfectly well.

    CM

  188. This works PERFECTLY on WD250gb Drive-Done within 15seconds

    Found this link in another forum, posted by a guy asking the same question. It’s to the Western Digital knowledge base entry “How do I format an external USB or FireWire hard drive as FAT32 in Windows?” WD offers a small utility that can convert the drive to a single FAT32 partition.
    http://tinyurl.com/yk5ze3x

    Quote:
    Western Digital has a Windows based utility that will reformat a Western Digital external USB or FireWire hard drive back to the factory default FAT32 partition. When run, this utility can only create a single FAT32 partition for the full capacity of the hard drive.

  189. "Paul said on : November 18th, 2008 at 9:18 pm"

    "Will said on : January 29th, 2009 at 3:01 pm"

    http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/index.html

    Thank you guys. It worked for my 1T WD My Book. Quick format was in seconds.

    Western Digital formatter was giving error "disk is too small". However one that you guys recommended (link above) was awesome.

    Thanks again.

    God bless you.

  190. post 46 IS ALL YOU NEED TO FOLLOW and that is the start and end of the story

    THE END

  191. Your 2nd method helped me to format my Apple iPod 16 GB to FAT32.

    thnx

  192. tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/index.html

    20 seconds, MAX

    I downloaded Seatools, but couldn't locate any utilities that would allow me to format to FAT32. SOOOO glad I found this place, thanks to all for your help.

  193. Thanks a lot. Worked like a charm. Had a small mix up with volume name (doh).

    All I had to do is:

    Go to My Computer. Right click on the hard drive you want to format. Go to properties, under General Tab you will see the name right next to the drive icon. If you like you can change it.

  194. I have downloaded the swissnife program and tried to reformat my seagate 1tb from ntfs to fat32 but swissnife does not come up with a fat32 option only fat16 or ntfs; why is this?

  195. IT WORKED, format fat32 250g HD in external case, with XP OS installed. Tokiwa error with both programs. Swissknife, I believe limit is 500g HD. I connected the ext HD with usb to laptop with XP. Used right click on ext HD, full format to NTFS. Then ran Swissknife to format to fat32. Swissknife could not format with an OS on HD. Did full format with XP in NTFS eliminated the OS.

  196. I was trying to format my USB drive so that I could connect it to my XBox and play movies, but I realized it was easier to just stream them from my PC using Windows Media Player. Anyway, thanks!

  197. Thank you for the info, job done. Formatting to FAT32 was easy.

  198. Hi There,

    Just purchased a WD Elements 500GB hard drive and need to format to DOS file so I am able to backup files from Windows 98 and Mac, where do I satrt?

  199. Thanks guys, this really helped me format my USB drive in FAT32. Would not have been able to do it without this article and the comments!

  200. When i type format /FS:FAT32 X: in cmd it all goes well until this message shows up and says: Enter current volume label for drive E: ….what sould i type :S…sry if my question is stupid but i really dont want to do something wrong…

  201. Lost disk space after using SwissKnife to convert NTFS to FAT32?

    From the research that i've done, it seems that 'SwissKnife' will format approximately upto 500GB (why this happens I do not know?). If you have tried to convert NTFS to FAT32 on anything above that, you may find you are left with less disk space than you started with.

    To get back the lost space, here is one possible solution:

    N.B. EXTERNAL DRIVES ONLY!! (as it formats the whole drive and you will lose everything/all data)

    Using XP

    >Start

    >My Computer

    >(right click) External Drive

    >Format

    >OK

    >OK

    Once XP has finished formatting your external hard drive to NTFS (this may take a while) you will need to do the following:

    >Start

    >Run

    >type 'cmd'(this opens a black window called command prompt)

    >from command prompt type 'diskpart.exe' (minus quote marks)

    >then type 'select volume x'(x being the external hard disk)

    >then type 'extend'

    Exit command prompt and you should have all the space back on your external hard drive.

    I would use the 'fat32format' method to convert from here on in.

    Hope this helps. Just thought i'd share as I've been frustrated with this problem all day – what a way to spend a pleasant Sunday afternoon! 🙂

    Some helpful links:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325590 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDpTrmcyv8M

  202. i cant format my hdd i tried disk management, i tried the cmd option to format my usb external hdd 500 wd and the swiss software its not compatible with windows 7 any ideas??? please

  203. i keep getting a error saying i do not have sufficient privileges i have to invoke this utility running in elevated mode……. what does that mean and is there away around it please help thanks jerry

  204. to my last question i sent i figured out how to go around vista to format my harddrive, you have to turn off user controls and then it works just fine if you follow the the intructions that were given to follow thanks, guess i know more than i think later jerry

  205. Format your HDD to NTFS 😉

    Works like a charm in NTFS.

  206. Thanks, I was having trouble setting up a drive for PS3 backup and HD upgrade. Worked like a charm for a less than 1 TB drive!!!!

  207. Cheekeong and Gtpm both had the same question as I do: it asked for my "current volume label" and I don't know what that is or where to find out what it is. How do I find that? My hard drive is a 1TB, 930.7GB, what do I enter?

  208. I figured it out! To find the "current volume label" start a new command and type "vol X:" substituting the name of your drive for X, and hit enter. It'll tell you the volume and then just repeat the recommended command using the suggested volume when it asks. Mine was "My Book" which I thought was a weird volume, but whatever, it worked!

  209. Roddrick king

    Mr.roddrick.king@gmail.com

    I was using the DOS format to convert my 250 gb hard drive over to FAT32, while it was doing it's thing my 5 year old son came along and yank out the power cord while formatting. Now none of my computer's see the hard drive when using a external case or directly installed for the primary use. Even in the bios it's not being seen. Any suggestions

  210. I used swissknife to do the partion. it will only format 429mb of my 1tb drive, any suggestions?

  211. roddrick right click my computer then manage and disk manage . plug your Hard drive and you should see it there unformated. just right click and format. if you have WD then just follow the link i provided , you could add new volume from that link and change the format. it took me 10 sec to change from NTFS to Fat32

  212. It's funny that the western digital 500 gb works in on the XBox, but not the 1 tb though! does the company not realize that technology is advanced and to get the best i want to be able to use it on the majority of my devices e.g PC and XBox anything that has a usb port! looking thru the comments there is a lot of complications in changing the format! i am not a computer whizz and i hate getting frustrated so i run windows 7 and my western digital 1 tb is not working on my XBox! throw me a bone

  213. my 1.5TB hard drive, when formated with swiss knife only formated 429mb. any suggestions? :@

  214. "FAT32 FORMATTER" works great!!!!!!!! My keyboard and ps3/xbox wouldnt work with my new 650GB external HD, but I used FAT32FORMATTER and it worked great!

  215. yea tried that several times did not work. Whats really weird is that in the bio's it see's something but does not recognize the hard drive at all, normally even if a hard drive is formatted or not it should be recognized in the Bio's. ?Is there a way to try to recall the hard drive in DOS Maybe ? When my son ran and disconnect everything I was following the directions to re-format drive for fat32 in the dos.

  216. I bought an external hard drive from smalldrives.com last week.. it came in NTFS but I needed it to work with my PS3 which only accepts FAT32 contacted Smalldrives and they were very helpful with sending some instruction and a piece of software that only runs on winxp but that does the job very easily.. its called Maxblast and it is made by maxtor.. easily formats usb external hard drives in fat32 or any other format.. you will need version 4 of maxblast as the latest version is a bit peculiar and is not as user friendly.

  217. Hey, so I am using the Fat32Formatter and I left it over night and the progress bar is still in the same spot. The "Update Info" and "Abort" options are all that are highlighted. Does this mean it has stopped itself or is just meant to take this long of time? Thanks.

    Adam.

  218. Hello,

    I have a 320GB Western Digital External Hard Drive. I was wondering if I could save my XBOX360 games/ game files on it. When I plugged it into my XBOX360, it recognized a storage device but it was labelled as unformatted device.

    So firstly, can I even save my games/game files on the EHD? Secondly, I do I properly format it so that I can use it for both my XBOX and as my computer backup?

  219. I am trying to format a seagate 1tb hard drive to allow me use through a Playstation 3.

    I have tried the way through RUN and for some reason every version of swiss knife i download doesnt work.

    Is there any ither solutions?

    I dont mind losing some space i jut need to get it sorted.

  220. Tried cmd for 80GB hard drive converting NTFS to Fat32, but it did not work. Said it was to big. Then tried SwissKnife and it worked in like 5 seconds! Fantastic software. Now I can use my old hard drive on my Mac. Thank you for the advice.

  221. i formatted using swiss kinfe , but it only converted 437 gb out of 1tb .. where did the rest of the space go :@:@:@

    plss help

  222. Hey I figured it out go into the command line by clicking the start button the run tab will pop up in the box type cmd then click enter. DOS screen screen should pop up. And it will say

    C:Documents and Settings>

    then type this after the > format /fs:fat32 x:(the x is the drive you wanna create to fat32) Then it will state

    The type of file system is NTFS

    The new file system is FAT32

    Enter current volume label for drive X: (RIGHT HERE YOU HAVE TO TYPE THE NAME OF YOUR DRIVE YOU CAN LOCATE THE NAME BY GOING TO MY COMPUTER AND WHATEVER NAME YOUR DRIVE IS THAT IS THE VOLUME LABEL)

    Ater you type that is will state Drive x: will be lost

    Proceed ? type yes and there you go it will format your whole drive to FAT32. But it is very slow but you will format the whole drive.

  223. DOS don't work!

    I tried this with a 1TB WD Elements on Windows XP Pro version 2002 SP 3

    C:Documents and Settingsmark>format /FS:FAT32 f:

    [*** asking for ***]

    Enter current volume label for drive F: [ what will i put?]

  224. FWIW, I've had this exact problem multiple times with needing an external hard-drive formatted in FAT32 instead of the out-of-the-box NTFS… After multiple failed formats/reformats, partitioning, etc., I take the disk, plug it into my wife's Mac Powerbook and it says, "Cannot Read Disk, Please Format" (or similar) and then I can select different NTFS formats and also FAT32… Takes about 30 seconds and it's done… How weird is that?? And my disks always work after that, and I can see all of the disk space (just did this yesterday with a 500GB WD ext USB drive)… You might have to "wreck" the formatting by having a failed attempt on a Windows box prior to putting it into a Mac (which I always do) to ensure it prompts you for the format… Hope these ramblings are at least fairly clear… 😛

  225. I downloaded SwissKnife V3.22 from the link you gave, the free version above doesn't have FAT32 option…tried it twice, only FAT16. The premium version might but it is 10 bucks…FYI

  226. Apparently the article is a few years old and things have changed. After playing around a bit I was able to partition my external hard drive into 600GB NTFS, 200GB HFS, 100GB Fat32. I start by making 3 partitions in windows and format the 600GB one into NTFS w/o formatting the other two, then in Mac erase the other two (which reformats them into Fat32) and reformat (i.e. erase and choose the format you want) the 200GB one into Mac's preferred format. Hope that helps.

  227. Thanks so much this really works for my Mac! Super thanks

  228. This was just brilliant, mate!! i was just astounded at this! I almost lost hope for my old mac's files, thank god!! And Thank you, Mate ^_^

  229. please help me i cant find out what the "volume" is. How do I know which volume to format?

  230. I have tried the above, even took 15 hours to try and format in cmd before it told me it was too big to do it…
    Yeah, thanks for those hours I'll never get back!
    Found this solution and I now have my 1TB WD Elements in FAT32 and only minor GB loss…

    ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index.htm?fat32format.htm

    Did it in under 10 seconds and now finally, I'm a happy chappy!
    You all will be too 🙂

  231. tried everything from the first few posts…all failed after about 8 hours…Tokiwa rocked it though! Thanks!

  232. mine said access is denied you do not have sufficient priveleges :S

  233. I don't understand what his sentences meant, but post 18 got my WD 1 TB drive formatted to fat 32 in a few seconds- make sure you click the quick box (i'm not sure what the difference is between quick and not besides time of format, but it worked and didn't do anything bad)

  234. Attention! Ben Wintle's solution is the best for formatting your hard drive into FAT32 format. It worked within seconds! Kudos to him!

  235. Currently trying the first option. The second one did not work for me. When using the quickformat option in Swissknife, the outputted format is still NTFS. If formatting through the commandprompt fails, i'll give Fat32Formatter a try…

    Thnx for this article though, at least i now know how to format with the cmd prompt.

  236. Awesome! It worked! Thank you very much!

  237. Fat32Formatter did it! Have a Maxtor 1tb hard drive for which I couldn't create a fat32 partition for the entire drive. This little software was the only one that allowed me to do it. Now I have a whole 1tb external hard drive for my xbox 360 which recognized it without any problems. Thanks, Will, for your post back on January 29th, 2009 at 3:01 pm.

  238. cmd prompt worked like a charm. Good-bye WD Smartware! Hello Mac/Win compatible FAT 32. Thanks a bunch for the great info!

  239. Hi guys! I'm having trouble formatting my external 320gb to FAT32 via command prompt! the problem is that when i type the command given,then it says "ENTER CURRENT VOLUME LABEL FOR DRIVE H:" AS I REPLACED THE (X) WITH (H)LETTER ..please help me guys "fast" because i need it to play my movies on xbox360 and i am going on vacations in 2 days…!!!!anyone help me please!!!!!!

  240. i'm sick and tired of trying both methods but cmd says it's too big for fat32 and swissknife keeps crashing every time i open it ….can someone please give me a solution????

  241. great article…really helped me alot in formatting! =D

  242. I have a 1tb external hard drive and I would like to make it dos bootable. I have the HP format for a removable disc, but I have been told that I cannot use this HP format for an external 1tb drive as I will have undesired repercussions. If there is a format that can be used, please send me the details.

    Your help would be much appreciated.

    Please assist.

  243. I followed the advice of #11 HerbDoctor. The link no longer worked, but I chose the FAT 32 Formatter link on the left from the following website:

    ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/

    By the way, thanks to HerbDoctor for the tip and Tom Thornhill of Ridgecrop Consultants Ltd for the tool.

  244. I feel your pain, so I'm posting a solution I used. It allowed me to format a FAT32 1TB external hdd in only a few seconds!

    This is where I found a super awesome script (also available in a gui app) for FREE: ridgecrop.demon.co.uk (FAT 32 Formatter link on the left)

    I've been using my 1TB HDD with the PS3 for a couple years now and have been very satisfied with the results. (Except you can expect a performance hit as you begin to load it with content.)

    Make sure to follow the PS3 directory naming rules. This link might help: ps3explained.com/advanced/folder-structure/

    Basically, after you format the HDD, create 3 folders with UPPERCASE names: MUSIC, PICTURE, VIDEO. Then, the PS3 will find your content. If you try naming your PICTURE directory "PHOTOS", for example, the PS3 will not read the contents.

  245. I found an easy to use program on Seagate's website. The have a program called Disc Wizard. Simply install it and when you plug your external drive into a USB port, start up the program. It will show you the external drive and your PC's hard drive in a list. Just highlight the external drive letter and select to erase the files off the external drive. Then, it will ask you what format you want to put on the drive. Simply put a check mark in the box for FAT32 and proceed with the next step. Not even a minute later it will be done. I did this to a Seagate 320 gig GoFlex Free Agent external hard drive. It's real easy to do. I had no trouble figuring out the steps and I have never done this procedure before.

  246. This is the link to anybody who wants to download Disc Wizard by Seagate. Like I said in my previous post, it is super easy to run, and it is a fast program.

    seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?locale=en-US&name=discwizard-eula&vgnextoid=580a5e3ddbf60110VgnVCM100000f5ee0a0aRCRD

  247. I have just bought a WD Elements 2TB HDD and have wasted the day trying to reformat to fat32 for use on my PS3. However it now works thanks to fat32 formatter found at http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/index.html

    Points to note:

    – Unfortunately at the time of writing this the WD elements fat32 formatter found on their website was not compatiable with the 2tb model, however even if it was I hear that you may not be able to partition the whole capacity of the drive, therefore I'd highly recommend Fat32 Formatter!!

    – once the fat32 formatter is open, delete any partition already in place and click update.

    – you can format it so all the available capacity is used (in my case 1.81tb)

    – ensure you click quick format (I don't know the difference between that and the normal way but it still worked and took only 15 seconds. If you don't click quick format you'll literally be there all night and I don't even know if it will work.)

    – once it is complete unplug the drive and plug it back in – after that it should read it as fat32.

    – I then plugged it into my ps3 and it read it after a short delay.

  248. Thank you so much! Bought a 1TB external today, cause I'm upgrading my PS3's 40gb hard drive to 500gb (YEAH BOY!) and i need to be able to back up my files. Of course PS3's only like FAT32! SO thank you so much, you deserve a medal my friend!

    Haha, cheers mate.

  249. I downloaded and purchased the $9.99 SwissKnife program and formatted my new 750GB portable WD hard drive to a FAT35 sucessfully however, The PS3 recongonized the hard drive but when I put music and movies on it…it says "no titles" nothing shows up!!!??? I dont get it!! PLEASE HELP!!!!

  250. SwissKnife worked perfectly for WD NTFS external HD to be formatted to FAT32. Full formatting 300 GB ,not Quick one, have taken 5 houres(Vista SP1).HD works like the young girl. Gorgeous program! WD support site sucks big time! Thank You very very much!

  251. @Jenna you got duped, that program was available for free when this was written. However due to this article the author got so many hits on his website he decided to charge for it. Why buy a program that is problematic at best? Did you not read a single post here?

    Dumb… Sorry. There are many many free tools out there that are FREE and do the same thing, just search. Don't be lazy. The HP one works fine, however you may get some size errors displaying. Free space being taken up etc. The others listed by in other posts probably work just as well.. "PROBLEMATIC AT BEST". If you really want to do this properly, stick your drive on a LINUX machine and format via console. Problem solved. Linux never fails.

  252. People please listen to me, Verbatim FAT32 format utility works flawlessly. I formatted my external drive with this tool, and it did it all in under 10 secs. The drive is used to play music and movies on my PS3. All data on the drive will be deleted, so be sure to make backups of your important files. Works on Vista and Windows 7. This is the link to the site. http://www.verbatim.com/downloads/format.cfm

  253. After trying the other solutions listed here, with no luck, due to compatibility issues with running a new windows 7 system, I followed herbdoctor's solution in post #11, and my WD 500 gb hard drive was formatted into fat32 in a second! works with windows, now works perfectly on my ps3 (remember to press triangle and select view all files to get your videos etc to show) Thank you herbdoctor, and thank you ridgecrop.demon.co.uk!

  254. STOP WASTING YOUR TIME!

    Goto post #96 and do that.

    2 mins no fuss.

  255. seagate disc wizard from seagate website is the easiest program. it does as large a drive as you want. it does any file format you want. and it's just like 2 clicks.

  256. @Jenna #265 – when you go into your playstation at music.. you have to hit triangle and go to display all, then you'll see it. for some reason the ps3 has some dumb glitch.

  257. Thanks to #271. Seagate Disk Wizard (free download) from the Seagate website worked great for my Segate Expansion 1T USB external drive. It took less than 10 seconds to reformat to FAT32. There's an identical program on their website for Maxtor drives. Not sure if those utilities will work with other branded drives. Needed FAT32 format to use the drive with my new Philips DVD player, which has a USB port. Works great now. Thanks.

  258. At Microsoft Headquarters, software engineers have been instructed to remove all code what performs basic checks to see if an operation is even possible.

    For example, even though the size of the HDD will not change when formatting it to FAT32, the engineer is not allowed to waste the 2 nanoseconds of processing time to perform:

    if (size > MAX_FAT32)

    {

    cout>>"The volume is too big for FAT32.n";

    return;

    }

    Why? Because preventing the user from wasting 2 or 3 hours of their life on an operation that the software knew up front was impossible is not the experience Microsoft wants users to have with their products. Microsoft loves maximizing misery and crushing the human spirit. This is why they flipped the gaming community the bird when it came to the RRoD and why so many Microsoft software products enjoy spending loads of time on operations that the software knows up front cannot be completed.

  259. As per the norm (since software engineers fail to appreciate the value in making their software work), the SwissKnife installer will not install under Vista. It will not install as the current user, it will not install as Administrator. It starts the install process and then just gives up. Poof! Gone! Well, it's only gone from the UI because it lingers on in the Task Manager while it goes and does absolutely nothing.

    I'm so sick and tired of these clever programmers and their inability to make their software work.

  260. Wills solution worked on my 2TB WD external hard drive in less that 2 seconds.

    SwissKnife and all other solutions didnt work on a drive of this size.

    Save your time and go straight to thi for a quick effective solution. Would have saved me two hours if i'd known this first of all. Dont forget to delete NTFS partition first in this programme. The Fat32Formatter found at http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/index.html

  261. Tried command prompt: Volume too big
    Tried Swissknife: Program would not even start.
    Tried Partition Magic: BSOD.
    Tried softpedia.com/progDownload/FAT32format-Download-79375.html : Done in five seconds.

  262. Using WindowsXP and a 465GB external hard drive option one above DIDN'T work for me. Option two downloading swissknife from download.cnet.com DID! 🙂

  263. Sorry but I'm still a little confused and am very new to all this. I would like my PS3 to recognize my 1TB (931.51GB used) seagate HD to watch movies. What is the safest option to change NTFS to FAT32 that will keep all my files on the HD as I do not have a backup hard drive.

  264. Ok for those who have probs with losing their terabyte down to 400 mb, the guy who posted comment #43 got it right, i used the windows disk management to put it back to ntfs and then opened it in swiss knife again, where you can see the disk sayingg over 900mb right click and then choose format. I did it

    KH∀ said on : February 11th, 2009 at 1:57 am

    Solution for those who are having trouble with “get 429 GB out of a 1TB External HDD” using :

    Two System of Steps:

    First Steps: Format it to NTFS using WINDOWS –> the control panel–> Administrative Tools –> Computer Management –> Disk Management –> Format all of it to NTFS (I used Quick format)

    Second Steps: Re-Format it to FAT32 using SWISSKNIFE, swissknife will recognize the whole 1TB now –> right click on the NTFS partition –> format –> Format all to FAT32 (also used Quick format)

    First it will not display FAT32 conversion. Unplug the external HD safely, replug it back in pc/latop so it’ll recognize it as FAT32. Finish.

    I found this out after hours….of finding how Not to do it. Just want to share how I did, to save some people time.

  265. People please listen to me, Verbatim FAT32 format utility works flawlessly. I formatted my external drive with this tool, and it did it all in under 10 secs.After waiting four hours for the DOS method to fail The drive is used to record tv on my freesat hd box . All data on the drive will be deleted, so be sure to make backups of your important files. Works on Vista and Windows 7. This is the link to the dowwnload .
    http://www.verbatim-europe.co.uk/en_1/downloads_d

  266. *PS3* Back up – !USE POST #37!

    I needed my Iomega HDD Re-formatting for the purpose of being a PS3 back-up. At first tried the DOS approach without much success; getting the error message after around 3 hours of 'too big for fat32' or something to that effect, as others have done. So tried POST #37; was a bit wary at first, but it worked a treat, followed his instructions and did it in what – less than 2 seconds – make sure to use quick formatting mind. Brilliant, thanks a lot will.

  267. When I try DOS my computer asks me to "Enter Current Volume Label for drive E" What does this mean? I am trying to reformat so I can use my WD 1.5TB EHD on my PS3.

    Can anyone help me?

  268. Verbatim worked in seonds!!! I would recommend that!

  269. Verbatim – nailed it – in seconds. Thank you Peter

    peter said on : August 29th, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    People please listen to me, Verbatim FAT32 format utility works flawlessly. I formatted my external drive with this tool, and it did it all in under 10 secs.After waiting four hours for the DOS method to fail The drive is used to record tv on my freesat hd box . All data on the drive will be deleted, so be sure to make backups of your important files. Works on Vista and Windows 7. This is the link to the dowwnload .
    http://www.verbatim-europe.co.uk/en_1/downloads_d

  270. What do I put for volume label? For a 1 tb hard drive.

  271. The steps we have to execute are elaborated below:

    # STEP 1: Go to “start→run→cmd”

    # STEP 2: “cmd” window will be appeared now.

    # STEP 3: Press “cd..” & then “ENTER” button. Then press these again.

    #STEP 4: Now you’ve entered into drive c://.

    # STEP 5: Now go to pen drive. Let your pen drive is in “i://” drive. Then press “i:”. “Then ENTER”

    # STEP 6: Now write “format i:”. Then press “ENTER”.

    # STEP 7: A confirmation message will appear now for being sure. Press “Y” for yes & then “ENTER”.

    # STEP 8: Now press any name you want to give the pen drive & then “ENTER”.

    # STEP 9: Write “exit” & press “ENTER” to complete your operation.

    # STEP 10: Now use your pen drive safely.

  272. Awsome, now I can continue upgrading my PS3 HDD.

  273. hiirens bootdisk has all the tools you need… google hiirens bootdisk for newest version… awsome tool.. burn it out or put it on a flash drive and no installs needed… weeeeeeeeee

  274. Thank you so much for the advise on how to format my HD. I tried a few things before and it never worked. FAT32formatter did exactly what you said. Took a while but it formatted the entire thing with 0 partitions and is working great! Thanks

  275. Hi all, don’t know if this is still in use or relevant but needed to reformat a couple of Seagate portable (USB) Hard Drives (320 Gb & 500 Gb) for DVR use with a digital TV tuner (set top box) – some boxes limit size of hard drives depending on format so couldn’t go larger & had to use FAT32.

    I use win XP pro so dos format was out. Read this list & decided to try the Ridgecrop utility which claims reformat speed of 4 secs per terabyte & now offers a GUI version – too easy to believe. Downloaded the GUIformat utility from ****** to C:\ root directory – plugged in portable drive (NTFS formatted by default) – clicked on ” Guiformat ” in C:\ – 2 seconds, job done – with slight hiccup that error message showed ‘volume label too long’. Default label was too long, cut it to 11 characters, instant success- Enjoy!

  276. Thanks very much for very helpful hints, that helped me to reformat an external disk to FAT32 required for satellite receiver with recording function. DOS did not work, but the Verbatim tool worked fine. Thanks again.

  277. I spent 3 days trying to format my 1TB external hard drive to FAT32 via Command Prompt for my PS3 and it kept failing saying it the volume was too large, every time reducing the size to no prevail…. then I read this post, downloaded SMARTDISK and it did it in – what, 30 seconds? Thank you for this info! Let the gaming commence!!

  278. hi there. my external hard drive has a problem. it shows on my computer as local disk F and i have tried accessing it to format it through the command prompt and through computer management and all it doees is that it slows down the whole system and i have even waited for a few hours, nothing shows up on the cmd or the computer management tab. once i unplug, everything becomes fast as usual and the other drives on the computer show up nicely. since it slows down the system, I cannot get to format it through any means i know of. can you please help me i just need to format it, i don’t care anymore about the files on it, i just need to have it working again. thank you

  279. Can you format a 32gb flash drive doing this?

  280. THANKYOU!

    My cheap set-top box will only read/record FAT32. I had tried re-formatting before and ended up with Microsoft’s same-old 32Gb limit partition (Boo!!).

    The Verbatim (SmartDisk) software worked like a charm for me!
    WD 500Gb portable drive re-formatted in less than 20 seconds via Windows 7. Then all I had to do was remove and plug the drive back in for it to be recognised by the pc.

    Very happy.

  281. It worked for me. was trying to back up my PS3 system so I can change out the hard drive. PS3 finally recognized the hard drive. now its backing up yay!

  282. Thankyou so much for this info, other places i checked didn’t work or couldn’t answer the issue. this was simple and straight forward. Much appreciated!

  283. I wish I had seen your tip on the Verbatim formatting tool. I could have been done hours ago. Thanks.

  284. Thanks for the info.
    The verbatim utility formatted the HDD OK.
    Now see if it works in my old Freeview box.

    Next task format an external SSD.

    Does not seem to be identified as a USB disk in Windows 7 or XP or Ubuntu.

  285. I have just formatted my WD Elements 3TB (actually 2.7) HDD using FAT32Format. I took the advice of the author of this article and did not check the ‘Quick Format’ box and the operation took 30 hours. Result= I now have a 3TB HDD perfectly formatted in FAT32 with no loss of space and can now store all my films on it and watch them on my TV via the USB port.
    Brilliant article and many thanks to the author.

  286. Strange that the author of this article dumped my post of 31/12/13 when I thanked him for his advice.

    I didn’t say anything rude so why was I moderated?

    Once again, thanks for the advice.

  287. Thank-YOU!!!! The Verbatim Tool works like a charm!!

  288. Verbatim – Nice Simple app that gets the job done in no time – free of spyware

    Many Thanks for a clear concise article

  289. Thank you so much! You’re the boss.
    Windows CMD didn’t work for me, neither Verbatim SmartDisk FAT32 Utility.
    FAT32Format was the one that saved me.

  290. Thank you so much. I used SmartDisk to format raw to fat32 and its working great.

  291. Great info on FAT32! Really appreciate it. Makes things very easy. Using on a 1TB WD USB for playing direct to USB on Marantz Receiver for FLAC files

    Mike Hope

  292. Thanks for sharing. Just a note, the DOS mode in Win 8 still does not convert the exfat to fat32. Ended up using the verbatim utility. No brainer software.

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