Overview FAT32 File System
The FAT32 file system is relatively old, has many limitations such as low security, and is no longer suitable for modern mainstream operating systems. But as long as you don’t plan to use a single file over 4GB in size, it’s fine as an external drive file system format for use across devices and operating systems. If you really need to use larger individual files, then NTFS and exFAT are more suitable.
Major operating systems and most devices currently support FAT32, making it a drive that needs to be accessed between different systems. However, due to the specification limitations introduced by the manufacturer on the file system, FAT32 can only format external drives such as USB flash drives between 2GB and 32GB in size.
Many users have noticed that Windows 10 format utility doesn’t let you format USB drives larger than 32GB to the FAT32 file system by default. In fact, the FAT32 file system theoretically supports a space limit of 16TB, and most single external drives are currently only 8TB, so it is also feasible to use FAT32 to format a USB drive with a space larger than 32GB.
The following article content will introduce two methods to format a 32GB+ USB drive to FAT32 in Windows and a method to prevent data loss.
Methods to Format USB to FAT3
Method 1:Use Command Prompt to Format USB to FAT32
Formatting the drive will delete all data on the drive. Please back up all data to another location before proceeding. If you want to convert your drive from NTFS to FAT32 without losing data, use the data recovery tool mentioned below.
- Type CMD in the Start search field, and click the Run as administrator option to open Command Prompt.
- At the Command Prompt window, type in the following command and press the Enter key. (X is the drive letter of the USB drive that you want to format to the FAT32 file system):
Format /FS:FAT32 X:
Method 2: Use FAT32 Format Tool to Format USB to FAT32
If you don’t want to use the Command Prompt, you can download FAT32 Format, which is a free program that enables people to configure any hard drive, micro SD card, SD card, and USB drive that is more than 32 GB to the FAT32 file system.
- Download and run FAT32 Format utility.
- Select your USB drive and the Quick format option.
- Then click the Start button to begin formatting the drive to the FAT32 file system, and all data on the drive will be erased.
Format USB to FAT32 without Losing Data
As we mentioned, formatting will erase all the data in the USB drive. So it is recommended that you make a backup beforehand. If you forget to back up or just don’t have a storage device with enough space, you can also choose professional data recovery software after formatting like Bitwar Data Recovery Software.
This article shows you two methods to format a 32G+ USB drive to FAT32 and a tool to fix data loss caused by formatting: Bitwar Data Recovery Software. If you have a better method, let us know in the comments.