FAT32 is one of the most common and universal file formats for drives. Follow the steps below to format your drive to FAT32 format in Windows 10.
Recent versions of Windows no longer show FAT32 as a format option for drives larger than 32 GB. For example, if you have a 64 GB flash drive attached, Windows will not show the FAT32 option when you try to format it.
This is because this file format is outdated and has serious limitations. For example, a drive formatted with FAT32 cannot store individual files larger than 4GB. As you can guess, this is a serious limitation since most video files can be larger than 4 GB, depending on their length and video quality.
The file size limitation is one of the reasons why USB drives must be formatted in the NTFS file system format while creating a boot drive for Windows. We need to take a different path than the “right-click-and-> format” option we are all familiar with. Here’s how to do it.
IMPORTANT: Back up the data on the drive before formatting. Formatting will permanently erase all data.
FAT32 Disk Format Command
<0a one-line command prompt can be used to format a large disk in fat32 format.
Since we are using the Command Prompt, we need to know the drive letter of the USB drive before formatting. This is because we need the drive letter to target the drive. Once you have the drive letter, use it to format the drive to FAT32.
1. First, connect the USB drive and open File Explorer. In File Explorer, identify the USB drive and write down the drive letter. You will need it for the next step.
2. Once you have the drive letter, open “Command Prompt” from the Start menu. Or, run
cmd command .
3. You can also do this. In the Command Prompt window, run the following command. Be sure to replace “Drive_Letter” with the actual drive letter. In my case, the drive letter is
4. Depending on the size of the drive, the formatting process may take longer.
5. After the FAT32 formatting is complete, you will be prompted to enter a drive name. Enter a name there and press
You have successfully formatted the drive in FAT32 file system format.
Format the drive in FAT32 format using PowerShell
Similar to the command window, it is possible to format the drive in FAT32 format using PowerShell. Find and open PowerShell from the Start menu.
2. In the PowerShell window, replace Drive_Letter with the actual USB drive letter and execute the following command. Depending on the size of the drive, it may take some time to format it. This is because the above command does not perform a quick format.
4. When formatting is complete, you will be prompted to enter a new drive name. Enter the new device name and press Enter.
5. As soon as you press Enter, the message “Format Complete” will appear.
That is all.
Using a third-party free application
If you are not comfortable using the command line or PowerShell, try using a free and portable software called FAT32 format.
1. First, download the FAT32 format software from the official website and run the downloaded exe file. Since this is portable software, installation is not required.
2. On the main screen, select the drive you wish to format to FAT32. In my case, I want to format a USB drive to FAT32 format. That is why I selected this drive.
3. If necessary, you can rename the drive by entering a new name in the Volume Lable field. After this, click the “Start” button.
4. You will get a warning message that you will lose all data on the drive you are trying to format. Click the “Yes” button to continue.
That is all.
As you can see, formatting a drive in FAT32 format is very easy.
We hope this simple and easy guide to working with Windows has been helpful to you.
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