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how to format a USB 2TB external drive in FAT32 format (from Windows or linux) to use on linux

Posted on 2010-09-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi there,
Not so sure if I place this question in the right categoty.  If not, please let me know.

I got an usb external hard drive in NTFS format with size of 2TB.  I need to use it on linux, but linux needs the drive to be in FAT32 format.

How do I format that drive to FAT32 (2 TB capacitity) so that I can use it with linux?   I'm willing to consider commands or software on Windows or linux.

Best regards,

Reggie
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Question by:asugri
5 Comments
 
LVL 3

Accepted Solution

by:
jcparedes earned 125 total points
ID: 33667964
Try this app: FAT32Format http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/guiformat.htm

But i would recommend to add ntfs support for your linux box because the performance of a 2TB FAT32 HDD isn't going to be good.
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LVL 34

Assisted Solution

by:Duncan Roe
Duncan Roe earned 42 total points
ID: 33670474
Linux mkdosfs will create FAT32 by default. Modern Linux kernels (can) have read / write NTFS though.
Under Windows:
format /fs:fat32/q/y F:
(assuming you wanted a quick format with no query to proceed and your USB drive showed up as F:)
Or, you can format from within diskpart. When in diskpart, if you clean the drive and then create primary, it will be bootable (will need ntldr or bootmgr, plus associated files and folders). diskpart has good help once invoked
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LVL 3

Assisted Solution

by:T1750
T1750 earned 83 total points
ID: 33670779
Do you know Linux can write to NTFS now too? The project is called ntfs-3g

Alternatively, there is a windows driver available that can read and write ext4 if you google for it.
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LVL 3

Assisted Solution

by:T1750
T1750 earned 83 total points
ID: 33670786
Under linux you should be able to format the disk quite easily by running mkfs.vfat, but it's a bad idea you should use NTFS or ext4.
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Author Comment

by:asugri
ID: 33674475
Thanks a lot for all the provided info.  To be honest, I'm not too good in linux.  So I tried the suggestion posted by JCPAREDES first.  guiformat.exe that I downloaded worked perfectly.  At this moment, I will use this 2TB drive in FAT32 first although there might be performance issue as you folks mentioned.

I'm willing to try other things on our linux box running SLES9 with filesystem ext3.  I did try mkdosfs but it was not easy for me.  "format /FS:FAT32 f:" on widows did not work (at least from Windows 7).   For linux commands to format 2TB with FAT32, providing more detail info would be apprecited.

Thanks again.
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