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How to format 500 GB FAT32 partition in Windows 7

Posted on 2014-12-09
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Can someone tell me how to format a FAT32 partition for an external hard-drive larger than 32 GB using Windows 7?
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Question by:scottjnorris
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16 Comments
 
LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:Experienced Member
ID: 40490270
I am not sure what the upper limit for FAT32 is, but I think it is around or less than 100GB. For 500Gb, you need to format NTSF. I have a 1TB external hard drive and it is NTFS and works just fine. Why would you need FAT32?

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/windows-and-office/format-fat32-drives-beyond-32gb-limit/
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Author Comment

by:scottjnorris
ID: 40490297
I've seen external hard drives with 320 & 500 GB partitions formatted as FAT32
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:Experienced Member
ID: 40490303
FAT32 is an insecure, ancient and very breakable way to format a disk. It died before I was born. What will it do that NTFS will not do?
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Author Comment

by:scottjnorris
ID: 40490304
I've seen external hard drives with 320 & 500 GB partitions formatted as FAT32
They are inter-changeable between Apple and Windows
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:Experienced Member
ID: 40490314
Try the following article. Note it says it took the person 5 hours for a 500GB drive.

Good luck!

http://geekdrop.com/content/how-to-format-hard-drive-to-fat32-in-windows-7-or-vista-or-in-general
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:Network Zero
ID: 40490317
Even though you can format it to 500GB you will only be able to use 4GB of those 500GB at time what I mean is if you put any files bigger then 4GB it would let you due to fat32. you fill the drive with 100's of 3GB files as long as you dont go over 4GB in EACH FILE.

Here's the referance behind it:
You get this when backing up data that exceed 4GB to a FAT32 System. Fat 32 has in inherent limit to the maximum size of any file you load to a disk which is 4 GB.

the simple fix is NTFS
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Author Comment

by:scottjnorris
ID: 40490323
I've seen external two Western Digital Passport external 2.5"  hard drives with 320 & 500 GB partitions formatted as FAT32 respectively.
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Author Comment

by:scottjnorris
ID: 40490329
I don't mind the 4 GB file size limit as long as I can use the same external drive to transfer files between OSX and Window 7
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:Experienced Member
ID: 40490330
I gave you the instructions above to proceed as you wish.
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Author Comment

by:scottjnorris
ID: 40490332
I don't mind the 4 GB file size limit as long as I can use the same external drive to transfer files between OSX and Window 7 ; without the 32 GB partition limit
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LVL 7

Accepted Solution

by:
Network Zero earned 400 total points
ID: 40490333
Scott check out this video, you can have it done in under 3 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxF6dYhNWM0
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LVL 12

Assisted Solution

by:Sommerblink
Sommerblink earned 400 total points
ID: 40490411
You could also format it with ExFAT That is also compatible with Mac OS 10.6.5 and greater.
It also solves other peoples' concerns about the single maximum file size. It is huge with ExFAT.
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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 400 total points
ID: 40490423
There's no issue with formatting with FAT32 on any drive up to 2TB.    The only restriction is the 4GB file size limit (which you're clearly aware of).

The reason the DOS-based format took such a long time in the example noted above is that the user didn't use the /Q option (for "quick format) ... so it did a complete format ... the same thing would be true even if you were formatting in NTFS in Windows.

For previous OS's the tool I like was SwissKnife (an excellent free utility) ... but it doesn't work in Windows 7.    For Windows 7, just use this little utility (but be sure to check the "Quick Format) box):
http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index.htm?guiformat.htm
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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

by:Eirman
Eirman earned 400 total points
ID: 40490652
A reason to use FAT32 .....
Some media players and many Terrestrial/Satellite receivers/recorders (and older smart TVs)
only work with FAT32
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LVL 14

Assisted Solution

by:JohnnyCanuck
JohnnyCanuck earned 400 total points
ID: 40490708
Gparted will also partition and format a FAT32 disk (among many other file systems) in no time flat.  Lve bootable CD here:

http://gparted.org/livecd.php
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40491696
Scottjnorris, format the drive as NTFS and for MacOSX use a NTFS for MacOSX driver: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/
Once installed you will not have problema in file size or data write/read on both Windows and MacOsX.
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