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How to format 1TB drive to FAT32

By dangeon ยท 74 replies
Aug 18, 2008
  1. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

  2. lcwolfman

    lcwolfman TS Rookie Posts: 21

    Well, I have no problem admitting when I am wrong.. After doing a little more research the dos format command will not format any drive 1tb or larger in fat32.. I have formatted 320gb drives using the same method so I am not sure of the exact cut off point.. I am not sure if I am allowed to post links but there is a free program called fat32formatter by TOKIWA that will format the drive (I just checked it out myself)
  3. Babyboi

    Babyboi TS Rookie

    so there's a utility to format to fat32 for a western digital media, is there a utility that i can use to format my 1TB Seagate Barracuda? iv'e been trying to format it to fat32 for a while but i was never able to do it
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    windows does not make this easy. Other platforms (eg Linux) will make it much easier
    to achieve

    HOWEVER, Fat32 on a 1TB partition is going to make a MASSIVE Clump size and waste megabytes of space.

    if you can be sure that only Linux or Windows systems will be used, then just use the
    NTFS and life gets much simpler.
  5. lcwolfman

    lcwolfman TS Rookie Posts: 21

    The program I mentioned fat32formatter should format any make of drive.. The 1tb drive I formatted using this program in fat32 was using SATA so im not sure if there would be a difference in trying a IDE drive though I doubt it.. They are right though about the cluster size.. Only use fat32 if you must, such has with a gaming console which usually dont support ntfs..
  6. arkantos

    arkantos TS Member Posts: 46

    you can try partition magic 9.0, it has the feature to convert fat32 to ntfs or vice versa. it took 30 mins. on my 160gb hardisk.
  7. broganreynik

    broganreynik TS Rookie

    How massive are we talking? How many megabytes?
  8. Punkid

    Punkid TS Guru Posts: 421

    i think the you should also try and look for a new firmware for your dvd palyer which MIGHT be able to play stuff off an NTFS drive....cuz a dvd player that cant access NTFS is just stupid cuz FAT32 cant handle files over 4 gb so that means u cant have a backed up DVD on it :S

    this is what wikipedia say about fat32
    Max file size 4 GB minus 1 byte (or volume size if smaller)

    so it cant hold DVD backups or HD movies either
  9. teklord

    teklord TS Guru Posts: 482

    Why would you want to use Fat32 on a 1TB hard drive? There is a long litany of apps you can't put on the HDD because of the limitations of Fat32. I had a 1TB external HDD and the first thing I did was convert it to NTFS before putting anything on it. I wouldn't expect to be able to recover data if I changed the format for any reason.
  10. Punkid

    Punkid TS Guru Posts: 421

    na teklord, data recovery is easy
  11. JerkyJoey

    JerkyJoey TS Rookie

    Me too!

    I was having this same problem!

    I bought the Western Digital My Book 1TB and it came as FAT32. My samsung dvd player with USB was reading all the folders etc fine. I backed up the drive and switched it to NTSC and put all the movies/music etc back on there and now the samsung USB couldnt read anything.

    Only solution that is suppose to work but doesnt work for me so far as mentioned previous, but updated link:


    I also am getting the error others are getting when using the tool.
  12. JerkyJoey

    JerkyJoey TS Rookie

    Ok my solution (untested with dvd player but it shows the drive as FAT32 now) is download the program mentioned FAT32format here: www(dot)softpedia(dot)com/get/System/Hard-Disk-Utils/FAT32format.shtml

    Then extract the zip file to your hard drive which probably is C:

    open the start menu in windows, in the search bar, type cmd

    which will open a command prompt

    Then type C:/fat32format.exe F:

    Where F: is the drive letter you want to format. Be sure its the right one cause it will delete everything. It is not converting the file architect it is really formatting it to the new architecture.

    I believe caps are necessary for calling the program so if it happens to be FAT32Format.exe when you download it then you have to call it case sensitive. But Im pretty sure they'll keep it all lowercase for ease.

    My 1TB western digital my book was empty and formatted in like 10 seconds to FAT32. Awesome!

    Worked for me where the Western Digital tool produced an error like others have gotten.
  13. abrogard

    abrogard TS Rookie

    I'm looking to do the same thing.

    I've got an external 1 Terabyte with data on it and I want to convert it to NTFS but I'm worried about boundaries and finishing up with 512byte clusters.

    So I'm interested in this gparted thing and have downloaded it. But I'm a tad confused. Is it for Windows? Or only for Linux? Or is that you make a CD which is a Linux boot CD but will explore your Windows setup okay?

    I'm proceeding on that latter basis but perhaps if I'm going wrong someone will jump in and set me right before I go much further...

    and I think if I go ahead and finish up with 512 clusters it is not the end of the world, anyway, they can be changed to larger simply enough, without losing data?

  14. hughva

    hughva TS Rookie Posts: 58

    The WD site says:
    " The FAT32 formatter software is only for older external single drive units and can only format a drive that is 1TB and below. It will not work on an external drive that is greater than 1TB in size. It also may not work on models released after 2007."
    None of this explains why, "it cant be read by my DVD player".
    DVD players don't play movies on a hard drive anyway, they only play DVD/CD, so something is missing here.
  15. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    Its a bootable cd that launches gparted from a version of linux. It will read/play with your windows partitions just fine.

    hughva - some dvd players allow you to hook up things to them via USB, but most have to read from a FAT32 partition.
  16. nazartp

    nazartp TS Enthusiast Posts: 178   +12

    Nope, quite a few models of both DVD players and TV sets now have ability to connect external hard drives and play media from those. Nothing is lost here. What's baffling is that the manufacturer of the DVD player never updated the firmware to read NTFS.
  17. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    They likely didn't do NTFS because its not an open format as far as I know, so since they are selling the device they would likely have to pay Microsoft a licensing fee.
  18. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    That assumption, as well, is incorrect.
    The drive will work in the way that it is formatted... If anything else is read on an NTFS file, then so is the file you seek.
    You have damage or install problems with the optical drive you are using, or with the software that handles DVD, movies, images, or other programs...

    Your optical drive (DVD, CD, etc) is it new?

    NTFS is an open format if used on a Windows computer.
  19. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    Indeed. But we are talking about a standalone DVD player with a USB connection reading off an external hard drive. Not a Windows machine.
  20. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Then tell us how you think it is an NTFS equipment,, brand and model
  21. nazartp

    nazartp TS Enthusiast Posts: 178   +12

    Just checked my own manuals. I've got an older model of the BlueRay player and the stupid thing only supports flash devices. My Samsung TV though can work with external USB hard drives formatted in FAT, FAT32 and NTFS. So, I presume, Samsung has a license to use NTFS. I need to actually try hooking up a hard drive to my BlueRay, they may have brought the functionality with the firmware update.
  22. Jimjj

    Jimjj TS Rookie

    To answer the original question of how to format a 1TB WD drive to FAT32 (Yes, it is possible). If you want a Screenshot of it, I'll be happy to send.

    You need another program to do it, Windows will NOT allow you to do it, that much is true. Follow the below link and DL Easeus Partition Master. This will have your entire 1TB drive formatted to FAT32 in seconds.

    well, since I don't have 5 posts yet, it won't let me post the URL....

    URL to come in 5 posts.

    and finally the URL

  23. bluestreak95

    bluestreak95 TS Rookie

    i just use my windows cd to format
  24. z0z0

    z0z0 TS Rookie

    Why use FAT32?

    XBox 360 does not read NTFS
    PS3 does not read NTFS

    If you want to play videos off external drives via USB then you must have drive formatted in FAT32.

    The funny thing about XBox 360 is that it will read HPFS (Mac format) for large file sizes but it will not read NTFS. How silly is that?
  25. entropyrising

    entropyrising TS Rookie

    Agreed that leaving the drive NFTS would be a much easier solution; but as ZoZo mentioned, some of us are in a situation where we need the drive to be FAT32 to operate for the purposes we need it to.

    I have a PS3 and the PS3 will not read NFTS, only FAT32. I use a 2TB external drive, formatted to FAT 32, to hold all my movies, tv shows, music, and photos, which all can be played/displayed on my TV through the PS3.

    I just bought a second 2TB drive as a back-up so I wouldnt lose everything on the first 2TB, if anything happened to it.

    When I formatted the the first 2TB drive to FAT32, it was running for about a half hour when I accidently hit "abort" and it stopped the process. I noticed though, the drive was then reading as "FAT32", was readable by the PS3 (or any other computer, etc.), and I was able to transfer all my media (just under 1TB at that time) onto the drive without complications. I've since added more media on it since then and now at about 1.5 TB full with still no problems.

    With my new second (back-up) 2TB drive, im wondering if I should repeat the "accidental abort" process while the drive is being formatted to FAT32, as it will be considerably less time - and have seen no ill effects from it happening to the first drive. I did test the "accidental abort" process on the new drive, and it does read as FAT32 (like the last one); just worried of possible future consequences, as the drive was not formatted "properly".

    My question: Can anyone tell me of a reason not to do this, or any possible problems in the future from doing this? It seems the first 2TB drive is working just fine with the accidental abort during the FAT32 formatting. Was able to transfer all media on to it afterwards and works just fine.

    Thanks for any help...
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