Formatting A Large Capacity Drive To FAT32

Sometimes you need to format a hard drive to the FAT32 format – for example, the PS3 and PS4 needs connected drives to be in this format. The problem for Windows owners is that it won’t give FAT32 as a formatting option if the drive capacity is over 32GB. But that’s not to say it won’t work – it will – you just need to find alternative means.

If you know what you’re doing with DOS then the simplest solution is to use the FORMAT command. For example…

format /FS:FAT32 X:

Where X: is the drive you’re wanting to format. I’d read that at 1TB and above even DOS will complain, however I found that it wouldn’t even work with a 512Mb drive.

The alternative solution is to use a free program – Verbatim FAT32 Tool, Fat32Formatter or FAT32 Formatter are all recommended.

If you’re using a Mac then simply open Disk Utility, select your external drive in the list on the left of the Disk Utility window, and click “Erase”. Select “MS-DOS (FAT)” as your file format, name the volume, and click the “Erase” option.

Posted by David Artiss

Enterprise Happiness Engineer for the WordPress VIP team at Automattic. Gamer, film lover and general fan of all things Marvel, Star Trek and Star Wars. Failed comedian. Writer for The Big Tech Question. World's Greatest Grandma.

1 Reply to “Formatting A Large Capacity Drive To FAT32”

  1. […] won’t let you – it tries to enforce it’s own NTFS onto large drives. There are solutions to this, […]


  2. […] external USB drive should be formatted as FAT32 (how do I do this?). I’ve found that the PS4 will also recognise exFAT (I use that format when saving videos, […]


  3. Jim Duppenthaler 7th July 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Do not use Fat32Formatter! It initialized the wrong disc. I specified E: and it wiped D: A very amateurish and dangerous program. Luckily I keep backups.


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