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How to Convert NTFS to FAT32 Without Losing Data

Updated by Tracy King on Aug 27, 2021
Written by Brithny

NTFS and FAT32 are two types of file systems used in Windows operating system. In the following, you'll learn the differences between NTFS and FAT32, when to use NTFS or FAT32, and how to convert NTFS to FAT32 or vice versa.

NTFS vs. FAT32, Which Is Better

FAT32 is one of the oldest file system variants of FAT, used in earlier versions of the operating system such as DOS and Windows version before XP. Till now, FAT32 is still serving Windows users as the default format for some external storage devices such as SD memory cards, and USB flash drives.

NTFS is a newer file system after FAT, developed by Microsoft. NTFS, known as NT File System, is the default file system of the Windows NT family, including the latest Windows operating system.

Here is a comparison table between NTFS and FAT32, you can see more details between them:

Features NTFS FAT32
Maximum Volume Size
  • 16TB -  16 EiB: Windows 11/10/8 (GPT)
  • 16TB - Windows 7 (GPT)
  • 2TB - Windows XP (MBR)

 

32GB - 2TB
Maximum File Size 16TB 4GB

Accordingly, FAT32 supports up to 4GB file and 2TB max volume size. In other words, you can only save single files smaller than 4GB to a FAT32 device. NTFS supports up to 16TB single file with 2 - 4 TB volume size in practice. 

So which is better? Actually, as two widely used file systems on Windows PC, you can't directly say which one is better and which is not that good.

Due to different purposes, you will need to use a different file system for a Windows partition or external storage device partition, which is something we'll discuss in the next part.

When to Use NTFS or FAT32

Here are two cases that people posted online, looking for a way to convert NTFS to FAT32:

Case 1 - 

"The USB Drive is NTFS, but the BIOS file won't be recognized by the computer. To resolve the issue, I need to convert the USB Drive format from NTFS to FAT32."

Case 2 -

"I wanna back up my system partition and it is an NTFS partition. However, the backup application I use doesn't support NFTS and only FAT is supported. So I need to convert NTFS to FAT32."

So when do you should use NTFS or FAT32? Here, we listed some common usages of NTFS and FAT32 that can help you to determine whether you need NTFS or FAT32:

  • To set the drive for installing Windows, NTFS is the best for Windows 11/10/8/7 and newer OS. FAT32 is for old OS (Windows XP and older).
  • To transfer files on a non-Windows OS, FAT32 is the best choice. (As long as your file sizes are smaller than 4GB.)
  • To set the best file system for your external storage device such as USB, SD card, etc, which are smaller than 64GB, FAT32 is the best.
  • To set a default file system for most game controllers or game drives, FAT32 is the best. exFAT takes second place.

Obviously, FAT32 is wildly used especially on external storage devices and file transfer. So how to change the file system from NTFS to FAT32?

NTFS to FAT32 Converters Free Download

Here the following, we'll cover 4 FAT32 formatted that will help you effectively convert NTFS to FAT32 with ease.

Important
It is recommended that you back up the important data to a secure location in advance as most NTFS to FAT32 converters require formatting.
 You can use free backup software to back up important data.

All the four NTFS to FAT32 converters support all Windows OS, including Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista, etc. The former converter is, the better it works to change the file system of your device.

Pick up the desired tool and follow the tutorial below to convert your device from NTFS to FAT32 with ease now.

Method 1. Convert NTFS to FAT32 with EaseUS Partition Master

Best for: Windows Beginners

Difficulty Level: Extremely easy

Capacity Limit: None

The easiest way is to use a third-party NTFS to the FAT32 format tool. EaseUS partition magic tool can help you do this job easily. It is a powerful tool that allows you to change the file system between NTFS and FAT32. 

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The software works perfectly in Windows 11, 10, 8, 8.1, 7, XP, and Vista. It does more than simply formatting NTFS device to FAT32. It also supports to:

  • Support other file systems, including exFAT, FAT16, Ext2/3/4, etc.
  • Supports to Convert FAT/FAT32 to NTFS without formatting, no data loss.
  • Supports formatting 64GB/128GB UBS to FAT32 without limit.
  • Supports advanced features, including resizing partition, converting a disk to MBR/GPT, transferring OS, etc.

After backing up data, you can start to convert NTFS to FAT32 by formatting your device then. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Right-click target device partition and select "Advanced" > "Convert to FAT".

Step 2. When the check process completes, click "Continue" to start NTFS to FAT32 conversion.

Step 3. Click "Finish" to save all changes. 

Method 2. Change NTFS to FAT32 using Windows File Explorer

Best for: Windows Beginners

Difficulty Level: Easy

Capacity Limit: Device should be 32GB or smaller

As for most Windows users, another easy way to change NTFS to FAT32 is using Windows built-in FAT32 formatter - Windows File Explorer.

It's efficient and easy. Let's see how to format your storage device to FAT32:

Step 1. Connect your hard drive or external storage device to Windows PC.

Step 2. Double-click This PC/My computer to open File Explorer.

Step 3. Locate and right-click on the USB drive, select "Format".

Step 4. Set the FAT32 as the target file system, tick "Quick Format" and click "Start" to start the formatting.

Finish the formatting.

When you finish the formatting, click "OK" to confirm. Now, your device is with FAT32.

Method 3. Format NTFS to FAT32 Using Disk Management

Best for: Experienced Windows users

Difficulty Level: Medium

Capacity Limit: Device should be 32GB or smaller

The other method is to use Disk Management. Note that the FAT32 option will be unavailable in the drop-down box if the drive size you desire to format is larger than 32GB (Windows limitation). Also, back up data before your operations.

How can I convert the USB Drive format from NTFS to FAT32?

1. Right-click "This PC" or "My Computer" and click "Manage",  click "Disk Management".

select disk management and choose format

2. Choose your USB Drive, right click the drive and choose "Format". Click "Yes".

3. Name the drive and select the file system as "FAT32". Click "OK".

4. You can find the format is FAT32.

convert to fat32 using disk management

When the formatting completes, you can find the format is FAT32 displaying in Disk Management.

Method 4. Format NTFS Device to FAT32 via DiskPart

Best for: Experienced or advanced users, administrators

Difficulty Level: Hard

Capacity Limit: Device should be 32GB or smaller

Unlike Windows File Explorer and Disk Management, DiskPart does more jobs than merely formatting devices. It also executes some advanced management jobs on Windows and Windows Server machines.

To use the DiskPart command line to change the file system to FAT32, you need to be very careful with the following steps:

Connect the storage device that you need to convert from NTFS to FAT32 to your PC.

Step 1. Type cmd in Windows Search, right-click on Command Prompt and select "Run as administrator".

launch cmd to to format hdd to fat32

Step 2. Type diskpart into the Command Prompt window and hit Enter.

diskpart format hdd to fat32 step 1

Step 3. Type the following command lines and hit Enter each time:

  • list disk
  • select disk 0(Replace 0 with the disk number of your target device)
  • list volume
  • select volume 2(Replace 2 with the volume number of your device)
  • format fs=fat32 quick

Step 4. When the formatting process completes, type exit to close DiskPart.

After this, your device is now with FAT32. 

The Bottom Line

On this page, we explained what is NTFS, what is FAT32, and when to use NTFS or FAT32. As FAT32 obtains higher compatibility, we also provided 4 NTFS to FAT32 converters to help you change the file system of your device from NTFS to FAT32 with ease. 

Note that before you convert to FAT32, copy your data to another drive or use backup and recovery software to back up data. 

If you prefer an easy and effective FAT32 formatter, especially to format big devices (more than 32GB) to FAT32, EaseUS Partition Master is always ready to help.

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People Also Ask

1. Can NTFS convert to fat32?

Yes, you can convert NTFS to fat32. But the common-used Windows built-in tools (Disk Management, Window File Explorer) only allows you to convert NTFS to FAT32 by reformatting this partition. Of course, that will cause data loss. Don't worry, try EaseUS Partition Master without formatting or data loss.

2. Is NTFS better than fat32?

Which is better? Actually, as two widely used file systems on Windows PC, you can't directly say which one is better and which is not that good. FAT32 supports up to 4GB file and 2TB max volume size. In other words, you can only save single files smaller than 4GB to a FAT32 device. NTFS supports up to 16TB single file with 2 - 4 TB volume size in practice. 

3. How can I convert NTFS to fat32 without formatting?

  • Launch EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the partition you intend to format and choose "Format".
  • Choose the FAT32 file system, and set the cluster size according to your needs, 
  • Then click "OK".

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Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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Written by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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