Format USB Flash Drive/External Hard Drive to FAT32 in Windows 10

Daisy updated on Apr 22, 2019 to Partition Master | How-to Articles

Cannot format USB or external hard drive to FAT32 in Windows 10

Mostly, people would like to format a USB flash drive or external hard drive to NTFS. But sometimes, you may want to format a USB flash drive or external hard drive to FAT32 in Windows 10 for some reasons, like making the USB or external hard drive faster when writing mostly large files to it or ensuring the compatibility with non-Windows operating systems.

But the problem is that the max partition size of FAT32 is 32GB, which means you can only format devices smaller than 32GB into this file system. From the chart below, you'll have a better understanding of why you can't format USB or external hard drive (more than 32GB) to FAT32:

Comparison of FAT and NTFS

Windows 10 Disk Management tool also can't do this on a USB drive or hard drive which is bigger than 32GB. Fortunately, this page will show you how to do it by using CMD command line and professional Windows 10 FAT 32 format tool

Notice:
Formatting a USB drive or external hard drive will remove all existing files on the device. Please make sure you have backed up files before formatting to avoid further data loss.

Format to FAT32 using CMD command line (Free)

A simple and free way to format your flash drive or external hard drive to FAT32 in Windows 10 is using CMD command line. It's a built-in tool in Windows, enabling you to format, create, delete, extend, and shrink partitions without rebooting the system.

Please be careful while using CMD for FAT32 formatting with the following steps: 

Step 1: Type command prompt in Windows 10 search bar or right-click on "Windows icon" > select "Search", and type cmd.

Step 2: Right-click on "Command Prompt" and select "Run as Administrator". 

Open Command Prompt to format device .

Step 3: Type the command format fs=fat32 quick at the prompt and hit "Enter". 

Windows 10 will begin formatting the USB flash drive or external hard drive into FAT32.

Step 4: Type exit when the process has completed.

Use EaseUS Windows 10 FAT32 formatting tool (Easier & Safer)

If you prefer a safer and easier way to format your USB flash drive or external hard drive to FAT32, you can try a professional third-party Windows 10 FAT32 formatting tool. We recommend you try EaseUS partition manager with its Format partition feature. Now, download and install this tool on your computer, then follow the steps to get things done.

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

 

Step 1: Launch EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the partition on your external hard drive/USB/SD card which you want to format and choose the "Format" option.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 1

Step 2: Assign a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click "OK".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 2

Step 3: In the Warning window, click "OK" to continue.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 3

Step 4: Click the "Execute Operation" button in the top-left corner to review the changes, then click "Apply" to start formatting your external hard drive/USB/SD card.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 4

Smaller cluster size makes less wasting of disk space. The smaller the cluster size is, the bigger file allocation table (FAT) will be. The bigger the FAT is, the slower the operating system works with the disk.

Final Word

This page tells how to format a USB or external hard drive into FAT32, which is especially helpful in formatting devices bigger than 32GB into FAT32 without data loss. If you want to convert devices into NTFS without formatting, please refer to How to Convert FAT to NTFS for help.

 
 

100% of people found this article helpful.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose EaseUS Partition Master?

"I've used Partition Master Professional many times to create, delete, format, move, rename, and resize partitions."PCWorld

"Partitioning tools have come a very long since the days of complicated command line utilities and EASEUS Partition Master is one of the most advanced programs available."TECH ADVISOR

"I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes."Lifewire

Will the "Migrate OS" feature transfer the Windows system files only or the whole C drive?

To ensure that the migrated system will boot normally, the Migrate OS feature will transfer all the files in the system and the boot partitions. Generally, the boot partition is the C drive so the transfer will include all the files in C.

Does EaseUS Partition Master license apply to multiple computers?

The license of Partition Master Professional and Server editions can be used on 1 computer only, while that for for the Technician and Unlimited editions can be used on multiple machines.

What is the difference between EaseUS Partition Master Trial version and the Free version?

Free is for home users only, with most basic functions available such as partition resize and clone. While trial can help you understand how this product works and test what a full license can do on a business or server OS machine.

Will it cause any data loss after resizing the partition in EaseUS Partition Master?

Generally, it will not cause any data loss or boot issue by resizing a partition. However, in order to protect your data, we suggest that you backup the partition before resizing, in case of any unexpected situations such as power outages, computer hardware failures, etc. You can use EaseUS Todo Backup to backup the partition and its trial version is fully functioned for 30 days.

What should I prepare before resizing the partition?

On the partition that is going to be operated, there might be some files being occupied by other programs. To ensure a successful operation, we suggest that you close all the unnecessary software before resizing that partition. Otherwise, EaseUS Partition Master will detect the partition being locked by the other software and require a reboot to resize the partition under boot mode.

About EaseUS Partition Master

All-round disk & partition management software for personal and commercial use. Let it manage your storage drive: resize, format, delete, clone, convert, etc.